Written By Donald McNaughton
‘In all my research, the greatest leaders looked inward and were able to tell a good story with authenticity and passion.’ Deepak Chopra
Many times you have been told to ‘follow your passion?’
When Jon M. Jachimowicz (Assistant Professor at Harvard Business School) surveyed Columbia Business School MBA students, over 90% of them listed ‘pursuing their passion’ as an important goal for their future jobs.
A Deloitte survey of 3,000 full-time U.S. workers across job levels and industries revealed that only 20% are genuinely passionate about their work.
Simon Sinek says that passion is not an input; it is an output; he says that we are all passionate; we’re not all passionate about the same things.
We feel what we call passion when we are involved in something deeply personal to us, which helps us advance some higher purpose or cause.
The challenge is that research has shown that most of us don’t know how to pursue our passion, and thus we fail to do so.
We all put a lot of pressure on ourselves to find our passion and declare our mission; the problem is that only a small percentage of the population is visionary. Expecting everybody to be visionary is no different from expecting everybody to be creative, but of course, we are not all creative.
The takeaway from Simon Sinek’s perspective is that you don’t have to have a mission; you have to find a mission.
When you encounter a visionary that appeals to you on some visceral level, whose mission excites you, make their mission your mission, and passionately pursue it.
Being a follower is a good thing; ultimately, there’s no difference between the visionary and the follower. Both see themselves in service of something bigger than themselves; whether they are the originator of that idea or not is irrelevant.
I am incredibly fortunate in that I have found my mission. This mission originated with Oliver Wight (Ollie), whose single-minded mission was to help executives manage their business more professionally and generated significant results. Ollie lived his dream passionately, and before his death in 1983, he educated and inspired thousands of executives.
Walt Goddard became the steward of Ollies’ mission and grew Oliver Wight into a global business. Over the years, several visionaries have continued to evolve and strengthen Ollie and Walt’s mission.
I am proud to call myself a follower of these visionaries, and I have adopted their mission, a passion for client success, as my mission.