Passion and Work
Never underestimate the power of passion in the workplace. It’s passion and a sense of purpose that drives peak performance and sparks innovation. In an ideal world everyone’s day job speaks loudly to his/her passions. The reality is most of us will need to seek out our passion points and likely work a bit to give them life in the workplace. We need to take the time to look and listen for what we love to do, for what gets us excited, for what brings us joy and then find ways to actively incorporate those things into our work lives. Sometimes it takes a bit of creative thinking, sometimes it means taking on a “side hustle” or passion project that takes you beyond your day job in order to reap the benefits. Some of corporate America’s best programs have come from someone expanding upon a personal passion.
Think of the HR person with a passion for health and wellness who creates a corporate wide wellness program that mirrors that and, as a result, positively impacts many. I can’t say for sure, but I’m willing to bet the Corporate Challenges, a sure sign in NYC that summer is coming, has its roots in some someone’s personal passion for running. It was very likely a desire to share that passion with others that created the opening for New York Roadrunners to get what was then Manufacturers Hanover Bank on board with the idea back in 1977. Today it not only provides a vehicle for healthy and spirited competition, it has also raised millions of dollars for charitable causes and it promotes corporate comradery in a most fun way. What started small in 1977, today, includes more than 255,000 participants from more than 7600 companies competing in races that are held around the world. As Human Resources executives, we are often better positioned than most to influence ways our, and others’, personal passions can be shared and turned into tangible platforms with broad reach.
In my own case, it has been the Taproot Foundation that has afforded me with my many of my passion projects. Taproot provides non-profits with consulting grants specifically designed to address challenges common to non-profits, challenges that very often don't have funding sources. Not surprisingly, my contributions feed off my Human Resources talents.