Learning How to Talk About Passion Takes Practice, but It Pays Off

Joshua Spodek’s (PhD MBA) book, Leadership Step by Step, launches in February. He is an adjunct professor and coach of leadership and entrepreneurship at NYU and Columbia. His courses are available online atSpodekAcademy.com and he blogs daily at JoshuaSpodek.com.

Prelude

A client’s friend had lunch with Warren Buffett. He talked a lot about passion. In fact, she wrote

Throughout the conversation, Buffett stressed the significance of passion — how necessary it was for his own journey and how imperative it is for us to find ours. Passion was the fire behind his focus that encouraged him to absorb all things business, all the time. It was a job, it was his life.

Can we consider Warren Buffett a successful businessman? If so, let’s remember this anecdote and continue.

Can you say the word passion?

I teach and coach people to create meaningful connections and to lead people to the point of inspiration.

My testimonials tell me I do it well.

You see, the technique I teach to create meaningful connections uses a script. The script begins by asking people about what they care about. My preferred way to start is:

“What’s your passion?”

People always ask, “can I use the word ‘passion’?” They tell me they don’t feel comfortable using the word in a business context. I can tell from their anxious tone that many would feel uncomfortable using it outside business contexts too.

That’s why I use that quote about Buffett. This successful businessman talks about passion all the time. In particular, he uses the word like any other. If you think, “well, he can, he’s already successful,” search online and read what he says about passion. I suggest you have it backward:

He didn’t start talking about passion because he became successful. He became successful because he can talk about passion.

Talking about passion takes practice but it pays off

In all fairness, it took me a while to become comfortable saying ‘passion.’

But I did, and since then, I connect with people a lot more about what we care about, and a lot less about mindless fluff we don’t, like traffic on the way over, the weather, and forgettable current events.

I ask “What’s your passion?” routinely and don’t remember anyone telling me it was a problem. I don’t say it robotically. I’ve learned how to say it authentically, mainly from so many people, basically everyone, responding positively.

So my question to you, if you don’t feel comfortable using the word ‘passion’:

If you can’t say the word ‘passion,’ how do you expect to create it in your life?

Alternatively:

If you want passion in your life and relationships, shouldn’t you get comfortable using the word?

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