We hear a lot about following our passion, living for what we’re passionate about, etc. Psychologists tell us that it’s passion that drives us to do what we do and that it’s passion that helps us define a sense of purpose.
There is a graphic on this blog that shows a row of matches being lit. People ask me what that symbolizes. In all honesty, it’s simply an illustration of why I do what I do. The world of leadership, executive coaching, strategy, and organizational culture (as linked to bottom-line performance) feeds my soul and it literally ignites my passion to do more of what I do every single day. Helping leaders do what they do…better is my mantra. Helping to create stimulating and passionate workplace environments is my way of making a positive difference to every single person in every single organization I’m privileged to work with. I share with leaders that once they find their passion they’ll see that it’s much like a match lighting a flame. The enthusiasm that naturally exudes from having a sense of passion is contagious.
Passion is the soul’s fuel. It’s what generates forward movement and it’s what gives an organization a sense of energy. In fact, passion plays a key role in the overall perceived ‘personality’ of your organization. If passion wanes, it’s like a car that’s running out of gas. Forward movement begins to sputter with jerks and jolts and a feeling of desperation begins to set in. Suddenly, passion is overwhelmed by a sense of survival.
Can passion be misplaced? Of course it can. But that’s exactly why great leaders always want to challenge their own assumptions. It’s why great leadership teams strategically create a sense of transparency with clarified goals and a common sense of purpose. As Jim Collins has said, focus and alignment are two critical elements of leadership. Focus is important, but alignment may be a leader’s greatest work. Consider passion, then, as a strategic tool. With it, you’ll see forward movement around meaningful goals and a unified sense of purpose. Without it, you’ll have mediocrity at best.