The senior executives who read this magazine, for instance, seem to struggle with this question at the high point of their careers. Many executives hit their professional stride in their forties and fifties, just as their parents are reaching the end of their lives—a reminder that all of us are mortal.
Then one day, a creeping sensation sets in: Something is wrong. That realization launches a process we have witnessed—literally thousands of times—in our work coaching managers and executives over the past 14 years. Indeed, leaders cannot keep achieving new goals and inspiring the people around them without understanding their own dreams. Such action can range from a relatively minor adjustment in outlook, to a larger refocusing on what really matters, to practical life changes that take you in an entirely new direction.
When asked, most businesspeople say that passion—to lead, to serve the customer, to support a cause or a product—is what drives them. When that passion fades, they begin to question the meaning of their work.
Sometimes, a job that was fulfilling gradually becomes less meaningful, slowly eroding your enthusiasm and spirit until you no longer find much purpose in your work. People often describe this state as feeling trapped. Take the case of Bob McDowell, the corporate director of human resources at a large professional-services firm.
After pouring his heart and soul into his work for 25 years, Bob had become terribly demoralized because his innovative programs were cut time and again. As a result, his efforts could do little to improve the workplace over the long term. For years he had quieted his nagging doubts, in part because an occasional success or a rare employee who flourished under his guidance provided deep, if temporary, satisfaction. Moreover, the job carried all the usual trappings of success—title, money, and perks.
And, like most people in middle age, McDowell had financial responsibilities that made it risky to trade security for personal fulfillment. Factors such as these conspire to keep people trudging along, hoping things will get better.
An Incompatible Passion: A Play in 3 Acts
But clinging to security or trying to be a good corporate citizen can turn out to be a prison of your own making. Many people confuse achieving day-to-day business goals with performing truly satisfying work, so they continue setting and achieving new goals—until it dawns on them that they are bored. People are often truly shaken by this revelation; they feel as if they have just emerged from a spiritual blackout.
We saw this in Nick Mimken, the owner of a successful insurance agency, who increasingly felt that something was missing from his life. The fact was, he had lost touch with his dreams and was going through the motions at work without experiencing any real satisfaction from the success of his business. Some people may feel guilty about being restless when it looks like they have it all.
Like many, this man works more than 60 hours a week, leaving him little time to enjoy anything else. Over time, Lauer had fallen in step with a corporate culture that was focused on shareholder value in a way that was inconsistent with what he cared about. Not surprisingly, he left the company six months later, breaking from corporate life by joining his wife in her work with Hungarian relief organizations.
How did Lauer stray from his core? Finally, he exhibited a trait that is a hallmark of effective leaders: adaptability. At first, adapting to the corporate culture probably made Lauer feel more comfortable. But without strong self-awareness, people risk adapting to such an extent that they no longer recognize themselves. The signal to take stock may come to people in the form of a challenge to what they feel is right.
Such was the case for Niall FitzGerald, now the cochairman of Unilever, when he was asked to take a leadership role in South Africa, which was still operating under apartheid. The offer was widely considered a feather in his cap and a positive sign about his future with Unilever. Until that time, FitzGerald had accepted nearly every assignment, but the South Africa opportunity stopped him in his tracks, posing a direct challenge to his principles.
How could he, in good conscience, accept a job in a country whose political and practical environment he found reprehensible? When you recognize that an experience is in conflict with your values, as FitzGerald and Rob did, you can at least make a conscious choice about how to respond. The problem is, people often miss this particular signal because they lose sight of their core values. Other people find that their work becomes their life, and business goals take precedence over everything else. Many executives who genuinely value family above all still end up working hour days, missing more and more family dinners as they pursue success at work.
Use passion in a sentence | passion sentence examples
In these cases, people may not hear the wake-up call. A wake-up call can come in the form of a mission: an irresistible force that compels people to step out, step up, and take on a challenge. It is as if they suddenly recognize what they are meant to do and cannot ignore it any longer. Such a call is often spiritual, as in the case of the executive who, after examining his values and personal vision, decided to quit his job, become ordained, buy a building, and start a church—all at age But a call can take other forms as well—to become a teacher, to work with disadvantaged children, or to make a difference to the people you encounter every day.
Rebecca Yoon, who runs a dry-cleaning business, has come to consider it her mission to connect with her customers on a personal level. Her constant and sincere attention has created remarkable loyalty to her shop, even though the actual service she provides is identical to that delivered by hundreds of other dry cleaners in the city.
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Sometimes it takes a trauma, large or small, to jolt people into taking a hard look at their lives. Such an awakening may be the result of a heart attack, the loss of a loved one, or a world tragedy. It can also be the result of something less dramatic, like adjusting to an empty nest or celebrating a significant birthday. Priorities can become crystal clear at times like these, and things that seemed important weeks, days, or even minutes ago no longer matter.
DeVito is not alone. Anecdotal evidence suggests that many people felt the need to seek new meaning in their lives after the tragedies of last September, which highlighted the fact that life can be cut short at any time. An article in the December 26, , Wall Street Journal described two women who made dramatic changes after the attacks.
Following a visit to New York shortly after the towers were hit, engineer Betty Roberts quit her job at age 52 to enroll in divinity school. And Chicki Wentworth decided to give up the office and restaurant building she had owned and managed for nearly 30 years in order to work with troubled teens.
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Turning 40, getting married, sending a child to college, undergoing surgery, facing retirement—these are just a handful of the moments in life when we naturally pause, consider where our choices have taken us, and check our accomplishments against our dreams. But such signals are no less important as indicators of the need to reassess than the more visible events.
It takes a conscious, disciplined effort at periodic self-examination. Most people pursue not a single strategy but a combination, and some seek outside help while others prefer a more solitary journey. For some people, taking time off is the best way to figure out what they really want to do and to reconnect with their dreams. Academic institutions have long provided time for rejuvenation through sabbaticals—six to 12 months off, often with pay.
Some businesses—to be clear, very few—offer sabbaticals as well, letting people take a paid leave to pursue their interests with the guarantee of a job when they return. More often, businesspeople who take time off do so on their own time—a risk, to be sure, but few who have stepped off the track regret the decision. This is the path Bob McDowell took. McDowell, the HR director we described earlier who felt trapped in his job, stepped down from his position, did not look for another job, and spent about eight months taking stock of his life.
He considered his successes and failures, and faced up to the sacrifices he had made by dedicating himself so completely to a job that was, in the end, less than fulfilling. Other executives take time off with far less ambitious goals—simply to get their heads out of their work for a while and focus on their personal lives. It distances perhaps every other German university in the extent to which it carries out what are popularly regarded as the characteristics of German student-life - duelling and the passion for Freiheit.
Perhaps he was also influenced by his passion for Mary Evans, the sister of one of his school-fellows. A later development, however, by which certain lights themselves came to be regarded as objects of worship and to have other lights burned before them, was condemned as idolatrous by the synod of Noyon in Durandus, in his Rationale, interprets the wax as the body of Christ, the wick as his soul, the flame as his divine nature; and the consuming candle as symbolizing his passion and death.
On Easter Eve the new fire, symbol of the light of the newly risen Christ, is produced, and from this are kindled all the lights used throughout the Christian year until, in the gathering darkness tenebrae of the Passion , they are gradually extinguished. The peculiar greatness and value of both Juvenal and Tacitus is that they did not shut their eyes to the evil through which they had lived, but deeply resented it - the one with a vehement and burning passion , like the " saeva indignatio " of Swift, the other with perhaps even deeper but more restrained emotions of mingled scorn and sorrow, like the scorn and sorrow of Milton when " fallen on evil days and evil tongues.
It is, indeed, impossible to say what motives of personal chagrin, of love of detraction, of the mere literary passion for effective writing, may have contributed to the indignation which inspired his verse. All evil passion is due to erroneous judgment and morbid conditions of mind which may be divided into chronic ailments vorijpara and infirmities appcovripaTa , into permanent or temporary disorders. The order of Passion ist Fathers, the full title of which is the "Congregation of the Discalced Clerks of the Most Holy Cross and Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ," was founded by St Paul of the Cross Paolo della Croce, 7 75; canonized in , but full sanction was not obtained for the order till , when the first monastery was established at Monte Argentario, Orbetello.
The secondary sense of " passion " is due to the late use of passio to translate the Greek philosophical term iniOos, the classical Latin equivalent being affectus. The same passion for uniformity which suppressed the Gallican and Mozarabic liturgies in the West led to the almost exclusive use of the liturgy of St James in the East. The celebration of the Eucharist is an elaborate symbolical representation of the Passion. Perhaps the chief things lacking in his attitude are, in the first place, reverence, of which, however, from a few passages, it is clear he was by no means totally devoid, and secondly, an appreciation of passion and poetry.
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Here and there there are touches of the latter, as in the portrait of Quintessence, but passion is everywhere absent - an absence for which the comic structure and plan of the book do not by any means supply a complete explanation. Warburton was undoubtedly a great man, but his intellect, marred by wilfulness and the passion for paradox, effected no result in any degree adequate to its power. He encouraged the performance of mystery plays; on the performance of a mystery of the Passion at Saumur in he remitted four years of taxes to the town, and the representations of the Passion at Angers were carried out under his auspices.
Perhaps there is not another instance in history in which a man who was neither a soldier, nor a diplomatist, nor a writer, who appealed to no passion but patriotism, and who avoided power with almost oriental indolence instead of seeking it, became, in the course of a long life, the leader of a great party by sheer force of intellect and moral superiority. Another peculiarity, more fatal to him in that aristocratic age than any other, was his fondness for the common people, which was increased by his passion for a pretty Dutch girl, named Dyveke, who became his mistress in or Petrarch's inner life after this date is mainly occupied with the passion which he celebrated in his Italian poems, and with the friendships which his Latin epistles dimly reveal to us.
Friendship with him was a passion ; or, what is more true perhaps, he needed friends for the maintenance of his intellectual activity at the highest point of its effectiveness. No one professed a more austere morality, and few medieval writers indulged in cruder satire on the female sex; yet he passed some years in the society of a concubine, and his living masterpiece of art is the apotheosis of chivalrous passion for a woman. Had Petrarch been possessed with a passion for some commanding principle in politics, morality or science, instead of with the thirst for selfglorification and the ideal of artistic culture, it is not wholly impossible that Italian humanism might have assumed a manlier and more conscientious tone.
They exhibit the oratorical fervour, the pleader's eloquence in its most perfect lustre, which Petrarch possessed in no less measure than subjective passion. From the sublimity of Thucydides, and Xenophon's straightforward story, history passed with Theopompus and Ephorus into the field of rhetoric. A revival of the scientific instinct of investigation is discernable in Timaeus the Sicilian, at the end of the 4th century, but his attack upon his predecessors was the text of a more crushing attack upon himself by Polybius, who declares him lacking in critical insight and biased by passion.