Passion is essential to our leadership, it is our ignition, it motivates us to press through difficulties to lay hold of the things for which we are passionate. Passion encourages us to press past obstacles and difficulties to achieve the thing important to us, and to God. In this episode of Calibrate Life, we talk about why passion is essential for life and leadership.
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Why Passion is Absolutely Essential to Leadership
Last week as we were recording episode 104, I got so out of sorts with the content that we had to stop 3 or 4 times and restart the recording. It’s because unless I am passionate about something, or find my passion point in something, I cannot do the thing with the kind of excellence I want to achieve.
Today, prior to recording, I was working on something that’s been on the plate for a couple of weeks now. I just could not make it work for today’s episode. I was frustrated because I have to have a passion for what we are doing or it just feels flat.
Passion is our ignition, it motivates us to press through difficulties to lay hold of the thing for which we are passionate. I’ve been writing about passion in my journal for a long time, we’ve referenced passion in our podcasts as a necessary spiritual leadership and life component. Passion is one of our big four in the Calibrate360 framework.
So, why is passion important and how do we ignite or re-ignite our passion?
First, Why is Passion Important?
Passion connects you and your team to the “Why.”
The reason I struggle when I haven’t found a passion point is that I internally struggle with the question, “Why does this matter?” Information for the sake of information isn’t motivating. Activity for the sake of activity feels meaningless.
How do you inspire your team, be they volunteers or paid? They have to find their passion in the bigger picture. Why are we doing what we are doing?
Passion pushes us beyond difficulties and into solutions.
I remember one Sunday morning over 30 years ago. I pastored a small church and it snowed about a foot on a Saturday night. A couple of the men of the church came early to help shovel the long walk. I remember being out there before anyone else came, in my suit and boots shoveling the heavy snow. This was not my calling. Shoveling snow was not my passion, but it had to be done. I was willing to shovel the snow because I was so passionate about the thing the snow was impeding and interfering with. I was not passionate about clearing the snow, but I was passionate about the bigger picture and what it took to execute that Sunday morning.
A passion will encourage us to press past obstacles and difficulties to achieve the thing important to us, and to God.
Passion inspires us to action.
How do we inspire ourself and a team? We inspire them toward their passion. Passion is contagious and when we are passionate about something it inspires others, and inspiration ignites us and motivates us to impassioned action.
When I am passionate about my work I am encouraged and motivated to do the best I can do,
Passion has to drive form, function, and strategy. To put a form, function, or program in place is not sufficient. Passion is a life-giving element necessary for proper motivation. It is the function and responsibility of a spiritual leader to serve those he or she leads by inspiring them into the discovery of and implementation of their God-given passions.
Personal transformation always precedes organizational transformation. Something must happen in us to resurrect a dead or forgotten passion before we can lead an organization forward.
Passion produces excellence and commitment.
When we assign tasks based upon the need for the task to be done without inspiring and connecting people’s passions to the bigger picture, we end up with a disinterested team who’s performance and commitment will demonstrate mediocrity.
When we recruit people to “watch the nursery” because we just want the bothersome task covered, we will forever have difficulty recruiting people to “watch the nursery.” When we connect people to their passion and we ourselves see the task as demonstrating the heart and humility of Christ to babies and families, then a passion can be inspired.
We are going to Africa, we have to engage a large team or it will not happen. The task sometimes seems nearly impossible. If we are not passionate enough about two things we will never get that budget raised. The first is building the Kingdom of God through the opportunities we have along the way to interact with people. We are passionate about sitting across the table from leaders and listening and encouraging them, and during this part of our mission journey, we get to do that! Second, I look at a map of Africa I have on the wall of our study/studio. I look at the circles and the lines I’ve drawn on the map, I think of the interactions with the team and the work we are already doing to affect the trajectory of this continent, and I am ignited, motivated to so something that in and of itself I am not excited about — raising funds.
Passion demonstrates our connection to the “why.”
Being a spiritual leader requires being able to step back and see and understand the “why” behind what we are doing. Enlisting and engaging people in the vision requires inspiring them to find their passion point in what they’ve agreed, or will agree to do.
Everything we do ought to connect to the “why,” the big picture. If it doesn’t, then we will not be able to inspire the team to step into the purposes of God for their lives.
See, this isn’t about the nursery you need “watched,” the cars you need parked, the jobs you need someone to bid, the sales person you need to sell, the assimilation program you need someone to manage, the accounting someone has to do, or the walk that you need shoveled. This is about communicating a passion to inspire others to embrace their part of the “why” with excellence and with their own passion.
If you “can’t get anyone to do anything,” then its because you aren’t connecting people to their passion. I’m sorry—and I KNOW its hard to solve, but that’s often the problem. It’s most likely because you, yourself, are not passionate enough about the “why” that you are able to inspire others to engage that “why.”
A leader, at any level, must be able to inspire others, and ARTICULATE that passion, and you can only do that if you are passionately inspired yourself.
Where Does Passion Come From? How Do We “Get” It?
So, if you or your team is struggling to find passion, where does passion come from? How do you get it? Passion is not so much something to be sought out as it is something to be recognized.
Passion is not so much something to be sought out as it is something to be recognized.
We often speak of the Calibrate360 path: Get in the Presence of God, a Passion will arise, a Path will emerge, and a Practice will result. When we listen to the heartbeat of God in the Presence of God we are inspired. To “inspire” is to breath into. The Spirit of God is often referred to in scripture as “breath” or “wind.” Inspiration is God’s “breathing” into us.
Our passions are ignited by the inspiration we receive in the Presence of God, from the Word of God, and in a community of believers. This inspiration is the difference between a “good idea” and a “God idea.” For ignition or motivation to take place something must inspire it. For a Christ-follower, that inspiration comes from our being in the Presence of God. God inspires us. He inspires the revelation that causes transformation.
When we’ve been inspired by a vision birthed in our spirits by the Spirit of God, our souls are motivated. Motivated to press through difficulties, motivated to find solutions and paths where none are apparent. It is akin to the treasure hidden in the field and the pearl of great price (Matthew 13).
As spiritual leaders we must take our inspiration from the Presence of God. Spiritual leadership is about leading people to the Presence of God that they too are inspired and their passions are ignited and engaged.
Calibration Tools… Calibrating Our Lives and Lifting Those We Love and Lead
- Can you verbalize your passion? If you are a leader, can you verbalize your passion to your team and why it ignites you?
- What makes you happy? What makes your heart sing? Write it down. Talk about it. Can you see how those passions connect you into your zone of effectiveness and influence?
- Do you know what ignites your team members? What motivates them? What excites them? How will you help them connect their passions into the “why” or the big picture of what you are doing together? Are they inspired through that connection? Do you tell them stories that keep them connected to their “why”?
- How will you continually encouraging the heart of your team? How will you help them see the connection between what they are doing, their passions, and how those things connect to the bigger picture? Action steps, please?
Sometimes we are not inspired enough for a passion to arise within us or our team. You can be a manager or a functional leader, but you cannot lead a team to fulfill a compelling vision unless you are passionate about the vision, and you can inspire a passion in them, preferably by helping them see themselves in God’s plan.
There are a lot of things that motivate people, but those motivators must be intrinsically tied to a passion for something before it moves them into a zone of excellence and fulfillment.
Listen to the heartbeat of God. Feel his heart. Be inspired to action. Translate that inspiration into an ignition that fires you from within. But it’s not just about you, as the leader being fired up, it is about building an inspirational network with every person finding fulfillment as they engage their passions.