You have heard and are familiar with vision and mission statements. These are good. Visions excite you and missions give you something you can commit to, but none of these things really drives you. A passion statement is the sum of your dreams and desires that inspires you and energizes you to pursue a vision and commit to your mission. In this sense a passion statement of what you are willing to commit yourself to bring about is perhaps the most compelling statement of achievement. It may be “I want to improve myself” or as complex as “ I would like to see this place turned green”. In both statements any incremental progress towards these desires inspires a new surge of energy. In this regard, your passion statement makes you courageous, resurgent and energetic when you make progress, but also bold and positive when you face challenges. Make such a passion statement as to empower any move you make towards your goals as well as harness and inspire new vigor, energy and drive to achieve it.
When working with directors and boards during strategy planning sessions, before into developing or interrogating Vision, Mission and Values statements I take some time to assess the passion in the room. How much emotional energy have the directors committed to the organization success? How much energy are the directors willing to invest in the business? This may sound simplistic, but when you compare the summary statement of the hopes, dreams and desires of everyone in the room and compare it with the vision, mission and values statements it will give you a very good idea if you have the right people in the room, what direction the business is receiving and/or if the organization is on the right track. Simply put the directors will naturally place their energies where their passion is and if that passion is not aligned or does not drive the vision and mission the business, serious questions need to be answered.
A passion statement drives vision and provides the get-up-and-go of the mission. The heart desire for a free South Africa of Nelson Mandela and millions of Africans drove the vision of freedom. The passion of entrepreneurs is what drives a business, vision alone is not enough. Would be successful organizations flounder the CEO has a clear vision but no passion to get the work done. Indeed finding a passionate (rather than visionary) successor after the founding CEO is the greatest challenge of successful enterprises. You don’t just need people who can do; you need people who believe in what you do! A passion statement is as powerful in personal life as it is to a corporation. A life with no passion is merely a passage of time. A life with passion does not have to live a long time.