I've been told I'm passionate about marketing and learning. Passion has been my life long engine for innovation and growth. John Hagel recently wrote an extensive post on pursuing passion, on which we will do a follow up here within the context of his project. Can business and passion coexist? Good question.
In many instances, your passion is great until you're part of the team, then you've got to tone it down. It is not only corporate executives who are ambivalent around passion, it seems that people who get things done are not very passionate at all; they're more process-oriented. Are the two mutually exclusive?
As John describes, especially in large organizations, "the day to day practices and processes of the firm seek to contain and mute the very passion that executives so eloquently celebrate."
Do a search, and you'll find two common kinds of popular definitions of passion - sacrifice and lust. Some of the words associated with passion in the post are - pursuit, progression, pull, about connecting, about discipline, about authenticity. An interesting grouping for sure.
I agree that passion is becoming increasingly important to our personal success and we must learn to harness its magic without yielding to its unpredictability. I'm most interested in the performance side of passion. This is a highly emotional business. Emotion (Lat. ex = out + motio = movement) leads to action.
As I've written before, the most amazing executions give us that kind of experience - or rather we infuse our own experience into them. My own take on how to express passion to have high performance by design in business:
(1.) Vote for yourself - know what you want and what you need and then go get it. Be confident in your skill even when you are tempted not to like what you see. We’re all kind of funny seen from the inside out.
(2.) Unleash your passion – don’t let things you don’t know or don’t understand get in the way: learn them, join them. "But
each time I seemed to be climbing into a roller coaster and finding
myself coming through the downhill run with that sort of dazed feeling
that we all know." [Enzo Ferrari]
(3.) Listen with one ear and forget with the other - you are in the driver seat, you decide what makes sense keeping. This is very hard to do.
(4.) Stay soft on the people, including yourself – on
your way anywhere, you will meet mates and you’ll meet the other kind.
To some people you’ll be but a blip on their radar, to some you’ll be a
source of great inspiration. Know the difference, you are accountable
for it. Remain human, don’t keep score, it bogs you down.
(5.) Develop stamina – think of yourself as a marathon runner. Don’t look at the time, build on the distance. "Aerodynamics are for people who can't build engines." [Enzo Ferrari]
(6.) Take risks – invest in your vision, explore the opportunities. When you go for safety, you shop at that price. "As bend followed bend, I discovered his secret. Nuvolari entered the bend somewhat earlier than my driver's instinct would have told me to." [Enzo Ferrari]
(7.) Design your context – chisel away all the marble and what you have is the masterpiece. Edit down as appropriate, sculpt your experience - you decide.
(8.) Have a “to be” list - be interested, curious, adaptable, and open to new ideas, including yours. Many call this attitude, I call it spirit (Lat. spiritus = breath).
(9.) Stage an experience - and you will learn something new every time. This is not rehearsal, it’s the real deal. Go at it with gusto and panache. The verb perform is built into performance.
(10.) Be very clear that you will succeed - and you will.
My post yesterday was one of my most passionate posts in a long time, which made it perhaps a bit unfocused to you. The core idea there? If you know more, lead and teach, use your passion to collaborate and connect.
What's your take on passion? What are other practical applications of passion you've encountered and experienced?
[image of question of passion by Emily's mind]
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