Are You Passionate?


Recently during MBA coaching sessions at a business school a number of us, who are experienced coaches, got into a discussion about the use of the word passionate on CV’s and LinkedIn profiles. Has it become one of those over used words, which come to mean nothing?

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The Merriam Webster Dictionary defines “passionate” as an adjective meaning “having, showing, or expressing strong emotions or beliefs.”[/message] [su_spacer]

It seems to me that it’s hard to use passionate on a CV unless you are applying for a role as an advocate for a cause. Can you be passionate about finance or consulting? I would say that you can be interested, committed to doing the best job possible, but, not passionate.

I say we reserve passionate for things, which you feel in your gut, which upset you when you see them in the media, which you want to change.

So after those discussions I sat down to write my own “passionate about list.”

I am passionate about:

Literacy: all people have the right to be able to read and write which in turn opens the door to knowledge and then to real self-sufficiency. This benefits everyone.

Empowerment of girls and women in the world: every girl has the right to an education and the right to live the best life possible. No tyrant, dictator, abuser has the right to block this. To quote Hilary Clinton “Women’s rights are Human rights”.

Continuous Learning: we can never stop learning and growing or we stagnate. Everyone should have this opportunity through family, schools, libraries, mentors, coaches and the Internet. I believe we should be the best we can be.

Animal Rights: protection and caring for animals is our duty …there is never an excuse for cruelty, neglect, or profit through poaching. Much can be said about a society from the way it treats animals.

Doing the Right Thing: our values and integrity are part of our humanity.

Freedom of Speech: People have a right to express their opinion (in a non inflammatory manner) and to gather peacefully to create positive change.

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Alanea Kowalski
Alanea Kowalskihttp://alaneakowalski.com/
ALANEA Kowalski is an executive coach with over 25 years of international business experience who focuses on startup or high-change environments particularly with expatriates, women leaders and executives working toward developing global understanding and presence. Her areas of expertise include Financial Services, Pharma and High Tech. She coaches numerous C-suite clients and executives managing cross-cultural teams and working in multinational companies. Alanea has worked for Citibank, and as a consultant in Executive Search, Talent Management and Career Transition. She has worked with clients throughout North America, China, Hong Kong, Russia, the U.K and Europe. Alanea has lived in the UK, Canada and currently she resides in France. She holds multiple coaching certifications: The Coaches Training Institute, Lore International, The First 90 Days (Michael Watkins), The Team Intensive and Coaching Ourselves (Henry Mintzberg). Alanea is on the Advisory Board for ACEC, Association of Corporate and Executive Coaches. She is described by her clients as having the ability to interlace the strategic and creative with the practical. She pushes and challenges her clients to reach the next level using humour as well as her deep understanding of people and business. She takes her work seriously but, not herself. Often Alanea is described as a hybrid Coach and Consultant. One of her favourite phrases is “what if”.


  1. Alanea – I would disagree with

    Can you be passionate about finance or consulting? I would say that you can be interested, committed to doing the best job possible, but, not passionate.

    .. well – not quite – it is the mixing of ‘what’ with ‘how’ … surely ‘passion’ is about the outcome – while it is hard to be passionate about finance – it is not hard to be a financier focussed on corruption, or tax reform, or …

    To me – passion is about the outcome of what you are doing – so taking just one of your passions ….

    Empowerment of girls and women in the world

    you could absolutely work in finance and ensure that your work contributes to that outcome.