One of my clients is a manager for a large corporation. During a recent reorganization of her company, she was assigned to manage a department of engineers. When she interviewed the staff to prepare for their first meeting, they informed her that they had never had a successful meeting in their lives. (Does this sound familiar to you?)

The manager realized she had her work cut out for her, so she decided to take an unusual tack. When the time came during the meeting for her to assign jobs for a new project, rather than assigning them according to the staff’s skill or history, she assigned them according to passion. She asked each engineer which job he or she would most enjoy doing, and those were the jobs they received. The engineers were dazed and grateful. They walked out of the meeting smiling and shaking hands, and thanked the manager for their first successful meeting.

Desire is a key element of success. If you don’t want to be doing what you are doing, you will likely sabotage your efforts before you begin. If you enjoy what you are doing, your success is pretty well assured. Skills can be learned; enthusiasm is far harder to manufacture. If it is there, you can fan it; if it is not, I wouldn’t spend a lot of time trying. If I had two employment applicants, one of whom was highly skilled but not motivated, and another with lesser skills but who was highly motivated, I would choose the latter in a heartbeat.

I have learned a great deal observing the people and organizations who sponsor my seminars. I am amazed at how effective someone with little means but a lot of enthusiasm can be, and how ineffective groups with rich resources but little passion can be. I have shown up at large churches where the person assigned to organize my event does not know me well or understand or appreciate what I do, and a tiny crowd shows up. Then I go to another city to present a seminar sponsored by someone who has attended one of my programs and had a life-changing experience, and that person has single-handedly attracted hundreds of people. True passion is absolutely magnetic, and enrolls consumers by virtue of energy more than behavior.

An artist asked a business consultant how much she should charge for her paintings. "That’s easy," the consultant answered. "Charge the most for the paintings that you felt most passionate for while creating. Charge the least for the paintings you didn’t feel a lot while creating."

The consultant understood one of the key elements of sales: People are not so much buying a commodity; they are buying a feeling. Most people are hungry for life force – sometimes starving – so when they see a painting, hear a song, try on a garment, or peruse a house for sale, they are seeking to fill their soul. When you imbue your soul in your work, potential customers sense that and are drawn to it. They are paying you not so much for your product, but for the energy in your product, and you radiate that in your interaction with them.

A group of psychologists did an experiment to determine what kind of music has the most profound effect on listeners. They invited different musicians to play different kinds of music before a live audience, and they interviewed the audience about which music stirred them the most. The experimenters found that no kind of music affected the audience more profoundly than another. The crucial factor, they discovered, was the passion with which the musician performed. The musicians who were really into their music turned the audience on more than the music itself. The audience wanted to feel spirit, and the musicians who were most alive delivered.

If you are working somewhere you would rather not be, or someone is working for you who would rather not be there, don’t settle for a passionless workplace. My friend Sally hired an office assistant, Brad, who was lackluster. Brad showed up late on his first day of work, maintained that pattern, found reasons to get out of the office, and didn’t give his job a moment’s thought the instant he left the office. Sally wanted to give Brad a chance and tried in many ways to motivate him, with little effect. Then Brad got involved in community theatre and enjoyed it so much that he began to coordinate a play – during his work time in Sally’s office. Finally Sally told Brad, "You have shown more passion for this play than you have shown for this job in all the time you have been here. I want you to be in your right place to let your passion flow, which is obviously not this position. I want someone in this job who really wants to be here. Let’s free each other to both have what we want." Soon Sally attracted an office assistant who really worked, and Brad developed his acting career. A happy ending ensued when everyone was true to their passion.

While you may have explored many reasonable, logical answers to your business, relationships and health issues, you may have overlooked one key question that might lead you where you want to go more quickly than all the others: "Where does your passion live?" Tell the truth about where your life force flows, and you may find yourself there rather quickly.

Alan Cohen
Alan Cohen is the author of many popular inspirational books, including the forthcoming The Tao Made Easy: Timeless Wisdom to Navigate a Changing World. Join Alan in Hawaii this December 2-7 for his life-changing seminar Transformer Training to develop your skills and/or career as a teacher, healer or leader. For more information about this program, Alan’s books and videos, free daily inspirational quotes, online courses, and weekly radio show, visit www.alancohen.com.

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