Passion drives performance like nothing else, in business, and in life. What do you care about most deeply? What enlivens you? What awakens you? What form of work or service feels like play? What gives you a sense of mission or purpose? That's what you need to be doing. It's tough in life to settle for anything less.
Yeah, I know that the cynics will reply, "Passion can't pay the bills." And passionate mediocrity is just bad on a bigger scale. Sometimes, our greatest loves have to be hobbies. I get it. We all have limitations, commitments, and various other realities to deal with. But a truth still stands. When you can pick your passion as your primary purpose, you can often fly high.
This week I've written once before about a really nice book I've been reading, The Work: My Search for a Life That Matters, by Wes Moore. Today, I want to quote him again. On page 120, he writes:
One thing I began to realize in my travels was that everyone I met who was truly successful - whether in business, in philanthropic work, in human rights, in government, or in raising a family - shared one common trait: they were fanatically passionate about the work they did. They breathed it. They needed it. It was their lifeblood.
He then goes on to challenge us:
Really, think about it: name one person in your own life who fits the description of unassailable success who is not driven by that kind of clarifying passion.
I'm not sure I would have used the word 'fanatical' but, that caveat aside, I agree wholeheartedly with what Moore says here. Tremendous passion tends to drive tremendous results. In the 1600s, Blaise Pascal wrote, "The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing." The heart, the core of our emotion, and passion, the metaphorical organ of enthusiasm and positive energy, has reasons and powers that intellect alone can't match.
The more heart we can bring to our work, the more passion and commitment and enthusiasm, the more likely we'll make that work into a masterpiece of service, or performance, and a real gift to those around us. Why should we settle for anything less?