Friday, October 16, 2009

Why Passion?


“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

Can you imagine the Berlin Wall coming down if President Reagan’s words had lacked passion? No way. It was Reagan’s burning desire and sense of expectancy that brought down the Berlin Wall.

Passion is the juice that drives powerful result-producing communication. When we combine a burning desire to contribute with the expectation of success, we become unstoppable. Passion keeps us in the game, withstanding failures and sharpening our skills until we succeed - like Canada’s first hockey superstar, Maurice Richard, who returned to the sport after each injury better than ever. This steely perseverance sustains us over time and separates the wanna-bees and fly-by-nights from the greats.

I’m reminded of Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln and Mahatma Gandhi. They endured many failures throughout their lifetimes, but their inner fires were not diminished. Each held his vision steadily before him and persisted in communicating, leading and taking bold actions that eventually would change the course of history.

With passion in your belly, you can change history too. Whether you’re leading a nation, a company, a team, a family or just yourself, the same principle holds true.

TIP: To Be a Powerful, Result-Producing Leader and Communicator, Tap into Your Passion.

I call this passion the “juice” and it’s natural to communicate with juice when we’re talking about something we love – getting engaged to be married, a pet hobby or project, a breakthrough in productivity, bringing a job in early and under budget. But sometimes in life and in business, the juice isn’t there and we feel like we’re just going through the motions. What can we do? Here are some approaches for tapping into your passion. Try them out and see what works best for you.

TIP: Discover Your Big Purpose.

It’s easy to be passionate when we’re fully invested in a purpose larger than ourselves. A big purpose engages and inspires us, whether it’s having a career that we love, providing for our family or solving climate change.

To assist you in clarifying your big purpose, look for a theme as you ask yourself, “What do I want to BE, DO and HAVE in each of these areas?”
Personal Life
Professional Life
Friends and Family
Organization
Community
Nation
Planet
Universe

Put your theme into words that inspire you, write it down and read it often. Abraham Lincoln would have written, under “Nation”, “Having the states united and everyone free!” Under “Professional Life,” Maurice Richard might have written, “Be Canada’s first hockey superstar!”
Your big purpose becomes your personal pipeline to passion and the context for all your communications and actions.

  • Remember a time when you were going through the motions. Feel the deadness.

  • Next re-play that experience AS IF you have a big purpose, such as “Being all that you can be!” Feel the vitality.

  • Now fan the flames and actually play your life full out, being all you can be.

  • To add rocket fuel to your passion, visualize your purpose as if it’s occurring right here, right now!

TIP: Visualize and Stand In Your Purpose – Right Here, Right Now.

Visualizing yourself standing inside your big purpose – right here, right now - makes it real and turns up the heat. I recommend making a vision poster or dream board of your big purpose. Paste pictures and words that mirror your big purpose on a board. This is a powerful creative process that combines passion, vision and action to program you for success.

When John F. Kennedy boldly affirmed that the United States would put a man on the moon within 6 years, his clear vision and white-hot passion kicked off powerful communications and actions that successfully launched human beings to the moon and back!

Remember the protagonist in “Slum Dog Millionaire?” He visualized winning and took bold actions, fueled by passion. This led him to communicate brilliantly, which changed the course of his history. Follow his lead and you can do it too.

TIP: Clarify Your Contribution to the Quality of Life.


Another way to tap into your passion is to ask yourself, “How does my communication contribute to the quality of life? Of my listeners’ lives?” Find the words that inspire and fully engage you and focus on them.
When I teach a class or coach a client, I intend to have my students leave with more than what they came for. I want to see, hear and feel them blossoming into better, more powerful communicators, leaders and teachers than I am. This takes the focus off me, opens up my creativity and floods me with passion.

Think of Sister Helen Prejean in “Dead Man Walking.” She did whatever was necessary to bring a state of inner peace to a murderer facing execution. As his life ebbed, she sat near him, holding his gaze, calming his spirit, communicating love and forgiveness.

Our communications may not be as lofty as Sister Prejean’s, but by fully engaging yourself in how they contribute to the quality of your listeners’ lives, you too can pipe into your authentic passion.

TIP: Prepare, Practice and Act AS IF You’re 10 Times More Passionate.

Whenever possible, prepare and practice your communication out loud. To access your passion, you may need to break out of your comfort zone by acting 10 times louder and more excited. This rehearsal technique is liberating and fun, gets your voice and body moving, your breath and energy flowing and your inner fire burning. It blasts you out of your caution, engages your whole personality, expands your self-expression and connects you to your passion. Try it with these exercises to express enthusiasm, confidence and sincerity:

  • I’m glad to be here!

  • I know what I’m talking about!

  • I care about what I’m saying!

When you have a presentation or important communication, practice being 10 times louder and more excited, until you feel freed up and on fire. Then put this rehearsal technique aside and be yourself. Notice the difference.

These are some approaches to connect you to your passion. What they all have in common is your full engagement – in your big purpose, your contribution to the quality of life and to being 10 times louder and more excited. Passion is the full-strength juice that drives powerful result-producing communication and bold action. When we combine a burning desire to contribute with the expectation of success, we become unstoppable. Whoever we are and whatever our title, we can change the course of history by harnessing the power of passion.

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