Passion is sometimes a difficult thing to define. It’s even more difficult to find. And it’s very difficult to harness.
Passion comes from an intense emotional desire to create, change, cultivate, or protect something. It’s not an intellectual thing. It comes from your soul, or your very core being.
Passion is the emotional expression of a philosophy or conviction that you hold very deeply. If you are in a passionate relationship, you are sharing a deeply intimate emotional state of honesty, openness, and trust with someone.
You can be passionate about people. You can passionate about a cause. A belief. A philosophy. A way of life. Even a sports team. But certainly, you need to be passionate about your life work.
Or else you’re wasting your gift of life.
I want to talk specifically to the extremely passionate people out there. The ones who don’t know how to contain their excitement and energy about something on which they are working. The ones who can’t stop sharing their beliefs. The ones who KNOW they are here to share their message with as many people as they can find.
Some of you work in sales or marketing. You harness your passion to meet the needs of a company to sell or promote products and services to a market. Maybe your passion comes from understanding that this product, the belief system this product represents, is the best way to move your industry forward.
Maybe your passion lies in the idea of seeing your customers use products to change people’s lives. But you know that your passion is clipped and stunted by antiquated business processes and beliefs on what works in sales and marketing.
Maybe you’re passionate about connecting with as many people at a deeper level. Or maybe it’s about chasing that beautiful moment where you watch a stranger become a disciple – and buy in completely to your message. That’s an intoxicating feeling because you’ve just added value to both your cause and to this stranger.
Maybe you are looking for a better way to harness your passion in a way that creates tremendous value for others, while translating into a paycheck. Getting paid to share the message of the beliefs about which you are passionate…what a feeling that would be!
Picture yourself in a job where you get to use your passion to share the story behind why a product exists. Think about what it would be like to be paid to stand in front of people sharing at a deeply emotional level your beliefs and feelings about your product or message. Picture those moments where you change people’s lives because of what you have just shared with them.
If you’re smiling, read on.
Successful creative types – like musicians, actors/actresses, professional athletes, artists, chefs, designers…these are people who make a living by fulfilling their need to cultivate their skills about which they are passionate. They express themselves through their craft, and love every minute of it. They evangelize their beliefs through their craft.
Professional speakers, coaches, visionaries, and thought leaders do this every day. They live the dream of evangelism even though they don’t call it that.
But those of us in technical industries can be passionate about what we do too. Think about a salesperson you know who just seems to “believe” so deeply in what they do. Or a startup founder who – almost through nothing but sheer force of personality – made something beautiful come into existence. These are passionate people, and we romanticize their successes. They evangelize their story, and people either believe in them or not, but it’s their charisma and passion that gets people to want to learn more.
Some of them are intoxicating and you just want to be around them. I replay Steve Jobs’ product launches on YouTube occasionally just to experience his passion. John Maxwell, Anthony Robbins, Robin Williams…these are passionate people who have changed our lives through their messages of leadership, personal courage, and laughter.
I believe that there are more passionate people inside companies – small and large – that try to use their passion effectively to create more value for customers and the companies that employ them. There’s not really a role for them. They cram themselves into sales or marketing roles, or even executive roles, in an attempt to create the audience they need to share their vision and passion.
But this is changing. Companies are slowly catching on to a new way of selling their products. It’s not about the features and benefits of a product. It’s about the experience of the product, and the emotional connection we make with the person or people who evangelize the “Why” of the product.
Think about Apple. I love their products and technology, but ever since Steve Jobs left us in 2011, my connection with Apple has waned. Sure, they still make world-class products and lead the way in user experience in many ways, but there’s less of a connection.
Steve Jobs was the CEO of Apple, but I don’t think Executive is what that “E” really stood for.
I think he was the Chief Evangelist Officer.
He was the face, personality, and voice of Apple. He evangelized beauty in technology. He called it the “intersection of art and technology”. He was brilliant at cultivating products in a company, but he really was the final word in passionately evangelizing products – and a philosophy – to the rest of us. Steve created the perfect storm of marketing, technology, control, and enthusiasm to change the world.
His passion made us want to root for him – to cheer him on. I bought Apple products partly because they were beautiful, but also partly because I believed in the philosophy that Steve taught – that technology SHOULD be beautiful.
If you are passionate about your work, your company, your product…maybe you are a product evangelist trying to cram yourself into a job description that only partly matches your skills.
Product evangelism is about sharing your passion for product with the world. It’s about sharing the “Why”, not always the “What”. It’s helping others see the real beauty and value your product creates for society.
Sales creates purchases.
Marketing creates awareness.
But evangelism creates disciples.
Be passionate about what you work on. Evangelize your passion with your fellow employees, your vendors, and your customers. Evangelize to your mom, your friends, your neighbors and even your dog.
And if you are not passionate about your work, maybe you should consider finding your true passion in life. Because, quite frankly, doing anything else is a waste of time.
What are you passionate about? What will your message be? What is your vision? And are you sharing it with the world?