Ten years ago as part of a marketing planning process in our business, I surveyed a number of our key clients as to why they chose to continue to do business with DAWA. While trusting us to deliver value in our areas of expertise such as website development and marketing solutions was a key component, another theme emerged that I had not considered – passion.
They told us that our passion was contagious and invigorating. Clients knew that our love for the work we did fueled our ability to deliver results and permeated our work relationships. We have acknowledged the role it plays collectively in our business and individually in our professional lives and it is a leading tenant in our core values.
Passion is defined by Merriam-Webster as an intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction; a strong liking or desire for or a devotion to some activity, object or concept. Professionally speaking, it may be defined as doing something you love or an area of strength that comes easy to you.
Benefits of Pursuing Your Passion
“Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” is a quote attributed to Marc Anthony, Mark Twain, and Confucius. While considered a platitude by some, it represents a key to professional success for others.
I’ve witnessed people slog through hours, days, and years of work looking forward to the five o’clock whistle and slow-approaching vacation days with an air of drudgery surrounding them. I’ve also seen others that whisk through the work week surprised by the swift passing of time and marked by a general satisfaction in the work they do. A key differentiator between the two groups is doing something that they enjoy and for many it’s something they love.
Passion provides intrinsic motivation. When you are working within your strengths, an area you feel strongly about, you derive satisfaction from that activity itself. You do not have to rely on outside motivations of money or encouragement to perform the task. Oftentimes, in fact, increased compensation and recognition come to those who are excelling in their area of expertise driven by their passion.
Passion engenders commitment. Observing people working within their passion I’ve noticed they are committed to improving their skills and investing their own time and resources into pursuing that passion. It is an inside-out commitment that can’t be manufactured by outside influence. They want it and you can’t stop them from getting it.
Individual Pursuit of Passion
How do you find your passion? This has been a key topic in recent years as my children have entered that time where they are leaving high school and contemplating their futures. While I have had many years to teach and influence them, it is their decisions to make (I have to keep reminding myself.) If there is a single piece of advice I’ve asked them to consider, it is to discover and pursue their passions, both personally and professionally.
Passion! 8 Steps
Last month Eckert Youth Homes brought in a speaker, Mark Lindquist, for several engagements including presentations to local schools and an evening event for youth and adults. His presentation, The 7 Mindsets to Live Your Ultimate Life, led with the declaration that everything is possible. The second mindset suggests putting passion first – pursue your authentic talents and deepest interests.
He offers a deeper dive into the topic in his book Passion! – 8 Steps to Find Yours. In the first step, he suggests you begin with a willingness to try a bunch of stuff. “You have to embrace a different way of thinking. You have to welcome change. You have to actively seek creativity, ingenuity and imagination.”
The book is a short read at about 80 pages and I found it thought provoking and encouraging as a launching pad for discovering your passions. It is available from Lindquist’s website at http://www.markjlindquist.com/store
Passion and Profession
While trying to align something you are passionate about with your profession may lead to greater professional joy and success as previously noted, not all of your passions will fit you professionally.
A person may pursue a profession in an area of passion only to find other requirements and the dynamics of the profession diminish the joy they experience in that area. They may be best served to explore other areas of passion professionally.
Passion has been recognized as a powerful part of successful and influential organizations. How does a company develop passion within the organization? I’ll offer you two concepts for your consideration.
Define purpose. Leadership is responsible for casting and communicating the vision and mission. “Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” – Jack Welch, Former Chairman, General Electric
In innumerable surveys, studies and business books, it has been argued that employees value purpose and a sense of contributing to the greater cause as much as or more than their salary. A clear and compelling vision and purpose can spark passion among employees who connect with the purpose.
Hire people with passion. While many hire with an emphasis on education and experience, others place greater value on attitude and passion. I would argue that people who are passionate about the work they do perform at a higher level.
Additionally, passionate people affect those around them positively. They exude an air of excitement that people, coworkers and clients, like to be around and work with. Hire passionate people, provide them purpose, and experience a rising of the tide in your corporate culture.