Is Your Passion Positive Or Negative?


There is a show that has been quite popular in America for years. It features chefs and cooks from all over the country that compete in a live kitchen for the top honor. But also central to the show is the world-renowned chef who will scream and spike plates off the trash cans and floors when the meals are not right.

Does he have that right to do so? Well, it’s his show, he can do whatever he wants. But if you ask him why he acts that way, he’ll tell you it’s because he’s passionate about his profession.

Passion. He’s as passionate about food the way that Billy Martin was passionate about baseball. Or Charlie Sheen about his lifestyle. Or Gollum about the One Ring. You get the pitcure.

Passion is a necessary trait to possess. You need it to be successful. You need it to be authentic. You need it to be effective in leading others.

However there is, as to all emotions, a negative side as well. The passion described above is harmful, toxic, and destructive.

It’s the passion that veils the true agenda that you either serve yourself or others.

Negative passion manifests itself in intensity that repels others. It leads teams headlong into failure. It benefits no one, not even it’s owner.

Mike Myatt’s post on N2Growth’s blog  back in 2011 did a tremendous job in outlining the perils of negative passion. He highlighted some key pitfalls in a distorted reality that skew what positive passion is really about.

I have known first hand many, many leaders who have unfortunately justified their own behavior because, as they advertise, “I’m just passionate about what I do.” This is supposed to be a veil for their bursts of anger, micromanagement, steamrolling, and self-promotion. They attempt to build, energize, direct, and charge forward. What they actually accomplish is sabotage, demoralization, resistance, and fear. They also kill their credibility and then eventually leave the organization to infuse another team with their “passion”.

Positive passion – true passion – inspires. It elevates others to greater performance. It makes everything resonate with synergy and drives the vision forward. It is the only thing that build lasting success. Positive passion builds the great companies and nations of this world. Negative passion has been the force that destroys them.

Mike Myatt is correct in his summary:

“I applaud those of you reading this post who constitute the passionate minority…I would however also counsel you to take pause and evaluate your current positioning and thinking. Are you operating in a vacuum? Do you seek advice and counsel from those who will tell you the truth, or from those who will just tell you what you want to hear? Is your passion creating clarity, focus and purpose, or is it blinding you from seeing the reality of your current situation?”

Make your passion positive, influential, and based on character rather than charisma.


(image courtesy of



About Paul LaRue

My goal - To encourage you to lead & influence others with positive impact.

Posted on May.28.2014, in Leadership. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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