Passion is the genesis of genius
– Tony Robbins
Show me a great product (or service) and I will show you the passionate people behind that endeavour!
So what exactly is passion? Quite simply, passion is that invisible energy that drives people to go beyond what an average Joe can do. Among its many dimensions, here are the 5 most important:
- Ownership: Passionate people don’t wait to be given formal ownership and responsibility – they assume responsibility and work towards doing the right thing. If something that needs to get done is not getting done, they are the first ones to roll up the sleeves and get it done – no matter how unpopular or unpleasant that task is! Passionate people are informally seen as the “go to” people in an organization even if they don’t have a suitable title.
- Motivation & Drive: Passionate people don’t need to be told what they need to do and how they need to do it. They are self-driven and they drive themselves (and others) to do whatever it takes to get the job done. These are usually the people that don’t suffer from monday morning blues!
- Second level thinking: First level thinking is the simplistic and superficial thinking/analysis where you are looking at the obvious – one is barely scratching the surface. Second/higher level thinking is when you are start peeling the onion layers – you evaluate the range of possible outcomes, probabilities and start considering countermeasures as needed. Passionate people think and see beyond the obvious – always 2 steps beyond/deeper what most people can think or see. Attention to detail is one of the manifestations of higher level thinking – more on that topic here.
- Persistence & Grit: In corporate there are plenty of obstacles – budgets, timelines, conflicting priorities, group fiefdoms & politics, incompetencies etc. Most people get caught up in the obstacle waterloo and cannot go beyond. Passionate people are usually able to power through these hurdles and accomplish what they set out for – all they see is the goal and not the obstacles in their way. In the early days of Tesla, Elon Musk had to fund Tesla with his personal finances and he was close to being bankrupt – he just kept going!
- Pride: Passionate people see their work as a reflection of themselves and their capabilities and they will go to extreme lengths to make sure that what they put out is something that they can be proud of.
I have a designer JS on my team who was about to have his second child around the same time we were making some crucial choices on our product’s redesign – color palette and other visual design directions. Rather than leave these crucial decisions to his temporary replacement, JS took his laptop to the hospital and was cranking out designs from the delivery room (probably to his wife’s chagrin)! Our product was also his baby and he just couldn’t let somebody else dictate his baby’s visual design – that’s pride!!
Want to see what passion looks like? See Elon Musk (founder of Tesla & SpaceX) in this 2 min video – he actually cries listening to the critique from the very people he admires & worships!
Being passionate is one step short of being crazy – and people like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, Travis Kalanick & Steve Jobs personify that!