“What you wish to ignite in others must first burn within yourself.”
-Aurelius Augustinus, early Christian theologian
In his book To Sell is Human, Daniel Pink points out that one in every nine people in the working world is in sales.
Initially this thought lures the reader into thinking, That’s not such a big number, or I can’t stand those pushy sales people, or I’m glad I don’t have to do that!
A few sentences later, however, Pink points out that the rest of us are also in sales. We all must sell our thoughts and ideas at work and at home, even if we are not selling a product or service.
In all cases, the ability to influence and enroll others is fundamental to our success. Today’s quote points to the importance of and, in my opinion, the essential element of genuine enthusiasm as a key factor in igniting the flames of excitement in others.
What are the issues, priorities, projects, or even products that get your fires burning? How and where can you share your excitement and passion to ignite the flames of excitement and interest in others?
“The slogans ‘hang on’ and ‘press on’ have solved and will continue to solve the problems of humanity.”
—Ogwo David Emenike, Nigerian Author and Speaker
Image from Unsplash by Justin Luebke
Are you familiar with the word grit? There has been a media frenzy over this buzzword, which some claim as the key to success.
Believers in this concept suggest that if one is to reach the highest levels of success, talent must be combined with hard work, determination, and perseverance.
Angela Duckworth, author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, emphasizes the importance of passion. She stresses that without passion, dogged determination, and tenacity, hard work simply becomes drudgery without direction.
In what way does your passion fuel personal or professional projects, giving you the energy and desire to “hang on” or “press on”?
“It’s a beautiful thing when a career and passion come together.”
Image from Flickr by Chris Parfitt
Watching young children at play is a joyful activity. If you happen to be a parent, the joy is magnified even more. The exuberance and passion these little ones show as they engage their world is truly a thing of beauty. Some would even say that play is their job.
Now take the average working man or woman – including yourself if you wish – and examine the level of passion and fulfillment they show as they head off to work on Monday morning. Few people would call their facial expressions “a thing of beauty.”
What happened between our time as little ones and our adult years?
How and in what ways can you regain the playful and passionate exuberance of your youth, to make your current career or career transition a reason to look forward to many more beautiful Mondays?
“Light yourself on fire with passion and people will come from miles to watch you burn.”
Image from abetterinterview.com
Years ago, I attended a local meeting of coaches, where the majority of people did not know one another. As an ice breaker, the group decided to engage in an exercise we called a “passion presentation.” The rules were simple: each person had two to three minutes to share any area of their lives that literally lit them up. The fellow coaches could then ask questions in order to learn more.
The result was a room on fire! No one could contain their passion to the few minutes allotted, and we eventually threw the time constraint out the window. The exercise continued for most of the meeting.
Whenever you see the need to break the ice in your personal or professional world, just ask people what they are passionate about, and watch their fires burn. Sharing your passions with others will likely excite those around you, as well.
“By doing what you love you inspire and awaken the hearts of others.”
—Satsuki Shibuya, painter, artist, spiritual teacher
Photo from Flickr by Chattgd
Most coaches I know have their own coaches, supporting them on their professional and personal journeys. They consider striving for their own definition of success and fulfillment of great value and importance.
This behavior is one of the most important characteristics that attract clients to a particular coach. People see that their potential coach walks the talk and has made considerable progress in their own life journey. This makes them credible as a supportive partner in helping clients realize their goals.
Who do you know that truly loves what they do, and awakens your heart to pursue your own passions and purposes? How can you do more of what inspires you, to have the same influence on those around you?
“You can do anything if you have enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is the yeast that makes your hope rise to the stars.”
—Henry Ford, American Industrialist
Photo from Flickr by Soren
When I was in my late teens, I worked at the Country Club bakery/restaurant in Philadelphia. My first job was to wash pots and pans in the bakery. It wasn’t such a bad gig, since I got to eat a lot of sweet treats and good food from the restaurant.
I’ve always been motivated and driven, so it didn’t take me long to realize that being a baker was the “cool” job. With that realization, washing the soiled pots and pans was not in my cards for long.
I made a deal with the bakers. If I could complete my dish washing duties quickly and completely, they would teach me how to bake.
The good news is that it worked, and one of my first duties as a baker’s apprentice was to make what we called water bagels. This meant putting the yeast-filled dough rings into a vat of boiling water to create the rapid rise that makes bagels so tasty and popular.
Summon your intense eagerness for an important task or job today. Allow this heated enthusiasm to help you achieve new heights in either your professional or personal worlds.
“Be enthusiastic as a leader. You can’t light a fire with a wet match.”
Take a moment to generate a list of great leaders you have seen and been inspired by over the course of your life.
Fundamental to all of these individuals is the passion of their beliefs and convictions – the enthusiasm that helps them ignite the flames within themselves and those they lead.
Give yourself a rating from 1 (a wet match) to 10 (a blazing bonfire of passion) for both your professional and personal worlds.
What can you do today to find the fuel that sparks your passions and enthusiastically brightens up your world, and that of others?
“Striving for success without hard work is like trying to harvest where you haven’t planted.”
– David Bly, American politician and member of the House of Representatives
The world is filled with “get rich quick” schemes, like the miracle diet that will let you lose weight effortlessly, and many other supposedly low-effort, high-result strategies. The problem with just about all of them is that they simply do not work.
I really like the word “striving.” It causes me to think of pursuing a noble and passionate cause when I’m “all in” and won’t stop until the goal is reached.
For me, though, it is not simply the goal that is the source of this striving. My passion, inspiration, and fundamental purpose for being mobilized into action are also essential.
What are the important goals and hoped-for harvests in your professional and personal life that inspire you to strive and do the hard and challenging work required of you today?
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
—Howard Thurman, 20th Century African-American author, educator, and civil rights leader.
Image from Unsplash by Jakob Owens
I support a strength-based approach to work performance and life in general.
The work of many individuals, including Marcus Buckingham, has established that the average person works in their area of strength perhaps only 20 – 25% of the time. However, some of the most satisfied and highly-successful people work in their areas of strength and unique abilities 40 – 50% of the time.
How could you design your life and career to shoot for spending 60%, 70% or 80% of your time in your areas of strength?
If you did this, how alive would you be and what difference would you make in your life and the lives of those around you?
– Ralph Waldo Emerson
We’re wired to doing what other people expect of us. We learn (from parents, teachers, and other influencers) that we should try to fit in and not stand out.
Yet many of us regret that we did not follow our own muse, passions and visions.
- What inspires me?
- What am I passionate about?
- Where do I lose all my sense of time?
- Where and when am I the happiest?
- What are my unique abilities and talents?
How will you find the courage to chart your own life journey? Where will you go and what will you do?
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