Authentic Leadership Principle: Passion Energizes!
W.B. Homes is a Pennsylvania-based family-owned business founded in 1986 by William Bonenberger. Woven into W.B. Homes’s very successful business strategy is its philosophy that great houses help raise great families in a secure environment. Its passion isn’t really architecture and framing and stucco and landscaping. It’s family and community. And Bonenberger and his staff go the extra mile to support organizations that share a passion about family, such as Young Life and the Ronald McDonald House.
What’s your passion? What motivates you?
Marshall Goldsmith said passion is that “positive spirit toward what we are doing now, that starts from the inside and radiates to the outside.” (In Mojo: How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back If You Lose It.)
Humans are designed to be passionate about something. We long to be moved and motivated with a desire or enthusiasm for something greater than ourselves. We are designed to contribute to others, to the world, and to our organizations. Steve Job said it this way: “I want to make a dent in the universe.”
Passion Can Have Many Paths
There is no right or wrong passion. Also your passion does not have to be just one thing. You can have multiple passions, each contributing in a special way and each energizing your core.
Many leaders I know are jazzed by building a company, expanding internationally and growing EBITDA. I know architects who love the artistic aspect of their daily work and they also paint and draw in fine art forms in their spare time. I know psychologists who love helping people but also play music with a band on the weekends.
My passion is helping leaders fulfill their potential. I am also a learning and growth junkie! I have books all over my house. I go to workshops all the time to keep growing emotionally, spiritually, and in my coaching skills.
Passion Gives You Perspective
Knowing your passion gives you clarity about your purpose in life. That purpose provides transcendence – the existence or experience beyond the normal or physical level. Why? Because when things go wrong, your purpose in life gives you a larger perspective. You have the ability to formulate a positive outlook no matter what happens — to remind yourself that life is not about just being happy. It’s about making a difference.
No one has a perfect life. Everyone experiences set-backs, disappointments, failures, and losses. People who pursue happiness and pleasure are constantly disappointed. They wear themselves out to have it “all together.” People with a strong purpose have a perspective that is balanced. That helps them to be content through the ups and downs of daily living.
Passion Fuels Joy
In his book, The Radical Leap Re-Energized: Doing What You Love in the Service of People Who Love What You Do, Steve Farber gives a guideline for changing the world and connecting with those who want and need what you offer. It makes the case for work as an opportunity for true contribution, aliveness, and even satisfying relationships.
Passion Correlates with ‘Flow’
Passion is also a crucial component of “flow,” the highly focused mental state of operation also known as “the zone.”
Popularized by the Hungarian psychologist Mihály Csíkszentmihályi, (pronounced: me-high-cheek-sent-me-high), flow is characterized by complete motivation, single-minded immersion, and a feeling of energized enjoyment in an activity.
Research suggests that 20 percent of people have flow moments every day, while 15 percent never have flow moments. That’s unfortunate, because when emotions get harnessed in the service of the task at hand, the zone can be marked by spontaneous joy, even rapture.
Honing Your Passion Skills
Here are two steps for helping you get clarity on just what your passion is.
1. Identify Your “Why”
Ask yourself questions like these:
- How did you get in the career/industry/role you are currently in?
- What attracted you to it?
- What parts do you really love about it?
- What parts do you not like and/or drain you?
2. Identify What Gives You Mojo
- What gives you a sense of meaning in your day?
- What in your current job gives you Mojo?
- Write your “why” for doing what you do. This will be a unique expression based on your values and sense of purpose.
- What would you now do differently in your daily work that is more of an expression of your purpose? (Plus it will add to your Mojo!)
The Radical Leap Re-Energized by Steve Farber
Mojo: How to Get It, How to Keep It, How to Get It Back If You Lose It by Marshall Goldsmith
Did you miss last month’s Authentic Leadership Principle # 4 – Pruning Your Schedule: Get Ready to Grow Some Time? Read it here!