A few years ago, Douglas Barry, an unusually bright 17 year old high school senior wrote a book entitled, Wisdom for a Young CEO: Incredible Letters and Inspiring Advice from Today’s Business Leaders. At age 14, Douglas decided to become a CEO. He sent letters to more than one hundred CEOs asking them: “What does it take to become a CEO?” The number and quality of the responses was both surprising and outstanding.
The book contains scores of letters and great advice from former and current CEOs of many of the world’s leading companies. It is an inspirational read that is well worth your time… I recommend it.
Douglas writes that “Passion for what they do is so great among the CEOs who wrote to me that I could practically feel their enthusiasm as I read their words. Passion is not a fleeting emotion. It resonates from one being to everyone in hearing and feeling range, and then is passed along for everyone to experience. Passion is contagious. That is why it is so important for a leader to possess it, and to express it with great energy and consistency.”
In a letter to Douglas Barry, William C. Weldon, Chairman and CEO of Johnson and Johnson wrote:
- Be passionate about what you’re doing. Be committed to it. Don’t look over your shoulder and worry about the mistakes you’ve made, but determine how you can move forward.
- Think positive! Worry about the things you can control and make sure you view them in a positive way. No matter what you look at, no matter how bad things look, there’s always a positive side to it, and if you can keep yourself focused on the positive, and you can keep driving things in that direction, you’ll always do well.
- Be committed to be the best you can be. You can’t like finishing second or losing. You’ve got to like winning. Never give up.
- Be selective about where you work, and make sure you’re comfortable with what the company stands for, what it represents, and that it’s something you can really commit yourself to.
Roger Valine, CEO, Vision Service Plan wrote:
- It’s more about your passion, drive and belief in yourself than it is about your intellect, who you know, or good luck.
Leonard Roberts, Chairman and CEO, RadioShack Corp wrote:
- Passionate people get things done. Passion for doing what you’re called to do resonates in every fiber of a true leader. Passion Shows. Passionate people energize other people and build enthusiasm. And as you surely know, enthusiasm is contagious.
The chapter on Passion contains many other excellent letters and priceless advice from former and current CEOs of many of the world’s leading companies. The book is available at book stores and via the Internet.
Are you truly passionate about the who, what, when, where, why and how of your work? Are you passionate about the value of your work and for whom you work? If not, get out. Move on. Get out of the way. Find your passion and place where you can be passionate!
If you pass the passion test, think carefully and strategically as to how you can better communicate and lead with passion. Passion is indeed contagious. Do you express passion and spread it with great energy and consistency?
Fervent, unrelenting passion will always ultimately win over intellect, education or talent! The world’s best, brightest and most successful guarantee it!