The 3 Components of Job Satisfaction

Recently, a woman approached me after I finished a keynote presentation. In the speech, I had mentioned the importance of living with intention.

A Wooden Kitchen Match Striking on a Grey Slate Surface - Photo courtesy of ©, Image #7829867

Photo courtesy of ©

She got stuck on that thought and realized she had not been intentional, particularly as it related to her career.

As it turns out, she was a doctor with a very successful business. She was making more money than she had dreamed possible. She had a very busy practice. But she was deeply unsatisfied.

“If I’m honest, I think I became a doctor because my father was a doctor. It was expected. I didn’t think I had a choice,” she confessed.

Her eyes welled with tears.

“But I hate it,” she continued. “I only get to spend a few minutes with each patient. I feel like a factory worker on a conveyor belt. It’s all I can do to make myself go to work.”

She was good at what she did. Her practice was exploding. But she had lost her passion.

As I later reflected on her situation, I realized job satisfaction requires three components.

  1. You must be passionate. This is where it begins. What do you care about? What moves you? What problems do you want to solve or issues you want to address? If your heart is not in your work, you have a job but not a calling.
  2. You must be competent. Passion alone is not enough. You have to be good at what you do. Being good-enough will not give you the satisfaction you desire. You have to excel at your craft and be awesome. Mastery is the goal.
  3. You must create a market. To enjoy a successful career, people must be willing to pay you for what you do. You don’t have to get rich, but there must be a market for your product or service. Otherwise, your career is not sustainable.

If you have all three of these components, you experience satisfaction. Few things in life are more rewarding.

I envision it as three overlapping circles. (Jim Collins has a similar model in Good to Great as it applies to companies.) At the intersection of all three is true success.

3 Components of Job Satisfaction

Be wary of only having two:

  • If you have passion and competence without a market, you have a hobby. We all know people like this. Living in Nashville, I know musicians who love what they do, are accomplished on their chosen instrument, but can’t pay the bills.
  • If you have passion and a market without competence, you have failure. If you aren’t willing to put in the hours honing your craft, it will eventually catch up with you. You will struggle to get hired or simply be flushed in the next round of layoffs.
  • If you have competence and a market without passion, you have boredom. This was the doctor’s problem. On the surface she had it all. But in her heart, she was missing the one piece she needed to find satisfaction in her work.

You can get by for a time with only two of the three elements I have described. But if you want to succeed at the deepest level, you must incorporate all three.

Questions: Do you possess all three of these components? What is missing? What could you do to become more satisfied in your work? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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  • Craig Jarrow

    Brilliant! Love this, Michael.

    I am sure that many people can quickly locate where they fall within the three circles. 

    • TorConstantino

      Absolutely Craig, I especially like the fact that Michael included some of the negative intersections as a well – most Venn diagrams skip that part!

  • Chris Patton

    Thanks for the post, Michael.  It reminds me of a couple of the presentations at Catalyst.

    Eugene Cho talked about starting something (likely a ministry or non-profit) from scratch.  One of the main points was that when doing this, we need to become an expert in that field.  Too many people want to excel without learning the topic inside and out.

    This is what Jon Acuff touched on as well.  He described the people that want to go from beginner to master without going through the learning stage.  This learning stage requires hard work and time.  He described it this way…

    “Often it takes a long time for your dream to happen because God is allowing your talent & skill to catch up with your passion!”

    Your picture of finding the common ground among all three areas makes it clear!  Thanks for sharing!

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Chris. Those are two important insights.

    • Michele Cushatt

       Great quote, Chris. Thanks for sharing it!

    • Jim Martin

      This is a great quote, Chris.  Thanks!

    • TNeal

      Appreciate the quote, Chris. Is that from his book Quitter or something you heard Jon say?

      • Chris Patton

        Tom, Jon said this during one of his presentations at Catalyst in Atlanta a couple of weeks ago.  He really did a great job!

  • Jon Stolpe

    I definitely am at the center – career satisfaction.  I love what I get to do on a daily basis!

    • Michael Hyatt

      Good for you, Jon!

  • Tate Hoxworth

    Hi Michael, thanks for the post. Wondering your reaction to some who claim that developing your competencies will lead to passion, rather than passion leading you down a path of developing competencies in a certain area. Thanks!

    • Michael Hyatt

      I definitely think that can happen. The important thing is not how it happens but that it does happen.
      For example, speaking used to be a real chore for me. I dreaded it. But the better I got at it, the more I liked it. Now, I love it! This is the direct result of me getting better at it.

  • John Richardson

    Great visual diagram, Michael. I think there are many people that possess all three, yet their circles don’t overlap. In their diagram the circles would be further apart. In this case they would need a coach or mentor to bring the circles into congruence.  

    I know quite a few talented and passionate people who definitely have a unique niche, yet they haven’t found a way to tie it all together. That’s where blogs like this and books like Platform, can have a great influence. 

    • IncomeForMinistry

      John you discribed me. I have all three but somehow the dots are not connected. However now with this visual I can clearly see what part needs work. Which would be to better build my platform so I can get paid for what I love to do.

      • John Richardson

        I’m the same way, Dustin. I think many times it’s hard to see our own circles. That’s where a good mentor, coach, or mastermind group can help.

    • Michael Hyatt

      That is a great insight, John. I want to write a short book on this topic or maybe just a couple of talks that I record. Regardless, your insight is important. I need to include that. Thanks.

      • John Richardson

        Have you ever met someone with a “magnetic” personality that just seems to bring everything together? I think that is what is needed here. People like that are worth their weight in gold…

        • Michael Hyatt

          They are worth their weight in gold. And I’ve paid some a pretty penny to help me do just this!

    • Michele Cushatt

      Wow. Excellent insight, John. I seem to be better at helping other people do this than myself! I’ve come to believe it often requires “outside eyes,” someone with a bit of distance to see the golden thread woven through it all.

      • John Richardson

        I agree Michele, especially when it comes to leadership and making decisions. I can teach it to others but it is a whole lot harder to apply it to myself. It’s like writing first person fiction. I’m too close to the character to see the flaws.

        • Michele Cushatt

          Exactly. We never out-succeed the need for mentors.

    • Jim Martin

      As you noted, this diagram is great. Thanks for your thinking regarding this. You make a great point and I have seen a need for this at times — some help in tying this together.

  • Tracy L

    Love this post.  I am wondering what you would say to those who’ve entered a career they were passionate about but have lost their passion. 

    • Michael Hyatt

      It seems to me you only have two options: rekindle the passion or find different work. Sometimes you can make a subtle shift. For example, the doctor I mentioned got out of corporate medicine and started her own small practice where she could run things the way she wanted. It changed everything for her.

      • Tracy L

         Thanks for your response.  This makes great sense. 

  • JeremiahZeiset

    Michael, I’d love to know if you ever had been experiencing two of the three elements for a short time, and how you overcame the third element. I don’t think the answer is always switching jobs (been there, done that), but sometimes, as your friend experienced, it seems we reach a dead-end with no idea how to get out of a rut…


    Jeremiah Zeiset

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes. Really in my last job as the CEO of Thomas Nelson. I love publishing, but that job became a lot about financial management and investor relations—things that were very far from publishing. For me, the answer came in making a switch to what I do now. As you mentioned, this isn’t always the answer, but it was for me. Thanks.

  • Carrie W

    I appreciated this as well, and could relate to it.  I’ve enjoyed jobs, but my current position has been best for me. It is something I can be passionate about- as I’m passionate about our agency’s Mission, Vision and Values. It stretches me in my areas of strength as well as weakness- allowing for all around growth, but letting me feel confident in it over all.  Natural abilities in the areas my  position requires have made it a great fit. I’m never bored, I don’t feel like a failure, and I look forward to each day. Thanks for the post Michael. I’ve recommended your site to others on the senior leadership team and to those I supervise who are also leaders.

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Carrie. I appreciate you recommending my site to others.

  • Jon Matthews

    Fantastic. I see so many folks in my workplace (and me too sometimes when I am honest) who have a good jobs, but there is the lack for an overall passion/love/satisfaction for the work. I long for the days when I have a career that sparks my passion – and to Micheal’s point has a market.

    • TorConstantino

      Jon, I completely agree. Many people are stuck in a J-O-B and not a satisfying career. This simple chart nicely captures the components of a worthwhile career!

  • Thad Puckett

    There is much to ponder in this post.  

    Thanks for making me think on a Monday!

  • Kumar Gauraw

    Thank you for this incredible post, Michael. Absolutely one of the best in the recent times. Wow! Job satisfaction, whether employed or not, really depends on those three components you laid out.

    However, I think the passion is the most important aspect of all. “Competent” and “creating market” can be tactfully done. I can hire somebody to help me out if I am less skilled than my competition. Similary, I can get control on my marketing with focus. But PASSION, it has to come from within. All other components revolve around it. Don’t you agree?

    But I thoroughly  enjoyed the post and love to quote Aristotle here in closing who said, “All human actions have one or more of these seven causes: chance, nature, compulsions, habit, reason, passion, desire.

    • TorConstantino

      Great quote from Aristotle Kumar! I agree that passion is important and a degree of competency is the necessary “table stakes” to play. 

      However, I think the market component that Michael noted is a bit more important than the other two, because you can be passionate and competent – but if no one’s willing to pay you, the passion and competency on their own are unsustainable.

      • Sally Ferguson

        somehow, those bills have to get paid!

  • Charlie Lyons

    I’ve just recently (three weeks ago) resigned from my current job (staying on until the end of the year to help facilitate transition in the NPO) because I had only the Competence and Market factor… and there were other issues at play, without a doubt. I’m now looking at what careers are out there for someone with my skills and strengths that include all three of these in your Venn diagram beyond December 31st.

    Thanks again for a very timely and insightful post, Michael. Keep up the GREAT work!

    • TorConstantino

      Best of luck on your new career path Charlie – I hope you’re able to find the satisfaction you’re looking for!

      • Charlie Lyons

        Thanks, Tor. I appreciate you saying so.

  • Nathan Magnuson

    Good post Michael and good illustration too!

  • Giuseppe Pagnoni

    Michael, this is the best summary of “Career satisfaction” I’ve ever seen.

    It perfectly matches what my father used to tell me about Companies: “They have to need you alive!”.
    They are the market for our passion and competences. The perfect blend of all three makes us a deeply satisfied and better person. And all the people surrounding us will benefit about this…

    Great post and great blog.
    Thank you.


    • TorConstantino

      I agree Giuseppe – Michael has a gift for taking complex issues and distilling them down to accessible concepts.

    • Jim Martin

      Giuseppe, I like the observation you make.  Other people really do benefit from the deep satisfaction that we are experiencing (our spouses, children, and co-workers)

  • Kathy Woodliff

    I love the visual & how you refined it since the Launch conference!

    • Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Kathy. I have been thinking about it a lot. I still have some work to do, but I am getting there. Thanks.

  • Don Carmont

    Well said, Michael. These three essentials for job satisfaction define what the individual brings to their chosen field, be it a job, career or profession. As for the job itself, one of two elements must be identified for the work itself to provide a sense of satisfaction: 1. where the job requires “brainwork”, i.e., it is more than a robotic, mechanical action; OR 2. where the individual can identify the significance of the task: where it fits in the larger picture, the strategic value of their work. Don Carmont

    • Rachel Lance

      Very true, Don. We do need to intentionally identify the right job and company that aligns with our passion, competence, and market. There’s also an element of ongoing evaluation to be sure the job that fit well in one season is still the right fit in another season. Have you developed any ways to do this?

  • Don Carmont

    Well said, Michael. These three essentials for job satisfaction define what the individual brings to their chosen field, be it a job, career or profession. As for the job itself, one of two elements must be identified for the work itself to provide a sense of satisfaction: 1. where the job requires “brainwork”, i.e., it is more than a robotic, mechanical action; OR 2. where the individual can identify the significance of the task: where it fits in the larger picture, the strategic value of their work.

    • TorConstantino

      Don, excellent extension of Michael’s main points – there are indeed aspects of the job itself that must be considered beyond the individual’s passion, competency and market.

  • Debbie

    Do you have posts that talk about how to recognize your passion? Sometimes, I feel that part of me has been burried so long, I don’t know how to find it.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I don’t. But I plan to write on that in the future. Mary DeMuth wrote an excellent post on my site about this: Find Your Passion in Three Steps.

    • Hillary Dickman

      Yes! I was going to ask the same thing. I think my husband just took the most marketable route through college and now has a career he hates, but doesn’t know what else to do or how to get out. The stakes are high once you’re 13 years into your career and have a family to provide for. Plus, his company is depressingly inept which makes his job that much more frustrating. I’m going to pass along the Find Your Passion post. Thanks!

    • Barry Hill

      You are not alone here! I think many people, if we were honest, would love to learn to recognize how God has wired them to thrive!

  • Graham

    Excellent graphic. Simple. Pinnable. Memorable.

  • Dennis Ensor

    Great post Michael.  I’ve often wondered whether I should do something just because I’m good at it.  Though I had already decided that being good at something was not enough of a reason to do it, your message brought some additional clarity of thought and will impact my decision making process going forth.  Thanks, Dennis Ensor  

    • Michele Cushatt

      Just because I can, doesn’t mean I should. I have to remind myself of this all the time!

      • Jim Martin

        I have to remind myself the same, Michele.  Far too often, I have said “yes” only to realize later that just because I could, I was not obligated to say “yes.”

      • Barry Hill

        True that! Not all good ideas are God ideas?

  • Dean Kurtz

    Mid-fifties with raging boredom, listlessly busy out of my mind, the ministry equivalent of the walking dead. That was me. Competent? mostly everyone agreed I was. Market? there didn’t seem to be enough of me. Passion? well…what I needed was letting God show me how my passion needed the continual refocus of a life that He intended to continually morph. Worship and music, that is my passion but I needed to let God set fire to my dormant passion and see the new thing He was doing. For me it means doing less leading and more coaching. Thanks for this post.

    • Rachel Lance

      Thanks for sharing your journey, Dean. You have a wonderful way with words.

  • Ricardo Diaz

    Before I am became a freelance web designer I worked in manufacturing. I just hated working there. I kept getting laid off and you reach a point where you need to decide if your going to keep working there or move on.

    I finally decided to pursue my dreams and become a web designer. Years later some of my work has been posted up in designer blogs and organizations. I’ve created websites for churches, nonprofits, and small businesses. My greatest day had to be one day when a Pastor told me that thanks to my website 2 families found his church and one of them is going to become a member. For me thats two families that found a new home in the body. 

    I will never know how many families will be affected by the websites I create till I die but theses types of stories fuels my passion. 

    • TorConstantino

      Ricardo, that’s a great example of using your passion and competency within a market that’s making a difference!

    • Barry Hill

      Very cool!

  • TorConstantino

    This is awesome Michael! The Venn diagram is unique in that you provide some of the negative consequences (boredom, failure, hobby)  as well as the positive intersections. Very useful, thanks for this! I’ve printed it out and displayed on my office peg board!

  • JM

    My heart goes out to that doctor!!  I feel like I heard her heart when she said “I only get a few minutes with each patient.”  Her profession is in desperate need of revolution and she needs to do what’s in her heart!  Innovate!  Have a personal revival and change the way things are done!  Maybe the whole world won’t follow suit, but at least you’ll be doing what you’re passionate about, and what’s right!

  • Jim Ryan


    Once again I totally connected to your post.  You have a real gift to know what people need.

    I love reading something that I kinda already knew instinctively, but when you see it on down on paper its so validating. I’m in a career change and I have to say the one area that brings out a lot of anxiety is building the “market”.

    • Michele Cushatt

       I think he should turn it into a worksheet or e-book similar to the Life Plan. Something we can print out and work through … It’s excellent.

      • Michael Hyatt

        Thanks, Michele. I will add it to the list. (Joy will be thrilled to have yet another project on the list!)

        • Michele Cushatt

          … if Joy asks, it was Brian’s idea. ;)

  • J L

    I think your diagram is a nice visual, but I’m afraid there might be people that will look at the chart and give up something. When all they probably needed was more time to get competent or more time to find a market for their hobby or more time to find a passionate aspect of their work. Things don’t come to us quickly, things take time. Its a process, not an all or nothing.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I couldn’t agree more. I probably didn’t say it clearly enough. All I hoped to do was provide a framework for thinking about your work, so that you could move toward satisfaction. Thanks.

    • Barry Hill


      I agree it’s a process. It’s actually a process in both directions! I have seen the process move people out of a passion that they used to have and now feel differently as the journey moves forward. Life is always a process!

  • Marc Johnson

    My word for the year has been PASSION. I’ve been in the mortgage business for over 30 years and had lost my passion. I guess because I lost my market. I heard you at Todd Duncan’s Sales Mastery event, and although I thought I had passion. It was half hearted. With passion, I believe you can make the impossible possible. You can create markets that were lost or create new markets. Passion creates talent and competence.

    So in the end, your right! You need all three!

  • Dalene Aylward

    I love this description & diagram. I have realized that at first, & for a number of years, I had true career satisfaction; however, over time, as God is slowly revealing to me a change in calling that will take quite a huge leap of faith, I have been moving closer toward boredom.  While I still very much like my work & find it rewarding, I know that the *something else* He is calling me to would be more rewarding for both myself (intrinsically) & for others. I just wonder when I will get to the breaking point in which I will finally become both brave enough to make the jump & prepared enough to do it right?
    Thank you!

  • Ed

    A great illustation! I have a small one-man side business that I hope to grow into something that will carry me through my retirement years. As I read this, I was able to recognize my biggest struggle: I do not understand “creating” a market. I had hoped my passion and competence would be enough to bring a market to me. Maybe for some it does, but not here for me. If I don’t work on that, all I will ever have is a nice hobby and diversion, and I will quickly leak out both passion and competence.

    • Jeremy Statton

      Michael’s book “Platform” is a great resource for this concept.

      • TorConstantino

        Agreed – great point Jeremy!

  • Cynthia Herron

    As a writer, I’m passionate about my craft and I pray I never become bored. I believe your keynote at ACFW energized all who attended. Thank you for addressing the hard topics and for being an encourager.

    • TorConstantino

      Cynthia – I completely agree that Michael is not only an encourager but he’s also extremely generous sharing his insight and perspective. 

  • Leah Adams

    This certainly resonates with me. I trained as a pharmacist, but I despise the work. I won’t go into all the reasons I hate it so badly and fortunately I only do it a couple of days each week. The real issue is that it is not my passion. At this point, my passion doesn’t pay the bills, but I keep hoping and praying one day it will and I will walk out the pharmacy door one final time.

    • Michele Cushatt

      You make a great point, Leah. Sometimes we have to keep our “day jobs” while we work our passion in the evenings and weekends. As long as we know it will eventually change, we can keep the passion alive and keep going.

      • Michael Hyatt

        Jon Acuff’s book, Quitter, is a great resource for people in this situation. Thanks.

        • Barry Hill

          I really loved Quitter!

  • Bud Brown

    That diagram is phenomenal.

    Where does “calling” figure in? Is that whence passion derives?

    • Jeremy Statton

      In my opinion calling can be a different way to describe what you are passionate about. To some degree, though, it can describe what you are competent at too. Perhaps a strong sense of “calling” means you already have 2 of the 3.

      • Ed

        Are you defining “calling” in a strictly “worldly” sense?  Or are you also referring to a Godly calling?  Not trying to take this on a tangent, but you do have a mix of readers here.  I understand the calling in the sense of finding something that resonates with the depths of your soul, motivates you to push other things so you can attain and possess what you need, usually to help or inspire others.  Then again, I read in the Bible where God called people who felt no passion, zero competence, and had no market.  ut that was indees His path for them, and as they walked by faith everything began to fall into place.

    • Michael Hyatt

      I think it can be layered on top of True Success. It is where all three come together.

  • Diane Yuhas

    Oh Michael, you have articulated this so clearly. I have failed, been bored, or played with hobbies all my life. Right now I care full-time for my mom who has Alzheimer’s, but I worry about what I’ll do after she passes away. I don’t want to return to nursing (bored), but that’s all I’ve ever done and I’m not passionate for the long term about anything other than Jesus.

    • Diane Yuhas

      That sounded so negative. I have the unique opportunity right now to work on becoming what I want to be. I’m passionate about serving Christ and love to write and teach and travel, but lack vision.

      • Michele Cushatt

         I didn’t think you sounded negative, just honest about a tough current situation. I’m wondering if your lack of passion/vision is simply a result of exhaustion. Even when it’s done out of love, being a caregiver is taxing. My guess is your passion will revive with clearer vision once you have time and energy to give to it. In the meantime, write as much as you can. There’s something extraordinary happening right in this place!

        • Diane Yuhas

          Thank you, Michele. I do believe you’re right. I am exhausted pretty much all the time. There is, however, the joy of getting better at writing.

      • Barry Hill

        I am with Michelle, I didn’t think that sounded negative- just introspective given a difficult place in the journey. I will pray that as you get this last season with your mom that God will bless that and give you continued direction and hope for the future!

  • Justin

    Very neat and trite, the problem is how do the majority of people find this neat little overlap of passion, market and competence?

    • Michelle

      I appreciate your comment because  of the reality of the struggle.  Personally, I have two equally strong responses to the diagram.

      1. I love this diagram because  it gives structure  to thinking about how and why  I have felt BORED  in a job and how I might speak to a passionate employee who just isn’t good at her job (FAILURE).  That covers two of the not-quite-sweet-spot intersections, and in those circumstances, the diagram is a terrific tool.

      2. It makes me want to cry  in pain for my adult child who has passion and is good at many things, none of which are economically viable.  This child is a hard worker, but the fruits of her labor have no market = HOBBY.  I struggle with how to help her find a way to make a living and make a life;  in this circumstance, while the diagram speaks truth, it offers no practical help…that I see yet :-)

      • Michael Hyatt

        Thanks, Michele. You make a good point about the practical help. Hopefully, I can offer that in a future post. My main objective here was just to offer a model and to begin a conversation. Thanks.

    • Ed

      Things like this often sound “neat and trite” when those of us who struggle look at the speaker as a “superman” who has no problems.  When you consider that Michael was not handed everything on a silver platter, but was once at the edges of one of those circles desperately trying to make sense of it all, then you can see that this in not “trite” at all – it’s the distilled wisdom of someone who has personally fought the battles and lived to tell about it.

      Michael did not suddenly walk into all of this in full blossom – he was part of the “majority” that you identify with.  As a matter of fact, he *still is* part of that majority – because you will _never_ “arrive” at the place where you no longer have to work at keeping all of this in balance.  Granted, when you find the right elements and gain a bit more skill, the balancing act becomes much easier.  But it never stops.

      Where do the “majority” of us “find” this “neat little overlap”?  Some of it is within you, some of it is in the people we meet and make connections with, and some of it you have to dig out and create for yourself.  And even when you do find your “neat little overlap”, you find that times change, society changes, you change, and so on – and staying in that “neat little place” becomes a lot like standing on top of a basketball!

      Do not despise those who have acheived some success and then speak out of it.  You’re reading Michael’s blog for a reason.  He doesn’t dispense “trite” little statements.  If it doesn’t resonate with you, ask questions from “I don;t get it” instead of “he isn’t making sense.”

  • Heather C Button

    For me, I have “Boredom” but I think its because I haven’t found my niche in my particular field. I sometimes love what I do, but it can very client-based. I think I need to be more established in my fairly young career before I will get to pick those clients to work with…

    • Jeremy Statton

      You bring up an interesting point, Heather. Can we expect all 3 right away, or does it take time to develop these three aspects?

      • Heather C Button

         Perhaps, we use our skills to work toward our passion, when we haven’t quite gotten there yet?

  • Lisa Fielding

    Love this post Michael!  I am happy to report I have all three components!  And it is right on target.  Now, duly tweeted but wanted to share on Linked In….no button or is it hiding??

    • Michael Hyatt

      Yes, check the very top and bottom of the post—on the sharebar.

  • Lisa Fielding

    Love it! Happy to report I have all three components.   Duly tweeted.  How about a Linked In button??

    • Michael Hyatt

      You’ll find a LinkedIn share button at both the top and bottom of the post. Thanks.

  • Kathryn

    Wonderful post, Michael. I found the diagram to be very expressive and relevant. As a former homeschool mom, now an empty–nester, my passion and competancy have no market! So, I need to reconsider all three componants to see where I am going.

  • A. D. Smith

    My Passion – 46 Chromosomes
    My Competence – Thousands of Hours
    My Market – Thousands of Dollars
    Knowing what I was put on this earth for…

  • Bruce R. Cross

    Thanks to you and several other defacto mentors, I am pursuing the answers to this question currently and am very clear with the scenarios you present. 

  • mattheinricy

    So good and so true!  Many of us today want/desire a sense of calling about what we do.  The challenging thing is to to know when and where to pursue certain passions as a career.  This is where good friends can help!

    Thanks for another great contribution to our journey, Michael!

  • Margaret

    the drawing puts it perfect perspective–thanks!

    • Barry Hill

      The drawing really helped- I agree!

  • Santanivy

    Being in health care I don’t think her problem is boredom but living in a regulated industry where the rules change daily and it is very difficult to have happy customers. I would imagine she is in her 50’s and trying to juggle all of the health care regulations coming down the pipe line. She wants to help people live a healthy life but must do it in 15 minutes or less. Stress is a passion killed and threats of law suits and satisfaction surveys will raise the stress through the roof.

  • TNeal

    As Ellen and I discuss some significant life changes, I see your article helping to guide our conversations.

    As for me, all three components could use some tweaking.

  • kimanzi constable

    I was stuck at this kind of a situation even thought I owned the business. I got fed up and got on the path to something more that includes all of these three. It hasn’t always been easy but it’s worth it now :)

  • Misti

    Story of my life right now. I have no passion for what I do…it is a struggle every day. I am stymied by how to break free.

  • NicoleMillerbooks

    I love this post — but what if you’re in a good position in your day job but things are tense in the work environment?

  • Peter DeHaan

    I’m a visual thinker and love diagrams; yours is brilliant.  Well done!

  • Cheryl

    This post hits home on so many levels. Everything you said about that dr is true for me. I got competence and market but no passion. Success doesn’t always mean fulfillment. I know this too well.

  • Sally Ferguson

    I am still working on the third component of my niche.  All it takes is one breakthrough…

  • Dwayne Morris

    I’ve heard John Maxwell say, “Find something you love so much that you would gladly do it for free, then work to get good enough that others will gladly pay you for it.”

    That’s simple enough…right?

    • Michael Hyatt

      I love that quote from Maxwell.

  • Susan Scott

    Your illustration is a great way to make the point. I especially like that you put boredom in the outer circle between competence and market. So many folks get into a career or business that they are good at and there is a market for, assuming that will satisfy them for the long term. It doesn’t, not without passion to fuel them. However, I must add there is a missing component: taking  personality into account. Someone may have all three circles coming together in their career or business, but they have to learn to express it in a way that is congruent with their personality – outgoing vs introspective, task focused vs people orientated, etc.  The doctor you mentioned might actually find satisfaction, not in a new career, but in moving laterally to a job where she can attend to the medical  needs of people in a more personal way. For example she might thrive as a health care advocate for the poor or elderly. In that way her competence, and passion for caring for others, as well as the need in the market, combined with her desire to get more personally involved in the lives of her patients, would make a perfect fit. It just doesn’t fit in quite as neat a diagram!

  • Lon Hetrick

    I appreciate this and thought the graphic was helpful for illustrating your point. I’d like to suggest though, that I’m pretty tired of the word “passion.” It’s an over-rated buzz word imo. What you may mean by it is “Do we like/enjoy x?” But it comes across as “You must eat/drink/breathe x.” I suspect that’s unrealistic for many personalities, and many job descriptions. Worse, I think it’s misguided because, frankly, we should be passionate about bigger things than our jobs. I think it’s enough to “enjoy” what you do for a living. But I think we should save our passion (if one’s personality can get there) for stuff that is bigger than our source of income. Lot’s of potential objects for passion come to mind.

  • Dan Erickson

    Good post, Michael.  I’ve suffered off an on with job dissatisfaction.  I’m a college instructor and sometimes it feels like I’m just spinning my wheels.  I do love my discipline of speech and communication.  I do love to share knowledge and discover new ways of teaching.  But I love writing, songwriting, and playing music more.  I can incorporate those passions into my teaching to an extent, but at a different level.  So my goal is to continue teaching while I become a better writer and financially successful, at which point I’ll probably still teach, but only part time. Your points are right on in today’s post.

    • Jim Martin

      Dan, as I read your comment, I thought about numerous conversations I’ve had with people who are trying to do something similar.  Like you, they enjoy their jobs but have other interests which they are even more passionate about.  So often the challenge seems to be how to somehow incorporate these passions into the “day job” or living out these other passions at another time.  A challenge. 

      • Dan Erickson

        Yes, Jim.  I agree.  And I do bring my passion into the classroom, especially when I teach feature writing and mass communication as I can talk about writing and promotions in those classes.  I’ve had fun with the political debates in my speech classes this quarter.  And now I’m helping to edit and write a mass communication text.  Although I prefer fiction and poetry, I’m challenged by helping the lead author change his academic writing style into a more non-fiction style for more student-friendly reading.  So incorporating the stronger passion into the workplace is a challenge, but also rewarding.

    • Ricardo Diaz

      Hi Dan,

      Have you thought about doing some freelance work like a content writer. Maybe even creating yourself a blog and getting your name out there? If you popular enough you can add some advertisement to the blog and make some income that way. All of this takes time though and there is no quick way of making it happen but its possible.

      • Dan Erickson

        Ricardo, I do have a blog that supports my first book “A Train Called Forgiveness.”  I post posts about writing and poetry there.  It’s at  I spent a lot of time last summer trying to build an audience.  I haven’t gained a large following yet and haven’t tried advertising.  I’m mixed about how heavy I want to push the blog.  I’m a single dad and only have so much time, too.  For now, I continue to write posts three or four times per week.  

  • Ephillips413

    I’ve lived in the state of Boredom for a long time. I am competent and have a market, but no passion. This has followed me through my last few jobs. Being burnt a couple times early in my career has caused me to cling to security. Unfortunately, this has led to a very successful, unfulfilling career. Any suggestions?

    • Ed

      Are you expecting to much from your daily work? Sometimes it’s not the actual work that is fulfilling – it’s what we’re accomplishing through it.  Is your success allowing you to provide for someone else that otherwise would be struggling?  Are you able to touch lives and change them, perhaps with a timely word or intervention? I think of a worker who runs a machine making the Epi-Pens: probably a boring monotonous job, but each and every one of those pens that rolls out of the machine has the potential to save a life.

      You mentioned “being burnt a couple times” and “my last few jobs”.  Can you forgive?  Nothing will put out the fires of passion like a big cold block of hurt and pain carried for a long time.

      • Eric

        Ed, thanks for your reply. My last couple of jobs have been with larger Fortune 100/500 companies. I moved towards larger companies looking for stability due to instability and lack of opportunities that I experienced as a contractor and with smaller employers. I’ve found success and some stability, but I’ve lost passion along the way.

        I don’t think I’m holding ill-will towards any of my past employers. But, I am pretty hard on myself about decisions along the way.

  • Tony Chung

    I am fortunate to have the passion, competence, and market for the things I am doing for paid and volunteer work. I’ve been inspired to create more music and I’d love to network with others who share the same direction.

    Shameless self promotion here:

    • Jim Martin

      Good for you, Tony!  How fortunate.

  • Paul Jolicoeur

    Getting paid for what you love to do is possible and should be take more seriously by students as the graduate from High School and head out into college or university. I have seen many people choose an education with the only thing on their mind is their income.

  • Christopher Nitkin

    What a great article, thank you! As a physician in training, my market comes to me and while interviewing for neonatology fellowship, I really came to discover what drives me and what I’m interested in… but building competence will mean life-long learning and it’s really the centerpiece of where I am right now – would it be under-achieving to say I don’t want failure? ;-)

  • Yosra85

    it`s a greet post, really you have a good analyze. Thanks you.

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  • Dr. Jason Cabler

    I’m fortunate that I get to do two things that I love: Being a dentist, and being a personal finance author, blogger, and speaker.  Although the dentistry is my career, I hope to take the other from a hobby stage to the level of a career as well.  

    I’ll continue to build my following just like I’ve built my practice and eventually all the circles will meet in the middle!

  • Lisa Colón DeLay

    These 3 components make a lot of sense….

    It seems like the doctor could still use her competence and market components, but work in a manner that would give her passion in the joy of helping others.What happened to her? Did she quit/change careers?

    • Michael Hyatt

      No, she started her own family practice where she could take as long as she wanted with each patient. She didn’t have the corporate pressure to see more and more patients. She is now very happy.

  • Fernando Almeida

    Thank you for the insightful article. I find the three circles particularly helpful and practical also from a teaching perspective.

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  • Ciaccioj

    There is a fourth. I had all three but still felt empty and changed jobs (not careers). My company was willing to pay, but didn’t value the service from a long term perspective. I left to an employer who values the service provided and am much happier.

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  • Trevauhn Grant

    What is a good way to find out where you fit into the current market? It feels as though I have to sorta throw a bait out and see who bites. Then depending on the kinda fish you come across, then you can focus in. Is this a viable frame of thought.

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  • corydoiron

    Thanks for another great post! 

  • Buster Coster

    I have a lot of one, some of the other and lacking in a third.

    Better get my skates on.

  • John Gallagher

    Great stuff.  Love the visual.  All three components are critical. 

  • Adam Robinson, MBA

    Excellent post Michael. We are in the process of hiring a new salesperson and we have passed over a couple who weren’t passionate about helping others succeed. I want people with passion on our team, particularly those who are passionate about helping small businesses succeed through great marketing. Keep up the great work.

  • Conor

    Simple Venn diagram, but powerful insight.

  • Moyo Mamora

    This has helped answer some of my questions. Thanks! I’ll make sure passion, competence and market ring in my head in all I do.

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    As always, a brilliant and informative post. The passion circle is full and as a new author the other two are growing. I would struggle to work on anything that I’m not passionate about. Thanks.

  • Joe Wickman

    Thanks for making apparent the focus of my next area of focus for development!

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  • Tom Tonkin

    Mr Hyatt, I agree with your assessment and far be it from to me doubt your views, however (I guess that is a clue that I have a little issue), the great Jon Wooden on leadership shares this aspect of passion – “I never yelled at my players much. That would have been artificial stimulation, which doesn’t last very long. I think it’s like love and passion. Passion won’t last as long as love. When you are dependent on passion, you need more and more of it to make it work. It’s the same with yelling. I am suggesting that I see passion as one of those emotions that requires stimulation all the time and at the same time suing the word ‘love’ (the English language does a poor job with ‘love’) is also not the right term, but it does conjure up stability and depth. At any given time, I may not feel like going to work, however, I love what I do. I trust this may spark some discussion. Thank you for all you do. Blessing, Tom