One of the first things that strikes you when you meet today’s writer is her passion for what she does. As with our previous blogger, I have just met Rebecca Wrightson this year for the first time. She’s an HR Consultant and the rarity among this year’s bloggers – she isn’t on Twitter! However, you will find Rebecca via her website Sidecar HR.
I consider myself fortunate to spend my time working (and playing) with a wide variety of organisations, leaders, teams, products, visions, values and personalities. I also come across a large number people who are passionate about their brand, their products or services, their workplace and their colleagues.
Passionate people inspire me, energise me and make me happy when I spend time with them.
Over the years but more often recently, I have learnt about how important those people with passion are to a workplace, and to the people they ‘touch’. They’re the ones we seek out to help us make change happen, (re)build morale, or simply to get a good dose of their positivity to help keep us sane. They’re often the first ones to put up their hands to learn new things and/or to apply those newly learnt things to real-life situations.
So I wanted to take this opportunity to celebrate passionate people… and to encourage you to celebrate them too, in all their fabulous, positive and (sometimes annoying) never-say-die-glory. Let’s say thanks to them for reminding us how great life at work can be.
You’ll know when you’re engaging with a passionate person because they’re very animated, their eyes light up, they often gesticulate enthusiastically and they find it hard to sit still when in full-flight. The intensity of their energy gives me goosebumps. Sometimes however, they’re self-conscious of their passionate ways and these actions become stifled, probably due to some well-intentioned coaching once given to remain cool, calm and rational in the workplace – most probably by someone who fears the passionate person and all of the management ‘challenges’ they bring. Or it could be that they’re just very self-aware and just don’t want to come across as too ‘full-on’ and excitable. In these instances I observe a fair amount of strained nodding and smiling, hands planted firmly under legs, and eyes shining brightly giving away the passion trying to escape.
Passionate people are the ones who drive innovation by overcoming sometimes seemingly insurmountable organisational hurdles, stick to their guns and deliver ‘the goods’ in a way that someone with minimal passion would have given up on a long time before. In fact, a young woman I have worked with this year springs to mind as a shining light of passion, innovation and tenacity. She embodies everything I love about being passionate at work and is described perfectly in this quote from Steve Jobs: “You have to have a lot of passion for what you are doing because it is so hard, any rational person would give up”. As for being rational, this young woman would be the first to admit she is anything but, and is awesome for it.
I’ve also recently had the honour of beginning a working relationship with another passionate person with shining eyes and a seemingly endless supply of positivity (nicely balanced with just enough dry humour). She is an HR professional with a heap of potential who’s passion for the value HR can bring to our colleagues lives’ has given me renewed confidence in the future of this profession that I love so much. The care she takes with her life at work, her colleagues and her performance as an HR practitioner is built on a passion for making a real difference and doing a great job.
I believe its important not to make this all about personality types or profiles. What I’m describing in this context is that being passionate is just about bringing good positive energy to your conversations and standing up for what you believe. Richard Branson says “Life’s too short, if you’re passionate – stand up”, and I wholeheartedly concur.
Unfortunately a lot of HR people spend a fair chunk of their time, myself included, dealing with the people who have misplaced their passion and replaced it with a touch of cynicism and/or ‘been there too long-ism”. I truly believe those people will once again find their passion and bring it back to their life. Maybe by shaking it up, or shaking it off (to quote a pop-star who shall remain nameless) they can once again be the change they want to see. I just wish to the HR Gods that they would find it sooner (and possibly somewhere else :-).
While I do love a passionate person, I do understand that it can be exhausting dealing with their never-ending stream of ideas, suggestions and constant positivity – but imagine how much harder things would be to change in the workplace if it wasn’t for them! You may roll your eyes when you think about the last passionate person who came into your office and gave you their 35th great idea for the week – but compare that to a conversation with a “problem-presenter” and how tiresome it can be trying to drag solutions and an ounce of positivity out of those people.
My call to action is for us all to thank the passionate people in our lives for ‘standing up’ and to recognise how great they are at sharing their creative solutions, contributing their positive vibes, keeping the faith and fighting the good fights. To that end, I’d like to say THANK YOU to the passionate peeps that I have had the pleasure of crossing paths with this year. Your passion has inspired and energised me.
I do hope that you’ve enjoyed reading these observations of mine. I also hope that you are encouraged to re-engage with your own passionate side, celebrate your passionate colleagues, shrug off those cynical energy-suckers and maybe even re-ignite a bit of passion in your workplaces this Christmas!