Thursday Thought…Working with Passion

I was reading Colorado Biz Magazine today – which, by the way, is a great publication! – and their article on passion in one's work got me to thinking (see Are you working for passion or a paycheck?by Laurence B. Valant).

I count myself as quite lucky…I've found what I love to do in life, and have been able to turn it into a career. I climb, I guide, I create images, and then I share my experiences from the mountains with audiences around the world in my keynote presentations.

But, it's not always easy. During my Everest expedition this spring, I wrote about The Hardest Part of an Everest expedition. Times can be tough on Everest, especially as a photographer. Leapfrogging climbers like Ed Viesturs, taking gloves off in the cold, working everyday, even when it's the last thing you want to do. Forcing yourself out of the warm, cozy tent for sunrise and sunset, and in wind and storm.

Passion…that's what it all comes down to. With passion for our work, with passion in our lives, we can endure challenges. My passion for climbing mountains gets me through the storms and fatigue and numbing cold. My passion for creating images that tell a story pulls me out of the tent and brings the camera to my eye…even when I don't want to. My passion for teaching and sharing my experiences…and inspiring others to find their passions and push their limits…helps me work in tough situations with tough clients on difficult climbs and big mountains. And, that same passion helps me get over the nervousness before speaking to an audience of 8 or 800.

And, passion does not end with the individual. When we are passionate about our work, we are eager to bring that same passion, that same feeling of joy in action, out in others around us. We are more inclined to assist a coworker on their path, to work more effectively with our teammates, and to create true success in all that we do.

Passion, indeed, is the driving force behind success, creativity, and excellence. As Valant writes in CoBizMag: Those who must be someplace else can be seen watching the clock, being indifferent to others, not caring about success or failure, and are characterized by, “Why do your best when your worst will get you by?”

So, this brings me to today's Thursday Thought. It is by one of the greats, Kahlil Gibran, and his seminal book The Prophet.

Work is love made visible
And if you cannot work with love but only
with distaste, it is better that you should
leave your work and sit at the gate of the
temple and take alms of those who work with joy..
For if you bake bread with indifference
you bake a bitter bread that feeds but half
man's hunger
And if you grudge the crushing of the
grapes, your grudge distills a poison in the wine
And if you sing though as angels,and
love not the singing, you muffle man's ears
to the voices of the day and the voices of
the night.
(click for the full version of "On Work")

Jake Norton is an Everest climber, guide, photographer, writer, and motivational speaker from Colorado.

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