Living a passionate life

Passionate individuals achieve. Passionate individuals perform. Passionate individuals inspire. Imagine tapping into extraordinary talents each working day. Imagine the growth, the rewards and the results.

Sadly, few people are passionate about their work. Yet, if business is to thrive in these challenging times, leaders must create an “extra-ordinary” level of commitment from their people. A commitment based not only on the cerebral – but one that also involves the heart and soul – passion.

We are now in what I call ‘The Passion Age’. This new era demands the mastery of the difficult part of business – people. Physical resources are the easy part. That is why so few organisations successfully access the knowledge and wisdom and passion of their people: it’s just too hard.

Passionate performers make no distinction between labour and leisure, education and recreation. They simply pursue their vision with a commitment and energy sustained by their passion.

Effective leaders understand the principles of motivation, that’s a given, but motivation and passion are not quite the same. One is a reactive process, the other a proactive one. Managers, coaches or corporate mentors all motivate, but this is achieved externally. One can encourage a person to be motivated, one can even teach them how to be motivated, but passion comes from the soul, from the heart.

Leaders who want to access the passion and energy of their people must first understand the major drivers of human behaviour, the pain-pleasure equation. It’s simple: how much pain is an individual willing to accept for a future pleasure?

Consider sportspeople and musicians: they are willing to undertake years of what is at times painful training because of the promise of pleasure that inspires them. Here are some ways to access that level of passion for your organisation:

  1. What benefits will employees derive from contributing their passion and knowledge to the business?
  2. What pain or disadvantage will employees reduce in their lives?
  3. What is the present pain that blocks employees from contributing?
  4. Can the employees clearly see the pleasure they will gain from contributing their passion and facing, or experiencing, the pain of doing so?
  5. Is the pain of contributing passion greater than the pain of being “safe” in a low performance environment?

The successful leaders of tomorrow will be those with a strong empathy-based style, who create a passionate, purpose-driven, working environment.