…with something more than just kindling.

There is a misconception about the relationship between emotion and passion.

Both might be considered sources of energy, enthusiasm and effort in the context of performance.  But truth be told,  they are neither equal nor interchangeable.

When it comes to impacting performance, emotion is like kindling.  Twigs, branches, scrap lumber.  Remnants of something fallen. Leftovers of things that used to grow, and sustain life. Now? Readily combustible. Prone to sudden ignition. Just waiting to be lit.  And given certain conditions, situations or settings – elements that can be dangerous.  Exhibiting the potential to erupt into an uncontrollable flame.  Kindling – like emotion – can burn white-hot in an instant,  spread rapidly without  regard for its surroundings and consume all in its path. Even consuming itself.

Emotion follows whatever happens to start it and then feed it – but only for that moment – burning a path wherever it happens to be led. More often than not it comes as a response without regard for consequence, leading to actions built on misdirected energy, focus and intention.  Haphazard. Indiscriminate. And entirely unsustainable.  Much like kindling, pure emotion can behave absent of any purpose other than to consume.  Entirely contingent on the right setting, circumstance and source for ignition. A reaction for reaction’s sake alone.

Passion, on the other hand, is an altogether different kind of energy source.

It is more akin to oak, maple or birch. Hardwoods, that grow sturdy in the elements, forged by the relentless challenges of the environment, weathering the storms of each season. Made to soldier on despite drought, flood, blizzard or injury to limb.  Unlike the scattered forces of emotion, passion, like the oak, is an entity that is firmly grounded. Its roots set deep and poised for growth.  Passion is about exerting one’s full intention no matter the elements.  Maximizing capacity regardless of the environment.   Soldiering on, above and beyond each and every obstacle raised.

True passion is a fuel that is meant to be stoked by purpose.  One made present in a form that can be tempered contingent on the circumstance.  Like seasoned oak, passion is intended to burn for the long run.  Capable of sustaining a high level of energy for a relentless drive that commands consistent and persistent release over time without condition. Passion is a source of energy that is made to be delivered with precision. Producing light when things look their darkest.  Enhancing clarity in moments of truth.  The catalyst to forge steel.

Emotion alone is incapable of sustaining this kind of effort.  Only passion is equal to this task.

Don’t get me wrong, emotion is important.  It is an integral part of our personal infrastructure. An element well suited to ignite new ventures.

But in the context of the life-long pursuit of achievement, success and excellence, emotion can only take you so far. It may enable you to perform briefly at a high level  – but only in the correct setting, proper circumstance and timing.  Emotion is dispensed in unsustainable, sporadic bursts.  Moments that once extinguished – are out.  And gone for good.

Passion is the only genuine and self-perpetuating source of energy for all that you choose to accomplish.  It is born of your mindset. One grown in the open, exposed to the harshest conditions and unrelenting environments.  Only passion girds you to weather the storms of the season, keeping you firmly grounded, roots set deep,  poised for growth.  Passion is all about exerting your full intention no matter the elements or the competition.   Maximizing your capacity regardless of the environment.   Passion leads you to soldier on, above and beyond each and every obstacle raised.

So before you take that field tomorrow night, by all means, light that fire as a team.

Stoke it white-hot with a level of emotion reserved for the best day of the week.

But then, as things happen – good and bad – be sure that each one of you feed the team with your passion.

Guide your collective energies with intention.  Drive yourselves forward with purpose.

Soldier on, as one, above and beyond each and every obstacle raised.

Fuel your performance as a team with something more than just kindling.

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