Welcome to Insights and Implications!
This month’s newsletter is about passion. How can such a positive feeling create unproductive noise in the human mind? Read on to find out.
Let’s Get Passionate
Recently, we worked with a leadership team brimming with passionate people. These people love their company (most have been there a decade or more), are experts in their fields, and are very dedicated to the people they serve. In other words, they are passionate.
The team was facing a business challenge that, if not remedied, could severely hurt the business. They needed insights and they needed them fast.
You’d think that a passionate team working on a difficult challenge would be smooth and easy. And it is… until it isn’t.
What is passion? According to Merriam Webster:
passion: intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction
Passion is a wonderful feeling. It is the natural flow of your creative energy from within. Like all human feeling, passion is born in the mind and created through thought. Simply put, in order to feel passion, you have to think passionate thoughts. It seems like passion would have very few shortcomings, but this emotion can become a detriment in human interaction when you forget where the feeling originates.
When you assign your passion to something other than thought in the moment, like getting what you want or needing to be heard, the “overmastering” or overpowering part of definition shows up, and you might start missing some of the conversation’s essential information or facts.
For example, let’s say you are passionate about a project, but at some point, your initial enthusiasm and energy shifts to impatience and frustration. It looks like the reason is a misstep, a delay, or something else about the project. Disappointment and/or disagreement surface and you find yourself off balance. You become less open, your listening falters, and you’re less creative and less capable of seeing viable options. Your energy drops.
Another example is when one or two (or more) passionate team members set out to solve a problem or create a plan. At first, energy and enthusiasm fuel the discussion. Creative juices flow. But often there is a subtle shift, which no one notices because everyone is passionately talking at once. The listening slacks off and the loudest, most assertive voices tend to rule.
What about the quiet person on the edge of the conversation. Might he/she have an idea worth considering? How would you know?
When you remember that your feelings and experiences come from inside, from your own thinking, you have a chance to wake up to the present moment. You will see that disappointment, impatience, frustration or over-the-top enthusiasm fill the space in your mind. This recognition makes it possible to return to clarity. Insight can begin to flow again, heralding the return of your creative and clear thinking and your passion.
Here’s what happened to the passionate team I mentioned. As they recognized how the thought-feeling design works, and with occasional coaching from the sidelines, they managed to avoid passion’s liabilities and kept the creative juices flowing. Lots of insights showed up and the future looks bright.
You are, at your core, a creative soul and passion springs from the life force within you. It’s a built-in gift and tool. Use it well.