The little boy confidently walked up to me without even a moments hesitation. As he approached, he had already begun to hold out a piece of construction paper. I could see a drawing made with various colored crayons.
Look what I did, he said with a smile on his face and looking me straight in the eye. I drew this picture and nobody helped me. I couldnt help but smile because he was so passionate about his work. He was pleased with the job he did and wanted me to know it.
Passion is not a very big word, but it sure packs a punch. When we are passionate about something, no one has to tell us because we already know. Whether we are relaxing, playing or working, our inner passions always have a way of rising to the surface. When they do, we definitely need to listen.
When we find our passion and love what we do, we are happier and more fulfilled and our lives begin to change. Its something Ive known for a long time: If you find your passion and love what you do, youll never work a day in your life.
It doesnt matter how I feel when I walk onto a stage, pick up a paintbrush, get in front of a camera, pull out my mixer or start to write, my inner passion takes over and, before I know it, I feel better.
I experienced this firsthand last weekend when I traveled to Florida for a speaking engagement. I had a bad month with kidney stones, surgery and blood clots, but when I walked out in front of the audience waiting to hear me, I forgot about any pains I had. The next thing I knew, a few hours had passed in what seemed like a few minutes.
With passion comes excitement. Because the little boy couldnt wait to show me his creation, I couldnt wait to see it. Most of the time I get excited about things I have created. I dont mean that in a boastful way. I just love the feeling excitement brings and I love to share it with others.
Many years ago, I presented a slide show featuring some of my paintings. As I discussed them, apparently I had excitement in my voice. A woman came up to me afterward and said, Ive never seen anyone so excited about what they created.
I immediately thought about something my art teacher asked me many years ago: If youre not excited about what you do, how can you expect anyone else to be?
Thats so true. Have you ever had someone offer you something for which they immediately start making excuses? Its horrible. Im so sorry it looks like this. Im not proud of it at all.
I always go back to my teachers wise words and think to myself. If you dont like or want it, why should I?
Passion is infectious. When someone exudes passion and excitement for what they do, it is then passed on to you. I was in an event planning meeting recently. A lady was present who clearly was passionate about her work. Everyone at the table knew it.
As I listened to her talk about all the wonderful things her products offered and how thankful she was to be able to sell them, I couldnt help but smile. They meant everything to her and, because they did, we all became excited about them, too.
It doesnt matter where your passion takes you. As long as you allow it to come out in your work, you will be happier and so will the people around you. The other evening, Debra and I went out to dinner. When the waiter approached our table, he greeted us with a bubbling, How are you two this evening? We answered almost in unison, Just great.
I then asked him how he was and he said, Im phenomenal, with sincerity, without hesitation and with a big smile on his face. He was a great waiter and we enjoyed talking with him every time he visited our table. Because he enjoyed what he did, we enjoyed our meal all the more.
What happens to us as we age? Where does our passion go? The answer to that question is nowhere. Its still within us. We just have to be able to recognize it and use it in every facet of our lives.
We have to embrace our inner passions and share them with every one around us. We have to capture our passion and use it every day. It is then that we will make a difference. It is then that we will shine!
Mark Ballards column runs each week in The Telegraph.