How are Inspiration and Passion connected?
When speaking about my research people often ask, ‘How are inspiration and passion connected?’ If you have done any reading on inspirational leadership you will know that passion, enthusiasm, creativity and motivation are often used in conjunction with, or instead of, the term inspiration. There is no doubt that passion has a role in leaders being able to inspire others, but passion and inspiration are not the same thing.
Passion is a unique phenomenon that is sustaining … it maintains our enthusiasm for things that have meaning for us. Conversely, the phenomenon of inspiration occurs in a moment … it is fleeting. There is no doubt the inspiring moment, although fleeting, is powerful and uplifting. So how are inspiration and passion connected? What’s their relationship?
I think Rollo May, a psychologist and author on creativity, provided the best insight. He wrote that inspiration can be encouraged by being passionate about something. He proposed that passion and commitment mean people become more engaged and develop a deeper awareness of issues at hand. This engagement and deeper awareness places them in a position of being ‘open’ to inspiring moments.
Passion sustains our endeavours post inspiration … and it also opens us up to the possibility of experiencing inspiration. Without a passion burning within us, we may never experience an inspiring moment. In the leadership context, an inspiring leader I spoke with believed, ‘energy and passion emanating from leaders was a great way to build an emotional connection with others. Leaders can then maximise that connection to cultivate inspiring moments.’
To discover more about passion, check out this InspHIGHER blog post. If you’re keen to answer the question: How are inspiration and passion connected?, discover further insights from my book ‘Inspiring Leaders: Practical Insights‘.