Has your lack of passion made you "phone it in?"

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Heart_and_stars The sharp and savvy Kathy Sierra from Passionate has written another thought-provoking post entitled Re-igniting passion.  She wrote it after meeting a group of inspired students while presenting at the Canadian Student Engineering Conference.  She asks:

"I don’t know what they put in the water up there, but we could use some down here. Because too many of us (me included) tend to let that early enthusiasm slide… we forget why this thing we do used to matter to us, and we might start wondering why we ever got into it the first place. We start phoning it in.

Forget how that ultimately affects the end user, what about us? What would my days be like, for example, if I could always remember (and re-experience) the "I Rule!" feeling I got when my first program compiled. What would it be like if I remembered how excited I was to get my very first email from a reader telling us that the book made a difference in his life? What would it be like if I remembered how lucky I am to be doing something that–at some point, anyway–I really REALLY wanted to do?"

I have some ideas why it happens Kathy, gathered from my own experience and those of my clients:

  1. We forget to get excited about our accomplishments.  So much time is put into getting to a successful outcome in our work that when we do, we hardly stop to breathe before moving on to the next big thing.  How about taking a moment to stop, smile, be grateful and say to ourselves "Damn, I’m good!"
  2. We forget to make it fresh every day.  My 71-year-old Dad, who is a photographer, is one of the few people I know who is truly present in his work every time he does it.  He has been taking pictures for over 45 years, but still gets excited thinking about each shot, and always worries if his client will like it (they always love it).  Why does he stay fresh?  He challenges himself to always do better, and learn and adapt with technology.  He went from a die-hard black and white Nikon man up to his elbows in chemicals to a digital photographer who only sends pictures via email.
  3. We often miss the signals that it is time to move on to try something different.  I was impressed with the difference between Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger as the half-time show entertainment at the Superbowl.  While I love the Beatles and feel like Paul is a very talented musician, I got the feeling that he was "phoning it in."  Mick Jagger on the other hand, took me back by his butt-shaking bravado.  I was not the only one who felt his passion – my 10 month old son Joshua was riveted by his performance, dancing wildly while sitting and putting his hands in the air.  To our amazement, he even clapped at the end of the performance, the first time we had ever seen him do that.  I can’t quite pinpoint the difference between the two, but I always feel like Paul is the "one that used to be in a great band" while Mick and his liver-pickled buddy Keith Richards are "still kicking ass after all these years."

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