Last month I wrote about Self Awareness and The Journey. In that post, I made several observations about how I’ve gotten to where I am now. The first observation was about passion.

My introduction to a little passion lit the flame that has fueled the fire for where I am today. More than 10 years ago, our church underwent a study entitled “Network: The right people in the right places for the right reasons at the right time.” The premise of the study is that too often in churches (and I can see the application in business as well), people get placed in roles for which they have no passion and the results are mediocre at best, dismal at worst.

I was challenged to think about my passions. The thing that really makes me tick. Unfortunately, the passion portion of the study was introduced early in the study and only covered one week. Nailing down passion is not so easily done over the course of months and years, much less over a week. Nonetheless, the journey had begun.

My passion, as best I could determine at that time, was people. Pretty general and vague, I know.  But it was a start. Later, my passion evolved into “connecting with people.” I’ve always loved meeting new people, staying in touch with them and connecting them with others.

It was truly a blessing to work for seven years for the Lynchburg Regional Chamber of Commerce as the Vice President of Marketing and Member Development because it was right in line with my passion. Each time I met new people, I tried to get a feel for the kinds of connections that would be beneficial for them. When I was successful in making significant connections, my level of personal satisfaction and fulfillment soared.

Once a week, at least in the beginning, I used to tell my boss how much I loved my job. I was often reminded of Steve Martin’s skit where he sang, “I see people who getting up at 7:30 every mornin’ goin’ t work at the drugstore to sell flair pens…but the most amazing thing to me is…

“…I get paid for doing this!” (Click to listen. Free Quick Time download available here.)

While I was searching (unsuccessfully, I might add) for a video of the above, I came across this. You’ll see the passion of another great entertainer, Gregory Hines. Who knew Steve Martin could tap dance?

Today I understand that my passion has more to do with engaging people than simply connecting with them. Engagement has greater depth and provides greater foundation for relationship. Engagement is more fulfilling.

Once again, I’m blessed to be able to do what I love. Today, I work with businesses and non-profit organizations, helping them engage people. Whether I’m teaching a baby boomer business professional about social networking tools (to engage customers or possible employers), or facilitating strategic planning with faith-based organizations (to engage people from Gen X and Gen Y) or leading seminars for businesses (to engage employees), I think about Steve and hum a few bars to myself and anyone who will listen. “I get paid for doing this.”

Have you discovered your passion? If so, how? What words would you use to define your passion? Have you seen your passion evolve over time? Tell me more!

Thanks to my Twitter friend for sending the audio file.