Passion, Skill, and Service

December 20, 2012 by John Andrew Williams

A few months ago I was working with Michael, who was a junior, and thinking about what to do with his summer.

Life Coaching for teens is a fantastic tool to help young people discover their strengths and realize how they really want to spend their time. Here’s a quick formula that I recommend. I drew a little chart to illustrate the point.

The three ingredients:

  1. Passion – what you like to do and what brings you personally fulfillment.
  2. Skill – what you’re good at, or reasonably good at with a little practice.
  3. Service – what value you bring to others.

As I get further along in my business of Life Coaching, working with teens and delivering coaching training, I realize that success takes an element of all three. Of the three, the one that most often gets ignored is service.

With high school students it’s easy to talk about their passions. If they are self-aware and attend a high school college night, someone invariably will extoll the value of passion. Let’s say that high school students understand their passions.

Let’s also say that high school students understand what they are good at and have a reasonable level of skill. Certainly not a given, but not impossible to also help them manage.

The last piece of the puzzle, service, is one that does gain some press. Students often go out and volunteer for soup kitchens, their local church, or other organization.

Rarely do students look to do all three – passion, skill, and service – at the same time.

Fortunately for Michael, he knew this and designed his summer around it. The result: he started a photo booth business and offered his service to weddings and events.

He learned a lot. He got to practice business, which was a passion. He honed some computer coding skills (the photo booth automatically sent pictures to social networks). And he provided a service to others.

Students who find and act on all three ingredients thrive and develop skills and gain knowledge that’s priceless.

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