What Every Passionate Person Needs

So it’s day two of the Orange Conference, and I can imagine your passion is running high.  But passion alone won’t win the day.  Passion needs something else: clarity.

Here’s a repost that might help us think through how to implement what we’re currently excited about.


Most leaders intuitively understand the importance of passion. Leading without it is painful and ultimately either impossible or futile.

Most followers look for a passionate leader.  Nobody really wants to follow a leader who doesn’t wholeheartedly believe in the cause. If you’re not motivated, how are you going to motivate others?

While many ingredients that go into creating passion, an often overlooked ingredient is clarity.  In fact, you might really only see its value when you imagine its absence.  Imagine trying to lead passionately about something you are unclear about – it’s totally a losing battle.  You just can’t get passionate about fog.

Clarity and passion are linked in so many ways.  Here are just a few areas where clarity and passion are game changers:

  • Sort through what you are trying to communicate until you can summarize it in a single sentence.  Then deliver the message with passion.
  • Decide what your organization stands for and write it down, succinctly and clearly. Live it out convincingly.
  • Think and pray through a complex problem until you get to the core of it, then tackle it with enthusiasm.
  • Plot your future and get a clear sense of God’s calling on your life and chase it down with single hearted devotion.

The best thing is that clarity is something you can work on.  It’s hard work, but so refreshing when you arrive at it.

Everyone has a different process for finding clarity.  Mine often looks like this:

  • I work alone on an issue without distraction, often at home (I work out of my home two days a week – it’s empty, the office is not).
  • I think about a problem in all kinds of settings – while ‘working’ and while not working.  I process things while on bike rides, while I’m at the gym, doing yard work, driving, even in down time.
  • I come up with an outline of a problem or a message I’m working on and usually take a stab at writing what we call a “bottom line” – a single sentence that encapsulates an issue or main point of a message.
  • I then walk my rough notes and draft bottom line into a meeting and we talk about it as a team.  Usually we’ll find angles and perspectives I never would have thought of.
  • I revise my outline and bottom line as a result of the team’s input.
  • I repeat the process until it clicks – until we reach an ‘aha’ moment.  When you find clarity you just know it. Don’t quit until you find it.

That’s me.  How about you?  How has clarity helped you find passion?  What do you do to help you arrive at clarity?

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