Posts tagged passion
pushing the upper limit

I don't believe that motivation or passion is finite. I do not believe either commodity is like a gallon of milk and that one morning you have none left for your Lucky Charms cereal (not that I have had that experience or anything).

I think we burn out, or perhaps a better way to describe it is to say, we need to recharge. We need to recharge, regularly. Far more than we actually do. But our capabilities for motivation and passion are far from finite. They are only deepened by our ability to push the limit. Growth comes from extending ourselves until we think we can no longer extend. To push our motivation and our passion beyond where we thought our breaking point was. Every day our bodies must rest and perhaps every so often our motivation and passion must also bed down for the night. We must rest in order to perform at our highest capability.

But here's the thing that gets to me - as a leader - how does one know when too much is truly too much? How do we push the upper limit of motivation and passion, then encourage rest without stepping on or stifling growth in others and ourselves? Where is the line? How do we prompt those around us to recognize the capability and progress further and stronger, but maintain themselves - to not lose every bit of who we are without saving just a bit for ourselves?


Salt vs. Fire

I've had quite literally thousands of conversations about passion. And yet very few about desire. And in my recent reading, I ran across this thought by Thomas Keller - American Restaurateur.

"It’s not about passion. Passion is something that we tend to overemphasize, that we certainly place too much importance on. Passion ebbs and flows. To me, it’s about desire. If you have constant, unwavering desire to be a cook, then you’ll be a great cook. If it’s only about passion, sometimes you’ll be good and sometimes you won’t. You’ve got to come in every day with a strong desire. With passion, if you see the first asparagus of the springtime and you become passionate about it, so much the better, but three weeks later, when you’ve seen that asparagus every day now, passions have subsided. What’s going to make you treat the asparagus the same? It’s the desire."

Thomas Keller on Passion

And it got me to thinking. We often equate passion and desire as the same thing, but they are clearly not. Perhaps they are of the same lineage. Yet it seems desire is the fire that boils the stew, while passion is simply the salt (just to continue with the kitchen metaphors) that offers valuable flavor.

I think the overriding question - for life, be it personal or professional, is how much are you putting forward and what's the balance? How hot is the fire and how salty is the stew?

Excess of either can destroy something that started out with merit, but only one can feed your soul (hint: it's not the salt).