The vast majority of the American workforce does not feel passionate about what they do and does not feel inspired by their bosses. You can be a different kind of leader, one that inspires passion.
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How far will you go for something you are passionate about? How far will you drive to watch your favorite sports teams? How nice of a diamond necklace will you purchase for your wife or gold watch for your husband? How much cash will you throw down for the newest and greatest golf clubs?
We talk about passion all the time, but few of us apply it to our job. Shouldn’t we, though? We spend almost as much time with our colleagues at work as we do with our families (and in some sad cases even more). Out of each twenty-four-hour period, we sleep for around eight hours, commute to work, put in at least another eight hours on the job, journey home, and enjoy what little time remains with our spouse and children.
Many of us make a definite distinction between home and work. We would die to protect our family. We feel this passion without even questioning its depth. But the other part of our lives, the working part, can be something else altogether. We want to do well because it means promotion and a raise, and this makes life better for our family, but many of us are not really passionate about it or about the colleagues with whom we spend so much of our days.
We should be. Without passion for this integral part of our lives, we are sleepwalking through our days for the sake of the paycheck we receive. But with passion, our self-respect and sense of self-worth grow, and we have more to give both at work and at home. Here are a few key reasons why passion in the workplace is so important, according to Kevin and Jackie Freiberg:
- Passion intensifies our focus.
- Passion enables innovation and creativity.
- Passion provides the drive to persevere, to avoid cutting corners, and to pursue excellence.
- Passion creates energy among colleagues that allows work to be completed more quickly.
- Passion helps people deal with fear.
- Passion makes employees want to stay in their jobs and contribute, even when they’re not feeling their best.
I travel full-time speaking to companies and organizations all over the US and around the world. Before I speak to an audience, I always remind myself of an important rule: "Be a novel, not a newspaper." Newspapers are usually thrown away the next day. Novels may be reread and cherished for years. When I speak, people want more than newspaper headlines. They desire to know more than the basic facts on leadership. They want stories that touch their five senses and emotions. They want to experience what I’m saying. They want passion.
If you are a leader, the same is true of your staff. If you want them to understand and catch your passion, you’ve got to give them more than the facts. Tell them the story behind your excitement, and show them how much you care.
Describe your vision. Take time to explain exactly how goals can be reached. Your team needs to see clearly how this can be done. You want your team to begin to think as one, with each member having input. When everyone is utilizing their passion by sharing their ideas, brainstorming, seizing on thoughts and theories and conceiving ways to put them into practice, you will have succeeded.
Jeremy Kingsley is a professional speaker, best-selling author, and the President of OneLife Leadership. Jeremy holds bachelors and masters degrees from Columbia International University. He is the author of four books, his latest is titled: Inspired People Produce Results (McGraw Hill 2013). Jeremy lives in Columbia, South Carolina with his wife and two sons.