THE ART AND BUSINESS OF SPEAKING

What Keeps You Going When the Passion Is Absent?

What Keeps You Going When the Passion Is Absent?

Purpose and passion––that’s how most people respond when you ask them why they got into this business.

I understand. Those were at the top of my list as well.

While your purpose may never falter, there is likely to come a point where your passion diminishes and maybe even vanishes.

Don’t tell me about the need to proactively protect your passion. I agree and I know that sometimes stuff happens.

It could be situational like my recent experience when travel challenges resulted in me sleeping in my car for two hours in the airport parking garage so I could get on the standby list for an early morning flight that would get me to my engagement with more time to spare. I’ve even felt it when I am burned out from a schedule that didn’t allow me to recharge my physical and emotional batteries. You can recover and bounce back from those drains to your passion reservoir.

There is also the loss of passion that comes from just doing the work for a long period of time. It’s similar to couples losing the excitement and lust of the early days in the midst of the hard work of sustaining a relationship while life happens all around you. The love is still there, but the passion has faded.

Perhaps you’ve experienced the early signs of losing your passion. The thrill of the road has become a grind. You hate airports, security lines, and hotel check-in lines that have more than one person ahead of you. The audiences and the presentations start to look and sound the same. You realize that your message isn’t as unique as you thought and you aren’t going to change the world. You wake up to go down stairs for the sound check and are hit with the reality that you don’t love––or even like––your message or your audience.

If you are lucky, you can take off and recharge. If you are really lucky, you can step away to find a new passion. But, what do you do if you can’t step away? What happens if you don’t have enough in your savings to chase another windmill? What if doing so creates hardship for your family? What do you do if you are booked next month, next week or even that day?

Regardless if your loss of passion is temporary or permanent, you can keep the marketplace from viewing you as stale, cynical or irrelevant. The key is to tap into your sense of pride.

Pride is what professionals draw upon when their audiences never have a clue that they are disengaged or tired of the grind. It ramps up the adrenalin to keep you engaged with your audience.

In my most recent travel debacle, pride meant sleeping in my car so I could get back to the airport in time to go standby on an earlier flight rather than two hours later on the one confirmed with a first class upgrade. Both would have theoretically put me in my destination with time to make the engagement. The earlier one provided an extra window of safety in case the previous night’s weather delays returned the following morning.

A positive sense of pride establishes and maintains a reputation for excellence. It honors the work and the process to create it. Pride doesn’t take shortcuts, and most important, it maintains high standards when passion has diminished.

You can’t ignore the impact of passion. You are fortunate if you maintain it for your entire career.

We should, however, pay more attention to pride. Pride speaks to character, and character is an excellent indicator of the quality and commitment of the work. At the end of the day, our clients pay for the quality and relevance of the work.

Randy Pennington

Randy Pennington

Randy Pennington, CSP, CPAE, is an award-winning author, speaker and leading authority on helping organizations achieve positive results in a world of accelerating change.
Randy Pennington
Randy Pennington
Randy Pennington

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