The more we experience great leaders in the world, our societies, our governments, our municipalities and our work organisations are letting us down, the more it highlights the need for us to turn inward to find, know and live our passion. It is from the basis of our uniqueness, the grace and blessing of our giftedness, that we can bring positive changes, both in ourselves and for others. Passion, in this context, can best be described as a very strong and compelling feeling that is linked to a personal vision or way of expressing oneself. Great leaders recognise a personal passion when they have a strong desire for it, feel enthusiastic and energised when they think about it, and when it gives you a sense of purpose.

You are at your best when you do things out of free will. It is sad that life for many, in their minds, means very little freedom to choose how to live. For many people their free will is limited to what they see as free time. Often, by the time the free time becomes available, they are unable to put it to good use as they are so used to living according to others’ expectations and society’s rules.

It can be daunting to think about your passion. Perhaps you fear the idea of confronting it as your purpose. Your conviction might be that you have a fixed place in the world and that others define it for you. But what if the world is limitless and it is up to you to take all responsibility for yourself? This thought might render you alone, insecure and overwhelmed. Be assured that all people who dared to set themselves free to follow their passion experienced such feelings – not once, but many times. However, confronting yourself with your passion and purpose is the only way to find out what you are prepared to fight for and what will ultimately give you fulfilment.

Often, those great leaders we most admire didn’t come to their strong convictions and life purpose easily. They wrestled with themselves and their beliefs in what is sometimes referred to as “the dark night of the soul” (the title of a poem by a 16th-century Spanish mystic, Saint John of the Cross). Emerging from those inner struggles, they were filled with the necessary courage and conviction to handle the hardships and challenges on their way. It has been said that you can’t lead others until you’ve first led yourself through a struggle with opposing values. Because life is not easy and simple, it is the internal resolution of competing beliefs that leads to strength and integrity. This is not the kind of thing you will find in the five steps to a happy and successful life!

The discovery and or rediscovery of your passion and purpose cannot be forced. But if you are willing to open yourself to the possibility of making new discoveries and allow yourself the freedom of your imagination, you will sense what you feel passionate about and how that passion informs your future decisions. Keep in mind that passion is a matter of perspective and it can be created in many different aspects of our lives and at different times. Although you might not end up with one clear idea of your most important passion, reflecting on it would certainly help to guide you in the right direction. Instead of being angry or despondent about everything out there, you feel energised and enthusiastic about what comes from within.
Article by John Maxwell