Aligning Purpose with Passion
As mention in my last blog alignment brings about the experience. Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi refers to as ‘flow’ . In those moments, you’re so caught up in an activity that time somehow seems to be altered, you’re attention is fully focused without you’re having to work at it. You’re deeply aware, with out being self conscious, you’re stretched and challenged, but without a sense of stress or worry. When this happens something happens in our spirit as we connect with a reality beyond ourselves. This type of activity is conceptualised as a consequence of ‘passion’
Not all activities are as fulfilling and in flow, only those activities that are deemed or perceived as particularly important, enjoyable and develops into a self defining activity. These activities become passionate activities. These activities are defined important enough to invest significant time and energy. Meaningful and resonant with how leaders see themselves, creating a special bond between the ‘self’ and the activity. This activity becomes the passion for the leader. It has to be meaningful and a part of the leaders identity for it to be a passion, for example, passion becomes a part of ‘who’ they are, a part of their life, even becoming integral in conversations with friends and family.
Passionate leaders engage in the pursuit of this achievement on a regular basis, not occasionally! There has been alot of philosophical thinking around passion. One contribution is its duality.
A Daily Dose of Passion
Passion can be good for you, for example when leaders freely engage in the activity without any contingencies attached, accepting that the activity is a part of them and who they are. This is called Harmonious passion. Harmonious passion produces a motivational force to engage in the activity willingly, with control and with a personal endorsement, openness and wellbeing. Research demonstrates regularly engaging in passionate activities provide recurrent doses of happiness.
In contrast a passion, where leaders are engaged in the activity because of intra or inter personal pressures, attach to the activity the desire for social acceptance or they develop a sense of uncontrollable excitement when engaged in the activity, an example; a gambling addiction.
Here the leader is not completely in control of the activity since it is not considered properly integrated into the leaders identity, this results in an uncontrollable urge to engage in the activity. Here passion controls the leader and is associated with higher levels of burnout we call this Obsessive passion.
Entrepreneurs, business owners and leaders that have harmonious passion tend to be more persistent, have higher levels of enthusiasm and experience a decrease in family versus work conflict and experience high levels of work satisfaction. This determined persistence or passion ensures success, prevents drifting in life and creates confidence in others, as everyone believes in a determined leader, they believe in what the leader sets out to do. They believe in a leader who keeps his compass pointing to his Northern star. This persistent of purpose is the staying power that is necessary to be successful.
Here is a really good example of determined persistence or harmonious passion:
J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, is currently the second-richest female entertainer on the planet, behind Oprah. However, when Rowling wrote the first Harry Potter book in 1995, it was rejected by twelve different publishers. Even Bloomsbury, the small publishing house that finally purchased Rowling’s manuscript, told the author to “get a day job.”
At the time when Rowling was writing the original Harry Potter book, her life was a self-described mess. She was going through a divorce and living in a tiny flat with her daughter. Rowling was surviving on government subsidies, and her mother had just passed away from multiple sclerosis. J.K. turned these negatives into a positive by devoting most of her free time to the Harry Potter series. She also drew from her bad personal experiences when writing. The result is a brand name currently worth nearly $15 billion.
Her opportunity finally came when the editor at Bloomsbury Publishing company sat down to read the manuscript. And so did the editor’s 8 year-old daughter. The little girl loved the opening chapters, and begged to read the whole thing. This made the publisher agree to publish Rowling’s novel. We all need an opportunity, often from unexpected places and people. In JK Rowling situation the editors 8 year old daughter !
JK Rowlings probably felt she had nothing more to lose. What remained was to be true to the ‘self’ and to hold on to her core values and her belief that she was without any doubt a great author. Her insight and knowledge of those core values, belief and determined persistence created a self-awareness , a prerequisite for authenticity.
By simply becoming more self-aware authentic, leaders construct conditions which create high trust, where teams are supported to build on their strengths. By providing a more positive environment, authentic leaders improve the performance and productivity of their business and company over time. The more authentic leaders become, the more the business performance improves.
“You stand out in the crowd only because you have these many, people carrying you on their shoulders.”
This brings me onto the subject of my next blog ‘People’
If this makes sense to you book here and let’s talk !