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Driven By Passion

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On Instagram the other day, my friend @samueldueth shared this post:

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This really struck a cord with me. I think this short statement is profoundly true. It is always easier to do the bare minimum. It is easier to continue to do things the way that we have always done them, not rock the boat and continue to remain in our comfort zone. At first glance, this may not even be a bad thing. After all, most of us do the things we are doing and have done for a long time because they are good things. The problem is that good can be the enemy of great.

This got me thinking. What causes somebody to move from good to great? What fuels somebody enough to allow themselves to choose the more difficult path, embrace something new, and ultimately embrace the self inconvenience that comes with change? My first thought was vision. After all, vision is about the destination. It is the road map to accomplishing whatever it is that one is striving after. It is the action plan to the dream. In reflecting more about it though, I wonder is vision by itself enough? After all, it is easy to say that you believe in a vision, it is easy to have a dream, but what fuels the vision on day to day basis? What causes somebody to embrace the discomfort of inconvenience, day in and day out when nobody else is looking? I propose that vision by itself is not enough; instead, it is about passion for the vision. If vision is the vehicle to accomplish something great, passion is the fuel that drives the car. Often vision can ignite passion; however, passion is something that needs to be stewarded in one’s life if it is to be sustained.

The other day I listened to a great talk from Dennis Varty called Empowered By Passion where he shared a number of great thoughts that challenged me (see below). I was again inspired to continue to strive to be a person who lives with passion because at the end of the day I want my life and my time to count for something bigger than myself. In short, I want to have as great of impact as I possibly can. The truth is, working in education is an incredible honour to do just that. We spend a lot of time at work. Why not maximize our impact within the time we already dedicate by allowing ourselves to be inconvenienced and doing something differently? I think this is impossible without passion; if nothing else, it is certainly easier with passion. I for one will continue to strive to develop the qualities of a passionate person in my life.

Qualities of Passionate People

  • Passionate people go above and beyond expectation.
  • Passionate people are not concerned with what others think.
  • Passionate people find ways to overcome obstacles. They don’t take “no” or “you can’t” for an answer. When they hear this response they instead ask, “ok, if we can’t do it that way, how can we do it?” They are solution oriented people.
  • Passionate people are extravagant with the cause. They strive for excellence in everything they do and don’t settle for mediocrity.
  • Passionate people lead with their heart. The head can stop the heart if the head can’t see a way. The heart operates from a belief that it is possible and doesn’t get discouraged when the head encounters obstacles. The heart helps the head find a way.
  • Passionate people are selfless. They sacrifice without complaint; although to them, it doesn’t even feel like sacrifice.
  • Passionate people have an intensity and energy about their lives day in and day out. They see the big picture and don’t get distracted.
  • Passionate people don’t think in terms of boundaries . Passionate people are all about results and impact.
  • Passionate people are committed regardless of circumstances. They remain steadfast when things are going well and when things are not going well.
  • Passionate people recognize that passion is not a personality trait. It is something to be cultivated in oneself.
  • Passionate people dream. They exercise their imagination on a daily basis in alignment with the vision.

Don’t get me wrong. I don’t think passion alone is enough. It is not passion by itself. It is passion for the vision. One would hope the vision is a worthy vision. Often passion can be misguided. Passion can be all about me and my success. It can actually be fuel for selfishness. That is why it is important to align your passion with the appropriate vision. For educators, part of our vision for our life should be about doing what is best for kids. This should not be a chore. This should be a passion.

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2 Comments

  1. Amber Mrak says:

    Hi Travis!
    I just wanted to say a quick thank you for this post.
    My AP (@klr16), shared this with a few of us as we move forward with a project, Awakening Passions. It is a project for the next school year dedicated to students exploring passions and gaining a stronger sense of self.
    Last week we had some planning time and one of our coaches, Dan (@DMcWilliam), talked about the importance of staying away from the “Yeah, but”…. “yeah but, they have more funding” or “yeah but that school has WAY more community support”…as these focus on the road blocks, not the possibilities. I have since made up a rule that we aren’t allowed to say “yeah, but…” instead, we can start off by saying “imagine if…”. Reading one of the qualities above, “Passionate people have an intensity and energy about their lives day in and day out. They see the big picture and don’t get distracted” made me think of this conversation and the importance to avoid the “yeah but” in education, it is simply a distraction from the endless possibilities.
    I look forward to sharing the Qualities of Passionate People with my class.
    Thank you for making me reflect on my own passions as well as teaching practice!
    Smiles,
    Amber Mrak
    @AmberMrak

    • Thanks Amber for taking the time to share your thoughts. The work that you are doing next year in your school sounds exciting. I agree with you completely, the “yea buts” can be a big distraction to seeing great things accomplished. I like your “imagine if…” statement. Language is powerful. Deliberately changing the language that we use can change the way we think. Big culture shift!

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