“Without passion man is a mere latent force and possibility, like the flint which awaits the shock of the iron before it can give forth its spark.” — Henri Frederic Amiel
Have you ever heard yourself saying ‘I would follow my passion, if only I knew what it was?’ Therefore implying that you can only have one passion. When I was growing up I would go outside and play by myself for hours. I am certain I looked a bit odd, dancing around and talking to thin air, but you see I was making up stories. In case you don’t know, one of my passions is writing. I adore stories, yours, mine, everyone’s. Stories are what connect us, they are how we make meaning.
For years I didn’t follow my heart, I followed the pack, the well meaning advice from others. They would say, “oh you are good at xyz, that’s what you ‘should’ do.”
When I examine my career, there are elements of the things I love running through every role. When I finally moved into marketing, I felt the happiest. I was able to tell the story of the organisation, products and people and I did it with passion. Eventually, the marketing was combined with executive coaching, which led to personal branding and book coaching. When working on strategies with people, my passion for writing and helping others to discover their voice and inspirational message through words kept screaming at me and so, today I get to help lots of people share their passion through books and blogs.
Think for a moment about the roles you have had, don’t think job titles or functions, think of the times you did ‘things’ that made you smile or your heart sing, where you added great value or left others with a fantastic experience of you. What about the things you do at weekends or in the evening, what are they? What would you be doing if money were no object? These are your passions.
I would still be writing, but I would also paint and walk more and I’d take more time to be with my loved ones. When I write, I feel excitement and energy, like I could dance and never stop. What about you, what do you see? What do you feel when you are doing things that are completely connected to who you are?
What is passion?
I always find it fascinating to consider the etymology of words, to see what the dictionary says, simply because I believe that we use so many words incorrectly and word meanings change over time. Consider this dictionary definition:
- Strong and barely controllable emotion.
- A state or outburst of such emotion.
This implies an irresistible, irrational force from within.
- How about “sufferings of Christ on the Cross,” or “suffering, enduring,” from the Latin patior.
On the surface it would seem like something you wouldn’t want, but consider this, if passion were something that you believed in, such that if you were not able to live your life without sharing that passion, it would hurt. How does that make you feel? What if you felt compelled to go through life sharing your passion to the point that you would be willing to endure suffering, so that you could share it?
This tells me that passion is a powerful driving force, that if left uncontrolled could cause untold damage, but in the right hands and harnessed for good, could change the way we think, act and lead.
Imagine if you could harness your passion and that of others, what kind of life and organisation would you have?
If passion were energy, emotion, a state of being, enthusiasm, excitement, fire in your belly, an action that keeps you going and is motivating, you would want some of that wouldn’t you?
If passion were:-
- Doing what you love and getting paid for it.
- Being aligned with your role and your life.
- An engine – your heart, soul, voice and brand.
If passion was a powerful force that you could harness, so that your passion, purpose and vision were one, you would want to know what you are passionate about and how to use it wouldn’t you?
Just take a few moments to consider what you are passionate about and what passion means to you. Look around your organisation, who are the passionate people? Finally ask, is yours a culture based on passion?
Do you feel excited by your passion?
I am hoping that you feel excited about something and can see passion as a positive force to be harnessed and used to create a life and an organisation that resonates with you. That passion connects values, purpose, vision and brand. Passion whether personal or organisational connects and engages people both inside and out. Customers buy for many reasons, one of which is that they connect emotionally to the product, service and/or your people. When they deal with you and your people they want to know that person is passionate about serving, adding value and creating a lasting experience.
Ask who do you serve and why?
How do you add value and how do you know?
What is the lasting experience you want others have of you?