A few years back I was engaged in some Small Business consulting assignments coaching Entrepreneurs desiring to take their businesses to the Next Level.  I was introduced to a distressed Owner whose endeavors to grow his business had resulted in agonizing quality glitches and dreadful performance deficiencies.  More than counsel, he required “hands on” development and implementation of a reliable proficient Operational Structure and Process before he could advance with his exceptional Sales Strategy and apprehend the growth he envisioned.  We met several times to deliberate his anxieties.  Although the project was relatively un-daunting for me, as I provided “off the cuff” resolutions, he was apprehensive to “pull the trigger” and hire me for the assignment.  Just as I believed we were there, he requested another meeting.  As he set forth upon his familiar nervous

The Real Thing!

path asking about my methods, interactions, and approaches it became evident we were headed down the similar track as the preceding four meetings.  One thought reverberated inside my head, “What do I have to do to get this guy to let go of his fear and understand I am his solution.”

He initiated again, “John, if I engaged you for this project, how…?”  I did not even heed the remainder of his query.  Instead I shifted from my comfortable conversational position, released my smile, and pitched forward with both hands forcefully clinched together on his desk.  I stared right through him and with a deep concentrated adagio tone I began, “Paul, I know you are nervous about letting a stranger into your company to effect such an important change with your people.”  Capitulating, he dropped his shoulders but before his next word could escape his lips, the intensity and concentration of my face silenced him.  Resolutely, I leaned into his space, paused until he was craving my next words and then solemnly declared, “Paul, I am the ‘real f—ing thing’ here, and I know what I’m doing.”  Slightly startled, he gazed right back at me and scrutinized to see if I would break.  I stiffened, and finally heard those words I had been anticipating all month, “Can you start tomorrow?”  Permitting my smile to return and relaxing back, I let Paul know everything was going to be alright with a “You bet!” It wasn’t solutions but rather convictions that made the difference.

We have all endured those endless meetings where everything is adeptly laid out.  The dialogue is smart and on target.  Relevant questions are countered with thoughtful ripostes.  Some great concepts surface and everyone approves they move forward.  The brilliance, logic, and impenetrability of the proposal make it destined for success.  And yet, as the group exoduses the room the strategy begins its passage into the abyss of “lost ideas” where it will meet a sluggish obscure demise.  Regardless of the time, thought, and coordination that went into the plan, it is destined to Die.  Why?  Because an idea, a plan, a program, no matter how dazzling, has no life.  By themselves they are DOA!

People will follow Leaders only because of the Passion they bring to their ideas.  They may reason an idea to be successful, but if you want people inspired to action, they must “believe” in your idea.  And they must believe you believe in it.  Passion when applied to an idea or plan creates an intrinsic feeling among people which confirms they are working for something of value.  With Passion comes truth.  And contained within the fulfillment of the Human Endeavor is an essential yearning to see truth become a reality in our lives.  Passion is Life!

Passion is a combination of a penetratingly deeply felt Emotion, relentlessly driven by an unwavering Commitment, which is forge-burned into one’s psyche through Intensity.  Passion is the sine qua non with which we invest our intimate personal human capital in a truthfully remarkable idea.  Passion dives deeper than identifying the activities we enjoy.  Passion defines us, who we are and what we stand for.  When Passion is connected with an extraordinary Thought people are compelled into Action.

Leading Compelling Action

There is a story telling of three bricklayers working side-by-side who are each asked what they are doing.  The first replies, “I’m making $10.00 an hour”.  The second acknowledges his work with. “I’m building a wall”.  And the third looks up to an empty sky and smiles, “I am building a Cathedral”.  While each man is performing the same task, we can certainly conjecture which one is performing at his finest.  Only one worker has a Passion for his effort.  This is the Key for Leaders:  Passion creates a reality where people are willing to invest in an entity greater than themselves and more meaningful than any company.  People working for Passionate Causes, are determined to create extraordinary results because their motive is grand.  Passionate pursuits undermine the limitations of personal inabilities and the smallness of selfishness crafting an atmosphere where anything is possible.  The best of people will want to reside and thrive in a Passionate environment.

Having a Passion for your ideas does not mean for each newfangled idea you cultivate a new Passion.  Leaders who attempt to “sell” new Passions are rapidly indicted with a

Get Naked, Get Real, Get Happy by Kevin Rafferty

“flavor of the month” manipulation which quickly disenfranchises everyone but the most gullible of “suck ups”.  A new mentor of mine, Kevin Rafferty, coaches executives in finding their Passions.  In his book,Get Naked, Get Real, Get Happy: Becoming Your Authentic Self”,Kevin helps Leaders recognize and understand their “Core Passion” through his Passion Exercise.  Kevin relates our Core Passion as the one whose common theme or thread runs through our other Passions.

Passion connects our thinking and feeling parts of being human. It makes us feel bigger, better, bolder, more alive.

Kevin Rafferty

As a Leader you must exhibit Passion for what you unreservedly believe in.  The Passion for the primary singular objective which is at the Core of why you are doing what you are doing must be evident to all.  Your passion must come through as an outstanding quality which you exemplify every day in which people feel they know who you are down to the Core and why they want to be associated with you.

Are we not, those of us who observe others whose passions are worn on their sleeves, in awe of them, maybe even a bit envious because they somehow seem to be more of something, be it successful, creative, happy, or joyful?

Kevin Rafferty

I can think of little else which would compete with Passion in its ability for contagiousness.  People gravitate towards it, they rise to it, and they suck at it for life.  Passion is a universal.  It generates an urge which exceeds logic and creates a sense of action.  A team driven with a common passion becomes a mighty force to compete with. A Leader who can find Motivated People, Build an A–Team with them and create a Passionate reason for them to accomplish goals will continually reach new heights of Success.

Whether your Core Passion is Quality, People, Relationships, Excellent Design, Profitability, etc., guarantee you understand your internal driver completely.  Then focus on entwining it throughout your agenda and everyday expectations.  Be the walking, talking, living, breathing epitome of your Passion.  My Core Passion is “Winning”.  I hate to lose and truly detest second place.  I want anyone with me to feel my beating driving desire to Win!  Winning means we have bravely competed against formidable odds by wielding the “best of ourselves” and attained a “perfect moment” christened Victory.  Be a Street Smart Leader and next time you have to lean across the table to show someone who you really are and what you’re made of, just unleash some of your personal brand of Passion. Show them that you are the Real Thing!