Are You Still Passionate About What You Do?

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Aug 30, 2019
This article is part of a series called Higher Performance Workforce.
If you love what you’re doing, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.

I’m continually amazed at the number of leaders who don’t like or enjoy what they’re doing. When I speak at meetings, conventions and conferences, I often ask audiences: How many of you love your work? How many of you get excited about what you do? Usually, a few hands go up. Everyone else sits very quietly and uncomfortably, looking with envy at those who have raised their hands.

I love what I’m doing. I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do. I’ve coached, spoken to, consulted with, and trained people, teams, and organizations to increase their effectiveness. I’m up at 5:00 a.m. each day and generally in my office by 6:00 or 6:30, excited about starting my day.

My wonderful and tolerant wife understands my love and passion for work, but she often thinks I’m going to burn out. I’ve told her that my job doesn’t qualify as work for me. I love the opportunity to meet with a wide variety of people every day, learn from them, communicate with them at various levels, and coach them to take their skills to a higher level. Going into an organization as a consultant and making it function better is not work to me. It’s fun! Standing up and speaking in front of thousands of people, or making a difference in somebody’s life, either professionally or personally, is not work. It’s exciting, something I see myself doing for the rest of my life.

Leaders and passion

Most people who experience such fulfillment are highly successful people who are following a creative path. As leaders, they’re not only in touch with themselves, but also, more importantly, with the people who report to them. This kind of exhilaration becomes contagious, rubbing off on the people you lead. Without passion, you cannot provide the direction and guidance your job requires.

A friend of mine in the wine business once said, “Life is too short to drink bad wine.” I say, life is too short to be doing something you don’t love.

If you lack passion and enjoyment, people will see right through you. You’ll never be able to inspire them to greatness or be effective. Life is too short to struggle at a job you hate. So, if leadership doesn’t’ fulfill you, it’s time to do something else.

Passion questions

What is your passion? How do you communicate it to others? How do you let people know what inspires you?

While you needn’t possess every skill that characterizes great leadership, you must be able to explain why you’re passionate about your work. So do the people who you lead. They may not have every required technical skill when they’re hired. These are areas for which you can provide training. What you cannot teach is passion. A person either has it or she doesn’t.

Take a few minutes to describe why you’re passionate about your work: What is your passion and how do you communicate that passion to others? What do you do that lets people know what you’re passionate about?

Certainly, expertise in certain areas is essential for job performance. But that alone will not assure our effectiveness on the job. The excitement and enthusiasm and fervor you show is contagious and will help sharpen your new hire’s attitude. Technical skills are important, yes, but their success will ultimately rest on intangible values such as those I just mentioned.

This article is part of a series called Higher Performance Workforce.