It was parenting 101 in the ‘80s, and my parents were well versed in it. So we played.
And, it didn’t matter what we played. Of course, we played sports like football, basketball, baseball, and kickball. But, we also played some non-conventional games like tag, jump over the creek, rocks on the roof, bike races, hide and seek, and a hundred other made up games.
This desire to just ‘play’ is something I still enjoy today. I’m not as enamored by basketball, for example, as I am about the continued opportunity to try, fail … to compete - sometimes against others, but often against myself.
Why Should We Care?
The game isn’t the point. The competition isn’t even the point.
In leadership we often hear young people advised to chase their passion. While I understand this advice, there are inherent problems with it. The primary issue is that most people think of their passion as a thing they do like a sport, a profession, or a hobby.
Passion isn’t a thing you do.
Passion is an emotion evoked by the thought or action of doing something. Passion is much more about how you do something rather than what you are doing. Passion is entrenched in the process, not the game or the result.
As leaders we need to begin helping people discover the process that produces their passion. If for no other reason than passion casts out fear. When passion is present our concern with failing, being embarrassed, or not being enough are gone. Consider the example of play. Those concerns don’t even exist under the pretense of play. They simply become an aspect of play that are not only accepted, but enjoyed and embraced.
REAL TALK - Action Steps
Play brings about passion. Finding a process beyond play that inspires passion is more challenging. It requires reflection and self-awareness along with a lot of trial and error. It’s well worth the struggle.
When we love the process we are undertaking we will endure immense struggle in order to simply keep doing it. No reward needed. The process and the passion are the reward.
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I'm a teacher, coach, and parent seeking excellence while defining success on my own terms.