“We will all eventually die. The real tragedy is failing to fully live. Too many people are having ‘near-life experiences’.”

  • “How many people work for your company?” “Oh, about half.”
  • “I think you’re confusing me with someone who cares.”
  • “The most dangerous place in this organization is at the exit door around quitting time. You’ll get trampled.”
  • “Working is like a nightmare. I’d like to get out of it, but I need the sleep.”
  • “I used up all my sick days, so I phoned in dead.”
  • “I’ve developed a new philosophy, I only dread one day at a time.”
  • “I feel better now that I’ve given up all hope.”

These examples of “Victim Speak” are typical of the widespread apathy and cynicism throughout society today. Passionate people who take responsibility for their choices don’t talk like this. Family, community, team, and organizational leaders who make a difference don’t consistently feel this way. We all make occasional trips to “Pity City” or have our “doubt days.” But highly effective people — leaders — have a passion for life and deep commitment to their work or cause (often the same thing).

Passion is love. It is pumped from our heart. It is the life energy that circulates through our lives. Love is the strongest human emotion and spirit that most deeply touches and moves us. Our passion — or lack of it — for what we do tells us if we’re in the right place. To be passionate about our work, it needs to be moving us ever closer to expressing who we truly are. The more closely who we are is aligned with what we do, the deeper is our passion and commitment. When we love what we do, we never have to work again. We need to do more than just get a job, we need to get a life.

We can’t impassion others about life or their work if we don’t feel passionate about ours. Leadership charisma and energy flow directly from our personal passion and commitment. These determine how others respond to our influence and leadership efforts.

The depth of our commitment determines the length of our persistence in overcoming resistance. The deeper our commitment, the deeper the reservoir of self-discipline and willpower we have to draw from.