Let me ask you a question: How passionate are you on a scale of 1-10, every single day? If you’re like most executives and entrepreneurs I coach, your answer is somewhere between 0 and 2.

Most people live their entire lives without experiencing the rich business and life benefits that passion brings to the table. Instead, the norm is to live with fears, limitations and burnout. This is unfortunate because a passion-driven life is obtainable to anybody.

So, what is passion, and how can it enrich your business and your life?

Passion: It’s Not What You Think It Is

Before defining passion, I think it’s a good idea to dispel a few myths.

Myth No. 1 is that passion is a personality trait, where the person is characterized by feelings of enthusiasm. However, true passion — the kind that changes your life — is much more than a feeling, a temperament or a personality trait. True passion is the desire and drive to obtain a specific goal, dream or lifestyle.

Myth No. 2 is that passion is only for a select few. Oftentimes, when people hear the word “passion,” they tell me that they envision a TV evangelist or a motivational speaker. The truth, however, is that a passion-driven life is for anybody.

Myth No. 3 is that it’s possible to “get passionate” about something. In fact, there are passions already in you — right now. So don’t try to force a passion for something that you’re not already passionate about.

Myth No. 4 is that everybody knows what their specific passion is. As surprising as it may sound, most people don’t know what their passion is. There are also many people who believe that they don’t have any specific passions that could drive and motivate them. Whenever someone says they are not passionate about anything, the truth is that they simply haven’t discovered their passion yet.

Passion Defined

Your passion is the thing you most want to do, or the thing you most want to become, even at a subconscious level. Your particular passion is what you would do, right this moment, if you had no fear of failure and no limits.

If you have no idea what your passion is, don’t worry. It’s in you somewhere, just waiting to be discovered.

Whatever it is for you, your passion can become your life’s driving force. Passionate people excel in their businesses because their business is the key to doing or becoming what they’re passionate about.

Simply put, passion is the coveted “it factor.” It’s that special something behind the great ones – the people of charisma, vision and likability. The “it factor” is achieved when everything you do, in work and in life, becomes fuel for your passion.

Here are a few specific ways passion sets you apart from you colleagues and competitors:

1. Passion sets you apart as a leader. When you’re driven by passion, you stand out among your colleagues. There’s just something different about you that commands respect. Whether or not people agree with all your views and ideas, they will listen to what you have to say. Even if you’re horrible at preparing speeches, being passionate about what you’re talking about can overcome a lot of negative possible outcomes from a bad presentation.

2. Passion keeps you uplifted. In challenging times of stress, when many of your colleagues burn out, your passion will keep you focused, encouraged and inspired.

3. Passion keeps you accomplished. By being fueled with higher levels of motivation and focus, passion helps you increase your performance in every area of life. Have you ever noticed that passionate people are often chosen for promotions, raises and higher levels of responsibility within a company?

4. Passion keeps you balanced. When one area of life suffers (such as a relationship), the rest of life suffers too. It’s almost impossible to “leave your problems at the door” when there’s imbalance in your career, relationships, personal development, health and fitness and spirituality. But when everything you do in life is driven by a single guiding passion, you begin to enjoy harmony and balance between all areas of life.

Evaluate Your Life

Once you discover your passion, your life will take on a whole new quality. My next article will show you how. But until then, take some time to evaluate your life. Using scales from 1-10, determine how much passion you experience from different areas of your life. Evaluate your career from 1-10, your hobbies, as well as anything else that takes your time and your focus. You’ll then be fully prepared for the next step: discovering your passion.

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