I’ve written many times: passion is overrated. Of course I am pushing the envelop with this. Passion is the fuel. How can anybody question it? But there is a myth around it. Many people in organizations think that injecting passion is the answer to almost everything. It’s not. Success is hard work. Passion is either an input, in which case, an incredibly welcome input to hard work, or an output, what happens after success kicks in. The latter is not well understood, even rejected when understood. But, yes, many people become passionate after repeated success, not before.
Hard work! No substitute for this. As leaders, let’s not kid ourselves and others. Virtuosos are because of many hours of practice, and because they compete with other virtuosos, who have … many hours of practices. Business virtuosos are the same. And those hours are a mix of success and failure, of continuous recalibration.
Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer at Facebook, put it this way at a Commencement speech at the University of California at Berkeley: “When the challenges come, I hope you remember that anchored deep within you is the ability to learn and grow. You are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. Like a muscle, you can build it up, draw on it when you need it. In that process you will figure out who you really are, and you just might become the very best version of yourself.”
Translation: go to the Gym of Hard Work to build resilience. Otherwise, you are kidding yourself.
I have zero masochist genes in me, but I do know that unless it feels ( a bit) difficult it’s not good enough. Forgive me the pinch of personalization. Some followers of my large Daily Thoughts community think that this daily commitment must be easy for me, precisely because it shows daily. Well, actually, it’s hard work. It’s my daily gym. And each piece must pass a subtle, yet personal, non transferable, acid test: is this worth saying? Will this make us think? I am using the collective, not very royal ‘we’ to include all of us in the business of creating remarkable organizations.
Oh, I forgot, I am really, really passionate about it. And I hope it shows.