Passion: Without it Obama might not have won.

Mary Rosenbaum | November 7th, 2012

This morning after an election night that ended a very long and drawn out campaign, I realized what a valuable lesson could be learned from the final results.

Whether you were happy or not about the outcome, an undeniable truth is that President Obama was given a second chance in part because people believed that he really cared. He was and is passionate about his beliefs and his actions have always reflected that. Whether or not he was successful in achieving his goals mattered less than the fact that he really cared.

I don’t claim that the underlying issues didn’t have an impact on the results, but judging from exit poll interviews last night it was clear that many cast their vote for the guy who was passionate about the people he represented and the causes for which he fought.

Passion exemplified in words and actions is the basis for building trust and empathy, and as we saw last night, for helping secure an often elusive second chance.

One of the exercises in my workshop focuses on passions. It is surprising how many people have difficulty identifying their passions. You can be passionate about anything – ice cream, old foreign films, horror movies – but the type of passion I’m talking about are those activities or beliefs that make you feel good about getting up in the morning. They give you direction and drive your purpose.

An easy exercise is to look around you at the people in your life – at work, at home. It’s not that hard to recognize those people who are passionate about what they do or what they are involved in. They seem energized. They seem believable. This passion is part of who they are – their identity. How do you or other people react to them when they talk about it?

Strong passions are what make you magnetic to others. They motivate you and engage others. When you are passionate about something, you trigger an emotional reaction in those who surround you.

What are you passionate about?

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