Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A User’s Guide to Passionate People

Para leer este blog en español por favor pulse aqui.

I have been humbled and blessed by the responses to my previous blog “Check Your Passion at the Door”.  I thank everyone for responding with such passion.

One of the things that was interesting with the responses were the number of people who resonated with the blog and up to the point of reading the blog, were afraid to turn their passion loose.

With that in mind, I thought it would be interesting to produce a user’s guide to help people understand passionate people – whether they are the passionate person or they work with a passionate person (in either case, doubting their sanity or the sanity of someone else).

Some immediately apparent things about passionate people.

Passionate people ……..

1. Often drive us crazy with their insatiable energy and tenacity (that’s ok – they think they are insane sometimes also).

2. Are maniacal in purpose and may disturb us by being more focused on the objective than we are – and the objective is ours, not necessarily theirs.

3. Aren’t very good at accepting “I don’t want to do it”, “I can’t do it”, or “We shouldn’t do it”.  In fact, forcing that on them will convert the passionate person into a testy, passionate person.

4.  Are difficult to debate because they have every angle covered (much to our chagrin and frustration).  They can actually debate us into a corner using our own data and logic and so we eventually respond with anger – we have nothing else left to defend our position.

5. Are impatient, having already figured out (at least in their own mind) what the solution is and wonder why no one else can see what they believe to be obvious.

6. Can be frustrating to work with because of their singular focus on solutions.

7. Do everything to extremes, to the admiration and chagrin of others.

8. Are direct or blunt in a world that suggests that directness hurts too many feelings.

9. Are easily frustrated with a world that doesn’t engage at an energy level acceptable to them.

10. Flash to anger quickly but calm down quickly also.  Time is too short for grudges although their anger, when visible, is intense and sometimes frightening.

11. Put their foot in their mouth with fair frequency.  They aren’t afraid to try something new with little data, which can make them seem reckless.

12. Are quick to point out discongruence and inconsistency – they are the child who yells out that the emperor is not wearing any clothing (not always a welcome action when we want something to quietly disappear).

13. Have imaginations that can be frightening in breadth and depth, all the while being extremely creative (sometimes unnervingly).

14. Are naturally curious and like to explore things from all angles.  Having done so, they may come up with a lot of suggestions for just about anything.  They are all about unlimited possibilities, which can frighten some people.

Sounds rough, doesn’t it?  Let’s explore passionate people a little deeper.

Passionate people ……..

1. Love to collaborate, inviting others to participate in their projects.

2. Love to learn and ask a lot of questions (even if that makes us feel that they are questioning why we did something, when in fact they are learning, not judging).

3. Love to share – projects, life experiences, stories – anything.

4. Laugh easily and frequently.

5. Weep for others – more than we know (even the perceived tough guys).

6. Have hearts that are afflicted by everything they see, gripped by the need to do things for others and seized by a sense of urgency that seems to disrupt our “slow and steady” world.

7. Are more delicate and easily wounded than people realize, although they shake this off quickly because they know that someone else hurts more.

8. Seek solutions to everything, even when it is none of their business or outside of their sphere of influence.

9. Look up at the sky when no one is looking and ask “Why me?”

10. Pray to a Higher Power for strength …. sometimes they ask for help … sometimes they plead …. sometimes they yell.

11. Know that to try to fix something is better than to look the other way.

12. Expose their heart and inner spirit to many people at their own risk.  To do so creates an opportunity for trust – not as common a trait in the modern world as it used to be.

13. Are often unusually perceptive, which is not always welcome or often makes people feel uneasy (since none of us wants to feel stupid).

14. Are disarmingly transparent.

15. Are perpetually restless, always alert and thinking, which is not always welcome in a world where fresh ideas often expose apathy, indifference or incompetence.

16. Seem to reach out to us just when we need someone – how do they do that anyway?

17. Are more humble than we realize – we are too busy criticizing them to notice their humility.

18. Often offer help unconditionally with no strings attached.

19. Either have a passion that burns very deep and silently, with occasional manifestations (public or private) or are in a constant state of visibly manifesting their passion.

20. Don’t exercise their passion for obvious rewards.

How about the world that the passionate person lives in?

Passionate people ……..

1. Believe that every problem has a solution and that they shouldn’t give up until it is found, exhausting people who prefer to go find something easier to solve.

2. Believe that the world is filled with the magical, not the mundane.

3. Often feel alone because they absorb a lot of negativity or abuse by leading the way with their passion, often venturing into unknown or dangerous territory.

4. Have a lot of people who want to ride their coattails, as these people are afraid to turn their own passion loose and prefer to let someone else take the risk.

5. Experience a personal journey that is not an easy one.  There are no shortcuts.

6. Sometimes wonder, after they have helped the world, why it is that when they cry out for help when they are overwhelmed, nobody answers the call.

7. Live in a world that often misunderstands the motives of the passionate person.  After all, why would someone put so much energy into something or someone seemingly not important to them?

8. Have experienced many things, which is why they have a passion to help others.  They may not always share their history, their painful moments or their victories but they have them.  Don’t tell them they don’t understand unless you know they don’t – they may have experienced more then you ever will.

9. Have led or are leading very busy or complex lives that blow our minds.  How do they find the time to do so much for others?

By why do they do what they do?

They do it because they are wired to the core with love – an unending, abundant supply of love that they absorb from everything around them and which they channel to those who need it – even when the person receiving it resists it or doesn’t understand why someone would do such a thing.

Passionate people are a conduit for love.  They don’t hold it in – they allow it to flow through them.

They have too much love to contain within.  This love needs to find a home or the passionate person will explode with unfulfilled purpose.

They are intent on other people experiencing this love in different forms.  They want to help others feel it, incubate it and share it with others.

Sure, passionate people can drive us crazy.  But whose fault is that; the passionate person or the person who fails to recognize how this limitless energy can be used - the phenomenal potential created by the passionate person?

Remember – splitting an atom correctly can produce electricity for a lifetime – doing it poorly produces a nuclear explosion.

The atom is just sitting there, filled with potential.  It’s what we do with it that produces a positive or negative result.

I wonder if we need a 12-step program for passionate people.  It’s not to help them quash the energy that runs deep within them.

It’s so that they can share that which fuels them with others who have a passion inside that has yet to be released. 

It’s so that they can help others ignite and free the passion that yearns to find fulfillment in each of us. 

Once that passion has been released and allowed to flow, each of us would be invited to step into world that we would perceive in a different way.  A world filled with possibilities.  A world filled with opportunities to live passionately, to love unconditionally, to learn, share and to leave a legacy to others.

Maybe passionate people aren’t so bad after all.

What do you think of such a 12 step program?

I’d like to open the meeting.

Hello.  My name is Harry and I am a passionate person.

It is very nice to meet you.

Yours in service and servanthood – passionately.


Dedicated to some very passionate people, some of whom haven’t completely unleashed their passion on us.  God help us all when they do.  :-)

  • Jonathan S.
  • Leslie G.
  • Roberto L.
  • Casey W.
  • Jim G.
  • Richard G – rest in peace, my friend.
  • Barry G.
  • Mac P.
  • Shauna S.

Para leer este blog en español por favor pulse aqui.


  1. Harry:

    This was the most liberating of all I have read from you my friend... and that says a very great deal. I felt humbly "at home", understanding the expression of the strengths and challenges. Within, I feel the most constructive of tornadoes and it has caused moments of real separation and "aloneness" since childhood. That which you express courses through me and has been bottled for a long time... with brief shining moments along the way... but my childhood was unbridled. I feel I am returning, tasting that which flows in and through me. Nothing I do is of me, but the blessing of those moments of authenticity makes me feel grateful beyond words. I feel that my "war" is making itself manifest as these days unfold. Tonight another inexplicably engaging session with neighbourhood community leaders and discussions around youth... finding myself driving towards an expression of my capacities in the arts and more... to engage real communities... a community "activant".

    Thank you for this blog Harry. It was a moment of added and unexplainable clarity.

    Hi, my name is Barry and I am a passionate person, loving the sacred and in service to the only true Force that has ever existed.

    Finally Harry, your blog inspired me to send out a message to my colleagues in our local speakers' association (www.nlaps.ca). That message went as follows.

    "Friends, I will try to keep this short and simple, and sweet! These past few weeks have been an absolute sacred awakening for me. I am changing my website and all materials to reflect the authenticity. Much of this has come from discussions with Toni Newman and Harry Tucker, in prayer and meditation and the deepest reflection. Increasingly, I am having shining moments of clarity working with ideas and issues impacting youth and community development... my "market" and audience is all about community, all about it. More details to follow, but I positively challenge any and all of us to ask several major questions.

    * What is it that I do?
    * What talents and capacities immerse me and make me lose all sense of time?
    * What audiences do I most feel passion, empathy and love for... in service?
    * How can I make the marriage of capacities and need a place where I can live and make a living?
    * What do I want to be known for 1 year, 3 years, 5 years down the road?

    Of course, these must be answered with unbridled honesty.

    I pray you reach for your heart, and there you will find the stars.

    Love and friendship, and I will share more as it unfolds."

    Harry, I thank you for your audacity and inspiration. This singular soul is reconnecting with purpose and who I serve because of your challenges. God bless you, my friend.



  2. Hey Barry,

    What a humbling honor you give me - thank you.

    Thank you also for your incredible passion to make a difference in the lives of others, Barry.

    Your passion is an amazing gift to the world. The recipients of your passion are blessed indeed.

    I look forward to watching your passion create incredible results in the lives of the people you are touching with your current project!

    Take care and thank you for your heart and your passion, Barry - keep driving it.

    If I may be of service, do not hesitate to reach out to me.

    In your service.


  3. Indeed, I shall. Looking forward, living present...


  4. Came across a related quote that has resonance with me:

    "Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else's opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation." - Oscar Wilde

  5. I like. How does that song go "Say what you need to say... say what you need to say..."... from The Bucket List. John Mayer. Great song.

    Authenticity. The words that are coming to my heart and mind and soul are "be what you were sent to be".

    Smiles upon the face :-)


  6. Harry, dear friend, it seems your describing me to the core. I've re-read it several times, unbelieving in the fact that I've been wasting all my life trying to be someone else. Yet you in this post, seems to have x-rayed me. As Barry, since childhood I always felt different, alone and yet, always full of energy and drive.
    I must ask you a favour: this post of yours is so power ful, so rich I would like to share it with my spanish friends. May I translate it into spanish, please? of course, always citing you, rest assured.

  7. Dear Robert,

    Thank you for such a kind response. I would be honored it you would translate it.

    We all face many similar challenges in life - it sometimes takes courage for us to step out and admit it and when we do ... others step forward as well as we realize we are not alone.

    Perhaps we could put the translated one up here as well, with links between the English and Spanish, and with your name credited as the translator.

    Take care, Robert, and thank you for your kind words.


  8. As usual Harry - Nail hit squarely on the head. Thank you for seeing it in me and making sure I saw it clearly too. It's been a real ballast while I've been out here on these rough seas.

  9. Hey Liz,

    Thank for your kind comments.

    Passionate people walk a difficult walk - passionate to make a difference, easily misunderstood and more easily hurt than people realize since passionate people are often mistaken to be cocky, arrogant or over-confident.

    When this misunderstanding occurs, some people believe that passionate people need to be knocked down a peg or two because it is felt that they need to be "corrected".

    When this happens, everyone loses.

    What a blessing it is to be passionate about life and purpose! :-)

    Take care and create a great day, Liz!