One of the best compliments I receive as a Professional Speaker is, “You’re so passionate!”. I’m honored to get to do what I do for a living; speaking and training for organizations in enhancing Leadership & Work/Life Harmony… as I hope you’re passionate about what you do for a living. Being passionate about your work, your vision, and your mission doesn’t mean every day is blue skies and white puffy clouds; there will be days the rollercoaster of your work will take you to extreme highs, lows, wins, losses, and you’ll experience all of the feelings that come with it. So, where does your passion come from, how do you maintain it, and what are the 2 additional necessary pieces… as Passion by itself will not be enough?
In the dictionary, passion is described as a strong and barely uncontrollable emotion. No matter if you’re a person in a professional position of authority or a front-line employee; anyone can be a leader no matter where they are within an organization… and Passion will help dictate that! Be passionate about the job you chose and understand, there are no small roles. A company may produce, but when the floors are dirty and the receptionist is a grouch… it becomes difficult to keep great people! And when the floors are clean and the receptionist is great but the company doesn’t produce results… it’s become difficult to keep great people! Learn your part, do your part, enjoy your part, celebrate your part… and if more is what you desire professionally; your passion will help you elevate or transition as people are more than willing to assist a passionate worker!
At the end of the day, passion can’t be faked… especially when you have to show up daily. The simplest way I find to develop and maintain passion is to do what you love that’s inherently who you are at your core. The second way is to get a vision for your life, professionally and personally, see how your job allows the vision to come to fruition, and marry them. I was passionate at my job as a Mental Health Therapist because it was who I was at my core and tapped into my natural superpowers. I was passionate at my job as a salesman… not because I loved the job or loved sales… it was because I knew it was a stepping stone to me starting my own business. Keep your eyes wide open to extract every lesson the day offers; as it’s preparing you for what’s next or what could be your next big win. Will you be ready for it? I used my time as a salesman to see if the Leadership & Work/Life Harmony Trainings and concepts I created would work as well going up the ladder as down the ladder… and it did!
In my employee days and being elevated to positions of leadership, there were times I absolutely loved my job as a Mental Health Therapist. I spoke about it, read about it, and was a nerd about my craft. Have you ever spoken with someone and felt their energy about how much they cared for what they did and their passion became a big piece of who they were… that was me! Passion is undeniable and easy when it’s this way and you make your name synonymous with what you care about. However, for me, that passion unexpectedly began to fade through organizational change, personal belief shifts, life circumstances, and a new professional and personal vision. That’s life sometimes… and it may happen to you, if it hasn’t happened already. So, what to do?
The simple answer is… Marry your “Why”! If your passion is fading for your work, you have two options:
- Request a 1-on-1 with your boss to explain you are happy to work for the organization and lately have become curious about other ways to be of impact or would like to know other opportunities that exist within the company? Remember, this is old news to you… as you’ve been thinking about it, feeling it, and going through the frustration for a while. This is NEW information to your boss and they may not know how best to respond given their day, the tornado of things swirling in their head, and possibly feeling the same way themselves… leaders are people too! Therefore, engage like a leader and have a few suggestions ready; as you’ve done some organizational homework of exploring their website like an interested newcomer. Leaders accompany their problem with suggested solutions and are ready to ask, “What do you like about the idea, what would you fine-tune, and how would you suggest we move forward?”. Your boss’s answer will tell you a lot. Perhaps great things you didn’t expect to hear… or… a bunch of bureaucratic jargon and fluff and as a leader, you can read the writing on the wall.
- When you can read that writing on the wall, be a leader and either chose to leave positively; being great at your job, getting your ducks in a row, and leaving in a way that you can request a letter of recommendation and they are shocked and sad to see you go.
Or… Marry “Why” you’re choosing to stay. Perhaps you need the check every two weeks, the organization will help pay for your education, you need more experience… whatever your reason… marry it and be mindful to be a passionate leader of your job; separating yourself from those that decide to stay only to gossip, complain, and grouch around!
As a leader, here’s an important truth… Passion is great and it may inspire people, but it won’t keep them motivated! This is a tricky and necessary lesson to learn. If you think your job as a leader is to motivate people… you are on the quick road to Frustratedtown then Burnoutville. I played football at every level and I can remember only one or two times when a coach’s pre-game or halftime speech motivated me. It’s not like in the movies where every locker room moment is a powerful, beautifully scripted, life-impacting speech! Rather, the goal is to hire or recruit already motived people that can be further inspired by the passion of the organization’s vision to win championships, be the best in their field, and enhance customer satisfaction. Whatever your organization’s thing… hire already motivated people and let the passion of the organization, team, and vision inspire and point them in the right direction.
The final piece is connection! To be passionate and bring on motivated people without knowing how to connect would be a fatal flaw. In my Leader’s 7, I share the 7 Languages your people need, want, and benefit most hearing from leadership. Each person has their Top Two; making it easier to connect, motivate, and inspire! On a more general level but no less important is the significance of connecting and here’s how!
Head-Up – As a leader, enter your place of work daily with your head up, eyes up, smiling, and greeting. This seems like a simple piece of advice until you understand how many people in positions of leadership don’t do it! Having your eyes up will allow you to SEE your people, what they are going through (good and bad is written all over their face), and your immediate environment. In a world where most people are looking down and ready to complain about their day, life, job, and relationship… never underestimate the power of your smile! Greeting makes you approachable and it’s important your people feel they can come to you. Perhaps you can address whatever they bring your way at the moment or you protect your time by listening and offering a time slot for them to come to further discuss.
Consistent – Have you ever had someone say hello to you on Monday, ignore you on Tuesday, say hello on Wednesday, etc.? How does that feel? Don’t be that person as a leader! I’ve found people are okay with you being horrible; as long as you are horrible all the time, Lol! I say this jokingly, but it is the truth… your people want to know what to expect from you; as you them. So choose!
Transparent – Let’s keep this simple. Be passionate about telling the truth, tell it without all of the organizational jargon, and in a language people at all levels can understand. It may be great news, it may be bad news… whatever it is tell it and share how the decisions made will impact the vision, the organization, and the people for the better; along with the truth about the work necessary to make it happen.
Follow-Through – Be where you said you were going to be, doing what you said you were going to do, and follow through. This is the foundation of what trust is built upon and there are few things worse than a passionate person with no follow-through. You hear them speaking and want to immediately walk away because you know they mean well but they have no staying power or will become passionate about something else within the next five minutes. Follow-Through is your word, your reputation, your leadership, and a model for those on your team… Be Mindful!
“Whatever your organization’s thing… hire already motivated people and let the passion of the organization, team, and vision inspire and point them in the right direction” – Andre Young
Written by: Andre Young
Click www.youevolvingnow.com to find out more about Andre Young’s Leadership & Work/Life Harmony Trainings, Speaking Engagements, Books, and more; evolving your organization, your leaders, employees, and teams!