It takes courage to be an Edgewalker and to walk your own unique path. The pressures from society and from organizations to conform are tremendous. What helps people to resist these pressures and to stay true to themselves? Passion. Edgewalkers are passionate about something greater than themselves. They have some sense of purpose or mission that pulls them toward their own future. Edgewalkers have a calling, and they have the courage to answer that call.
My friend Martha Finney co-wrote a book called Find Your Calling: Love Your Life. She defines calling as that thing, that dream, that calls you, and no matter how much you ignore it – it won’t go away.
My personal passion is music. When I was a little girl, I remember sitting in a vaudeville audience with my beloved grandfather. I was four years old. When the singers came on stage, I jumped from my seat to run up there to sing and dance with them. My grandfather had to hold me back.
I go to guitar camp in New Hampshire each year, where I take classes on guitar playing and songwriting. In Greg Greenway’s songwriting class one of our assignments was to think about the moments in our lives that were the happiest. One of my happiest moments was when I was playing with my band, the J.J.Diamond Band. Greg asked us to write a descriptive paragraph about this happiest moment. Here’s what I wrote:
The basement smells damp on this hot sunny afternoon. Like little ants we scurry around setting up our microphones and plugging in our guitars. Underneath the chaos is the steady thump, thump, thump of the drummer warming up. We always begin rehearsals with a song that we know well as a way of getting in resonance with each other. The groove begins and I look around at the guys in the band. I love each one of them so much. As the chorus comes and our harmonies rise and blend, I feel like I am rising out of my body, and I just disappear into the bliss.
Passion is fairly easy to understand when we think about the arts. Humans are driven to creative self-expression. It is our nature. It’s less common to think of the workplace as a place where people can express their passion, but it does happen, and I think it is happening more and more as organizations come to understand the value of employee engagement.
What are you passionate about? What can you not not do? Do you think passion and creativity are connected? If so, how? And what is the shadow side of being passionate about something?