Aké Satia is the Chief Vision Officer at Aké Satia, a Human Capital firm in the DC area focused on strengthening organizations by bolstering the intersection of people strategy and business strategy.



206 919 6440


Know your Passion. Live your Purpose.

Happy 2nd week of 2023!

I hope you feel energized and optimistic about the road ahead! I also hope you are making traction on any goals you set. While the beginning of the year is when many of us set goals, it is also an opportune time to explore two concepts that affect our life choices, personally and professionally! – And the concepts are Passion and Purpose!

Famous words… Follow your passion!

I have a hunch most of us have heard or read these words: Follow your passion!
And when you read these words, your first thought might have been: I know my passion, and I am actively pursuing it!
Or perhaps you thought: I’m not sure I know what my passion is. I know what I like, though. Is it the same thing??

Ironically, follow your passion is often the default counsel given to individuals seeking satisfaction, joy, and meaning. – Perhaps you recall hearing this guidance handed down to graduates as they flipped their tassels on graduation podiums and strolled off the stage in jubilation.
Unsurprisingly, many of them intend to follow that advice. – 90% of students surveyed at a Columbia Business School listed pursuing their passion as an important goal for their future jobs. 3 Reasons It’s So Hard to “Follow Your Passion” (hbr.org)

Also, you might hear this message delivered to new hires as they strut into freshly vacuumed offices on their first day of work, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. And this would lead one to wonder: Why is it important to be passionate about your work?

Why are we told to “Follow our Passion?

Here is a good reason!
A Deloitte study found that: 87.7 percent of America’s workforce is unable to contribute to their full potential because they don’t have passion for their work. Passion at work: Cultivating worker passion as a cornerstone of talent development | Deloitte Insights

Indeed, passion affects productivity. Therefore, it affects the organization’s bottom line and workers’ well-being. And many urge others to follow their passion because they believe following your passion makes you more resilient when you encounter obstacles and leads to success. Follow Your Passion, and Success Will Follow (investopedia.com) 

Also, online and in print are many articles detailing the immense wealth and success of entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. – Their names are now synonymous with unconventionally attaining wealth and success because Gates and Zuckerberg founded leading tech companies, Microsoft, and Facebook, respectively, after dropping out of Harvard University and following their passions. And their stories have inspired some to pursue a treasure trove, drop out of college and start their own companies.
or others, hearing the success stories of Gates and Zuckerberg awakens soul-searching questions such as: A high net worth may lead to happy moments and suggest one is successful but does it result in joy and fulfillment?
Admittedly, this is an intriguing path to explore, but I will heed my inner voice urging me to exercise discipline and resist going down this philosophical terrain. 😉

Indeed, while the phrase: follow your passion, has a nice ring to it, it can be a source of frustration to some. Yet, for others, it is the best coinage since sliced bread!
Given the vast array of sentiments around this message, it is worth assessing its validity.

Passion and Purpose – What are they?

As a start, let us confer with Merriam on the definitions of passion and purpose!
Passion is an ardent devotion, intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction. Passion Definition & Meaning – Merriam-Webster
Purpose is an object or end to be attained.Purpose Definition & Meaning – Merriam-Webster
Essentially, passion is an emotion. And your purpose is a representation of who you are. – It seems the former could ebb and flow, and the latter appears resolute. But most of us have likely heard the phrase: follow your passion more than follow your purpose. Why? 

Two sides of a coin

There is a natural reason why we may be inclined to pursue our passion over our purpose: Knowing your purpose takes work. – It is hard work and heart work and requires you to know who you are.
Also, living your purpose is a selfless pursuit. And you probably will not see the final results of your toil in your lifetime. 

On the other hand, pursuing your passion seems easier to grasp, and it conjures images of excitement!
For example, one might say: I like exploring new places, I commit to going overseas three times a year on vacation, and I will run an Airbnb in Majorca, Spain. While, another might say: I like cooking, and I will learn to cook a new meal once a month, entertain friends, and open a restaurant.
Ironically, herein lies the value of knowing your passion: Knowing what you are passionate about helps you answer the questions: What energizes me and what do I like to do?

A road less traveled

And what is the value of living your purpose?
The pursuit of purpose is challenging. However, some might describe it as the ultimate pursuit. I certainly do! Because, living your purpose allows you to live with resolve and intentionality, not merely exist.

History holds remarkable stories of people who lived their purpose and changed not only their lives but the lives of those around them and future generations.
When I consider the value of living your purpose, I think of people like British advocate: Robin Cavendish, who was plagued with the debilitating illness of polio and became paralyzed when he was 28 years old. Yet lived until age 64. During his life, he made a significant impact as an advocate for the disabled and a developer of medical aids for paralyzed people.  Robin Cavendish – Wikipedia

I also think of my dad, who lost his father at a young age. My dad drew inspiration from the challenge to live his purpose, learn fervently and strengthen communities by leading and advancing fisheries and agricultural practices around the world.
Over the years, what struck me most about Cavendish and my dad’s stories is they found and lived their purpose through immense struggle. Indeed, you can discover your purpose as you trudge up the hills of adversity. 

Ultimately, passion and purpose are two sides of a coin. – Our passion is what energizes us. Our purpose is why we are here – on earth. And they are both critical for thriving.


We all need help and support in our life journey, and to further your exploration, I would like to share a resource! A few days ago, I took a thought-provoking course offered by The Optimism Company from Simon Sinek called Live Your WHY. – It provided resources and insights on what is required to live your purpose – your WHY.
To learn more, you may check out www.simonsinek.com

May we all lead passionate and purposeful lives!

For you and to you,



Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *