Friday, October 23, 2009

O Passion, Where Art Thou?

Para leer este blog en español por favor pulse aqui.

I’ve been feeling lately like I have been working double-shifts in the ER.

Many of the patients who have been admitted haven’t been in any type of accident.

They are suffering from what I will define as deficientia passio – passion deficiency syndrome.

As each patient is rolled in, a quick assessment is usually all that is required.  I grab the passion defibrillator, yell out CLEAR and zap them with the passion they need to make a difference in the world.

Ah, if it were only that easy.

A lot of wonderful people have come my way lately whose passion is either gone, never manifested in the first place or manifests in destructive ways instead of constructive ones.

The reasons are many, I’m sure.  We can can all psychoanalyze the many reasons – fear of this or that, bad life experiences, the stress of living in the 21st century, etc.

All I know is that when it comes to making a real difference in the lives of ourselves and others, when all things are equal;  opportunity, networks, intelligence, etc., there are two things that will separate those who can’t or won’t from those who do.

The ones who ultimately get it done exhibit ferocious amounts of passion but do so with an inner humility that allows the passion to be directed in a positive manner.

I have worked with a number of business leaders lately who exhibit one or more of the following symptoms of deficientia passio.  If you have any of these symptoms, please see your “passion therapist” right away.  The symptoms may appear similar to one of the following:

  1. People who wonder why their team doesn’t seem to care about exceeding expectations (or even meeting them).  Meanwhile, the team leader doesn’t seem to care either, focusing on irrelevant things but getting upset when their team is not focused.
  2. Leaders who hope that their company can survive while telling everyone that they are doing everything they can.  At the same time, offers to inject capital or help of any kind are spurned and some go off on vacation at the wrong time, with the scarcity mindset of “the company is lost anyway so I will take one more vacation on someone else’s dime”.  These people also embrace the concept that to own all of nothing is superior to owning a smaller piece of a much larger entity.  Passion to protect ego is stronger within these people than passion for success.
  3. People who lead organizations or groups with little or no communication, have meetings with no purpose or have no clearly established vision, mission and goals.  These leaders will lament ad nauseum about how their people won’t get engaged or are worthless.  How can they get engaged – the team either doesn’t know how to get engaged, what they should engage in or why they should even bother?
  4. Leaders who demand respect from the environment while at the same time, perform acts that violate most acceptable HR principals.  “My people are professionals”, these leaders reason, “they should be able to do as I say and not as I do”.
  5. People who are in constant “hurry up and wait” mode, right up to the final demise of their team, committee or organization.  These are the people who exhibit less passion for their team and their purpose than the people who are called in to help them.  They are the ones who will ask for help or money but when it is offered to them, take weeks to respond.  Weeks later, the cry for help comes again and is even more desperate.  The offers of help go out again and again there is silence.  The cycle continues for a while until suddenly there is long-term silence.  A year or so later, you run into this person and they tell you the sad story that everything collapsed because of the fault of everyone but them.  They in fact snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.
  6. People who constantly talk about the need to improve themselves or their company.  They never make any progress towards improvement but they will meet with you forever and never do anything themselves.  Some even get angry when you won’t do it for them – that somehow you must be more passionate about them than they are.
  7. Leaders who demand strong values of respect, honesty, collaboration, etc. and yet do everything to undermine these values.  Eventually the team members get disgruntled, performance levels fall, team members leave and the leader blames all the problems on the team members. 

I guess I would be remiss in my duties if I didn’t add that other symptoms also include dry-mouth, headache, stomachache, a sense of fatigue, a sense of hyperactivity, constipation and diarrhea.  It seems that all diseases and the medications that treat them include these symptoms also!

There are amazing opportunities all around us.  There are more than ever, despite the projection of gloom and doom.

We only come this way once.  We get one whack at whatever our purpose is and then we are gone.  In the grand scale of things, our limited time on this earth is a blip that doesn’t even register within the context of time in the Universe..

However, that blip has huge potential within the context of our lives and the people around us.

We all have different impacts on this earth.  Some of us live quiet lives and impact a few people.  Some impact a lot of people but still do it quietly.  Others prefer to be “out there”, using their gifts in a more noticeable way.

Whatever we do, we need to make sure our passion is engaged. 

Our passion changes our result from good to excellent.

It is contagious.  A strong passion brings other people into your circle to help  you achieve that which you are striving towards.  Lack of passion is equally contagious and can kill projects (and sometimes people).

When Life gets tough as it always does on occasion, passion (with other things) helps us to move forward.

A lot of people are afraid of passion.  I’ve been told that my passion is intimidating.

That’s fine – don’t waste your time trying to make them passionate.  You will burn yourself out and upset them at the same time.

Find others who are equally or more passionate.  This is not always easy.  However, when it comes to finding passionate people to engage, remember the law of the 4 SWs.

Some will

Some won’t

So what ….

Someone’s waiting.

St. Augustine wrote:

The fire you wish to enkindle in others must burn in yourself.

Find your purpose.  If you don’t know how to do that, send me an email.  I’ll help you find it. 

Why would I do that? 

Because the world needs your passion for success, excellence and contribution.  It needs you to share your talents, knowledge and strengths and to do so with as much enthusiasm as you can muster.  It needs you to light the fire of passion in others as well.

A world of apathy and indifference is a world that will ultimately collapse.  Read your history books – organizations and nations have fallen when leaders either didn’t have passion or their passion was misdirected.

As Earl Nightingale once said:

Creativity is a natural extension of our enthusiasm.

Be passionate.

Associate with passionate people.

Make a difference in your life and the lives of those around you.

Do it with the best of your ability.

Make the most of your time.

After all, when it comes to time:

  • We are born with a finite amount allocated
  • We don’t know how much is remaining
  • Once it is burned, it is gone forever

Now if you will excuse me, I have to run.

Another patient has been rolled in and it looks like a really bad case of deficientia passio.

<<Ok … I need 10 ccs’ of purpose here, 20 cc’s of legacy definition and 30 cc’s of enthusiasm …. and get that passion defibrillator here … stat.  C’mon people, move it  – this person’s in trouble.>>

Yours in service and servanthood – passionately.


For other musings about passion, please check out:

Check Your Passion at the Door

A User’s Guide to Passionate People

For my Musings-in-a-Minute version of “O Passion, Where Art Thou”, please click here.

Para leer este blog en español por favor pulse aqui.

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