Do you ever have weird connections go off in your head? I was just listening to Stan’s podcast from this week (you should really check it out) regarding passion and mission when suddenly, without warning, the movie City Slickers popped into my head.
I know, it seems like a strange connection, but bear with me here, because actually, there are four important lessons in City Slickers that confirm exactly what Stan is talking about. And none of them have to do with beef.
1. “Cherish this time in your life, kids.” A mission but no passion.
One of my favorite scenes from City Slickers has always been when Mitch (played by Billy Crystal) talks to his son’s class. He’s supposed to be talking about his job, but instead he delivers a harsh lesson on how time flies. The twenties go too fast, in your thirties, you say, “Hey, what happened to my twenties.” By the 80s, you have a nurse taking care of you who your wife can’t stand but who you call Mama.
This speech shows what can happen when you engage your life or your work with a mission but no passion. Mitch has one mission. Support his family. He’s not enjoying his work. His heart isn’t in his work. His heart isn’t in his life.
Are you carrying out a Social Media campaign or a blog editorial calendar so that you can say, “I’m carrying out a Social Media campaign?” Is your heart really in it? A mission without passion won’t get you very far.
2. You can’t go out into the Social Media wilderness and find your mission and your passion.
The movie City Slickers gets its name because Mitch, who is turning 39, goes out West with his friends for a cattle drive. Mitch finds out from Jack Palance, who plays tough cowboy Curly, that people always come out west as soon as they turn 39 or 40. They’re always looking for some great truth to save them from their metropolitan realities.
Is your blog or your Twitter account experiencing a mid-life crisis? Are you finding it difficult to pin down what you want to accomplish? The answer does not lie, ultimately, in reading other blogs, following other peoples’ Twitter accounts, or buying lots of books. That’s the city slicker way to do it.
To truly find your mission, your passion, and your smile (which is what Mitch is looking for), you need not travel further than your own brain. You can get ideas. You can get support. But that passion and mission are all about you.
3. “You’re not a cowboy. You’re a sporting goods salesman.” Passion, but no mission.
Mitch’s friend Ed, played by Bruno Kirby, runs a sporting goods store back home. His life is all about proving to himself that he is better than the treatment he received from his two-timing father. After Curly dies and the other two tour guides split (sorry for the spoiler but it’s been, like, 20 years), Ed decides that he will continue to drive the cattle to the ranch. He has no experience and doesn’t really know how to do this, but he is going to get it done.
This is an example of misplaced passion. This one is super easy to fall into in Social Media and it gets to a major point Stan makes in his podcast. You can be incredibly passionate about something, just like Ed is super passionate about driving those cattle. Did the cattle care that he wanted them to go in a certain direction? Not exactly. Was Ed naturally passionate about cattle driving, even? Probably not.
I’m not suggesting that your target audience is like a herd of cattle, but sometimes desire can get you in over your head, especially if you don’t have a solid grasp on what you are doing or how you are going to do it.
Are you truly passionate about what you are talking about? Do you know how you will carry that passion to other people so that they can use it?
4. What’s your one thing?
Perhaps the most famous line in City Slickers is when Jack Palance tells Billy Crystal that the meaning of life rests on one thing. Nothing else matters (well, that’s a bit of a paraphrase). Here’s something for you to consider. Mitch’s “one thing” was his family, which actually consisted of 3 people. Your 1 thing can actually be one over-arching thing that encapsulates other things as well.
This really gets to the core of what Stan talked about in his podcast. Your passion may be your 1 thing, but how you are going to carry out that passion is still a part of your one thing. How your passion can aid others is still a part of your one thing.
What’s your one thing? How are you engaging with that one thing? What are all of the parts of that one thing?
How are you combining your passion with a mission? Is passion intertwined with your mission statement? Does your passion have a plan to keep it under control?
Let’s talk about it!