The Real Definition of Passion and Why It's Important

Leadership Personal Development

You’ve probably heard that a secret to success in business and life is to have passion. To this day, I have people asking me “Braden, do you have a passion for marketing?” or saying “You must have a passion for what you’re doing.” In those moments I would agree with them. “Absolutely, I have a passion for what I do.”

Although I agree that passion is a necessity for success it’s only now, decades later, that I understand what passion truly means and it’s not for the reason that most people think.

When you hear passion used in today’s context it typically means a strong and barely controllable emotion for something or someone. An intense emotional state or a love for something. If you find something that provides you with this feeling of passion, that would be amazing, and you’d live a life of bliss working at it every day. But that’s actually not true. Emotions fluctuate with circumstances, moods, context, etc. It’s never wise to base decisions on emotions alone.

Leaders and people with a desire to be successful in life and business need to understand what passion is. The word passion is actually derived from the Latin word passionem which means suffering and enduring. This is why Jesus’ crucifixion is referred to as the Passion.

When used in the context of today, having passion means what, who and why are you willing to suffer for?

Is that job or new business worth going through the long hours and potential rejection? Is this relationship and person worth sacrificing for? Is this cause worth enduring hardship or tough times?

True passion requires that you first understand the deeper purpose and value. Do you really know why you’re doing this or in this relationship? This purpose needs to transcend selfish motives, or you won’t be willing to endure when times are tough. I’ve seen many people quit too early or change jobs quickly or end a relationship because it was too tough for them. They weren’t getting the emotional or physical benefit they desired. They didn’t have true passion for it or lost sight of it. This is why it’s imperative for leaders to both believe in and communicate the deeper purpose and value of what they’re doing and why. This communication on purpose and value needs constant reinforcement and should be baked into the internal communication. Even better is when this focus can be extended to your organization’s brand to help customers and consumers understand the deeper purpose which leads to stronger brand loyalty and affinity.

When people ask me “Braden, do you have a passion for marketing?” I now think about why I’m doing this. I believe marketing brings vision and new life to companies. It enables business to flourish which helps owners and their employees have jobs and be able to grow in their careers. A thriving business for myself enables me to make more, give more, and impact more people. Even great brand strategies can reignite and redefine the passion for leaders and their teams which has far reaching benefits internally as well as externally to customers and consumers. For me, the purpose is worth the stress, people problems, cash flow issues, difficult clients, travel and long hours.

Remember, anything lasting and worthwhile in life takes effort, sacrifice, commitment, and perseverance. That’s true passion and I hope you’ve found it.