August 10, 2015

Finding the Three Ps: Place, Person, and Passion

My company has an amazing executive coaching center of excellence. Over the last two years, I’ve been fortunate enough to not only get to work with some of the great coaches they’ve hired, but also to become friends with one of the coaches who’s based in our Denver office. Last week, we were catching up at an office happy hour, and she told me about a neat concept that a mentor had taught her:

Everyone goes through life seeking “the three Ps”: place, person, and passion. It’s up to each of us to find the place, person, and passion where we are at our happiest and most productive. From my own experience, I can say that finding even one P makes me feel incredibly happy and like I’m living my best life. So finding two or (OMG) three of the Ps? That is huge.

I think in Colorado I have 100% definitely found my place, and in Adam, I’ve found my person. But it’s frustrating to me that those two things are in conflict with each other, since long distance is really difficult. I want to spend as much time in Colorado as I possibly can, but I also want to spend as much time with Adam as I possibly can, and those two just don’t compute. Fortunately, I had a great time with Adam in Phoenix this weekend, and getting to visit not just one but two awesome pools showed me that perhaps Arizona isn’t all that bad 🙂

Seriously, how crazy is this pool?! The play structure is basically what we had as the hot new attraction (Paul Bunyan’s Bucket Brigade!) at the expensive Six Flags near me when I was a kid… but now neighborhood pools have that for free?? Good thing Adam and I had no shame about heading to the waterslides ourselves after finishing our lap workout. WHEE!!!!

But even beyond my weekend travel to see Adam, I’m already facing seeing my Place a little bit less than I do now. As I wrap up a big local project I’ve been working on in Denver for the last few months, it’s time for me to start looking for other projects to fill my time. That may mean I go back to traveling several days each week – destination unknown. On the one hand, it’s exciting; on the other, I get incredibly anxious when it’s time to switch projects. Consultants call the time in between projects being “on the beach”, but it’s not nearly as much fun as that term sounds.

Where will I be going, and how will that commute and city affect my quality of life? If I end up on the East coast, I’ll be leaving the house at 4am every Monday morning (which kills my Sunday night), and not returning until midnight each Thursday night (which then kills my Thursday night). The days in between don’t matter as much, because whether I’m home or on the road I’m typically working into the evening, but it’s tough to try to pack all my chores/errands/seeing friends into 48 hours a week.

Perhaps more importantly: who will I be working with, and what will I be working on? Consulting offers a lot of variety, but that also comes with a stability tradeoff – so every time you switch projects, it’s basically the equivalent of starting a new job and building your working relationships all over again. I love getting to meet new people and be challenged by new work, but sometimes it’s nice to work with people you know rather than building a new team from scratch every time. I really like the people I’ve been working with lately, and hope that I’ll get a similarly great team for my next project.

Overall, my next project may mean getting away from my Place a little bit more – but hopefully it will keep me close to my Passion in the form of meaningful work that I enjoy doing. Lately I’ve been getting to do a lot of really cool work that I love researching (even if it takes me into the wee hours) – and I’m hoping that trend can continue.


5 thoughts on “Finding the Three Ps: Place, Person, and Passion”

  1. That pool looks amazing! I miiiiight be able to handle Arizona if I was in that pool. Also, here is a fun fact about community pools with water slides. My mom (who works at an architecture company that designs lots of community rec centers) told me that community pools that are just regular pools with lap swimming, swim area for kids, classes, etc., tend to lose money, but community pools that have a water slide tend to make money. Totally off topic pool fact that I find really interesting!

  2. We all live with change…I’ve known you to handle it better than most. I think of you when I read this poem….knowing you’ll land upright for sure.

    Life Doesn’t Frighten Me – Poem by Maya Angelou
    Shadows on the wall
    Noises down the hall
    Life doesn’t frighten me at all

    Bad dogs barking loud
    Big ghosts in a cloud
    Life doesn’t frighten me at all

    Mean old Mother Goose
    Lions on the loose
    They don’t frighten me at all

    Dragons breathing flame
    On my counterpane
    That doesn’t frighten me at all.

    I go boo
    Make them shoo
    I make fun
    Way they run
    I won’t cry
    So they fly
    I just smile
    They go wild

    Life doesn’t frighten me at all.

    Tough guys fight
    All alone at night
    Life doesn’t frighten me at all.

    Panthers in the park
    Strangers in the dark
    No, they don’t frighten me at all.

    That new classroom where
    Boys all pull my hair
    (Kissy little girls
    With their hair in curls)
    They don’t frighten me at all.

    Don’t show me frogs and snakes
    And listen for my scream,
    If I’m afraid at all
    It’s only in my dreams.

    I’ve got a magic charm
    That I keep up my sleeve
    I can walk the ocean floor
    And never have to breathe.

    Life doesn’t frighten me at all
    Not at all
    Not at all.

    Life doesn’t frighten me at all.
    Maya Angelou

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