I just returned from vacation, where I spent a week living the Spanish lifestyle, including an exhilarating day running with the bulls (that’s me in the photo!!). The Spanish are known for being passionate about life – from food and drink to the best athletes in the world. In my time there, it became obvious that we are often misguided in how we think about passion.
The fallacy is thinking that most people have “a passion” which may or may not be also what they “do” for a living. We all know people who are lucky to “love what they do” (maybe it’s you?!). However, there is no such thing as a limit to the number of things you can be passionate about. What’s your favorite red wine? Is that really the only one you can be passionate about? What about your top five movies? Can you not be passionate about the next fifty? You probably have a favorite project at work – why can’t you be equally passionate about the rest of them?
You can find passion in everything from the extraordinary to the mundane, the physical to the intellectual. Things you’ve never done before or that you do every single day. And, yes, things that terrify you.
Passion is not a thing or even a feeling. Passion is a way of presenting yourself to the world. Importantly, passion is also not reserved for “passionate people.” To pick on a friend at W2O Group, I’ve often heard Creative Officer, Paulo Simas, referred to as a “passionate person,” as if other people could not possibly be passionate about something every single day, as Paulo is.
It’s true that just like some people are intrinsically more organized, some people are intrinsically passionate. However, just like disorganized people who choose to be organized, passion is a conscious decision we all make every single day. If you are bored at your desk, that is a choice. In school, I was so bored with math that I skipped it completely in college. Yet, in my career I’ve found more passion in mundane Excel docs than most statistics majors. Being passionate about the things you do is a way of experiencing and impacting the world every single day – not just when you’re doing your favorite activity.
Who Cares If I’m Passionate or Not?
Why is this important to social and communicative professionals? When you bring your passion to the table, it becomes contagious. People want to be with you in the hopes they can either feel passion vicariously or learn your secret. They are driven to believe what you’re telling them because you’re so passionate about it. Sales savant Zig Ziglar once said, “For every sale you miss for being too enthusiastic, you will miss a hundred because you’re not enthusiastic enough.”
Enthusiasm and passion are two sides of the same coin. How can you expect a client to risk his or her business on your idea if you’re not passionate about it? Why would a journalist or blogger share your news with their readers if your passion isn’t contagious? It turns out, passion is what drives both joy in life and results in business.
Wait – There’s a Secret to Being Passionate?
If passion has one secret, it’s that passion is never too cool or too afraid. Every time you withhold your passion, you miss an opportunity. At W2O we celebrate “geekiness” as a badge of honor. Yet, every single day there are people who feel passionately but don’t speak up. Are you afraid of showing your passion? What are you afraid of people seeing in you? Bring your passion to the table in everything you do – personally, professionally, physically, intellectually.