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Haims: The power of passion

Frequently, “purpose” and “passion” are words used in many books and spoken by popular motivational speakers for the purpose of inspiring.  While similar in that they both drive to the same result, a desire to succeed, passion comes from deep within. Passion is like an internal spark that can ignite and fuel an unfettered drive. It’s ambiguous and often nonlinear. Passion is emotional and often brings happiness and joy.

Purpose on the other hand is linear and driven by reason. It’s practical and is more like a “mission.” Purpose often leads to the pursuit of something — it’s a driving force and is motivational. Often, it gives you the fortitude to succeed.

Earlier this year, I became engaged in a semantic conversation with a client’s spouse about how he and I apply these words to our business and lives. My client’s husband (I’ll call him Ed) believed that passion doesn’t often lead to success because it’s emotional — a feel-good trait. Conversely, he believed that purpose aligns people with their values and provides the strength to succeed.



We went round and round for quite some time about the importance these two words play in our personal lives and business ventures. I maintained that in my personal life, I am passionate and considerate. In business, I explained that my passion gives me purpose. Ed, however, explained that in order to succeed and achieve my goals and aspirations, I need to consistently refine my purpose and be laser-focused in achieving my goals. He felt that there was little room in business for passion — he claimed it’s “too lovey-dovey and ambiguous.”

While I did not wholly disagree with Ed, I explained that caring for people requires employees to be more driven by passion than purpose. I reiterated that health care professionals’ passions lead them to a career in helping others — it fulfills them. Ed, however, responded to this by saying it’s been his experience that people who are consistently chasing their passions too frequently move around in their careers and therefore make retention difficult and expensive.



I questioned him as to how he could effectively run so many medical and health care operations with little understanding of what drives people within these fields. He said, “money.”

About a week ago, Ed called me and asked that I come over to their home before they departed the valley for the winter. I figured he wanted to give me some of the Belgium chocolates he knows I love so much and that he occasionally bestows upon me like a precious possession. How wrong I was.

When I arrived at his home, he and his wife greeted me and walked me to their reading room. Whatever I had expected had now taken a dramatic turn. Being invited to their reading room was always an exercise in education. With walls covered in diplomas from prestigious universities, pictures of dignitaries, presidents, and executives of global institutions, in addition to tables with rare and expensive chess boards, it’s a room of homage and achievement where we have spent hours trading views, perspectives, and philosophies.



After a short cordial trading of niceties, Ed came to the point of his invite. Ed not only wanted to thank me and my care specialists for our assistance this past summer, but he wanted to let me know how our conversation in January had changed how he directed some of the health and medical businesses he sat on the board of. It seems that after COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the businesses, he realized that it was the people’s passion for what they did that gave them the fortitude to grind out every day in the face of such diversity and sadness. Money, Ed said, could have never motivated people as did their passion for what they did.

Passion is not an aspiration; it is an emotion, and it fuels purpose. Passion is the “why” we do what we do and it’s built into our core. When a client’s passion fades — it’s our job as care specialists and health care providers to rekindle the flame.

At Visiting Angels, we find that when we can tap into, or rekindle client’s passions, they often live a more fulfilled life and thus find purpose. All of us have something that inspires us and gives us transcendence. Unlike purpose, passion is not a means to an end.

If you find a friend or loved one has lost their way or lost sight of what inspires them, perhaps you can help reignite the spark within them that fuels their passion.

“I think I overcame every single one of my personal shortcomings by the sheer passion I brought to my work. If you love your work, you’ll be out there every day trying to do it the best you possibly can, and pretty soon everybody around will catch the passion from you–like a fever.” — Sam Walton

Judson Haims is the owner of Visiting Angels Home Care in Eagle County. He can be reached at http://www.visitingangels.com/comtns or 970-328-5526.


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