November 1, 2011

Can Others Feel Your Passion?

Passion is a fun thing to see in action. No, I'm not talking about the kind of passion that makes teenagers blush or television executives cringe. I'm talking about seeing people do what they love to do. When they are great at it, it just adds to the intensity of those experiencing the action, service or performance.

For example, I have some buddies who love to play basketball but they'll never be mistaken for Michael Jordan. They love it...but they aren't great at it. I love to golf but even if I play well on a given day I am not going to make people "ooh" and "ahh" at my shot making ability like a Rory McIlroy or a Phil Mickelson.

I've written a bunch about passion. I've written about P-A-S-S-I-O-N as an acronym; I've written about people's passion for what they do.

Today, I got to see passion in action.

I had lunch today with my Mom and Kevin, my brother, and Lindsey Margaroli. Lindsey is the Interim Executive Director for Advancement with the College of Engineering at The Ohio State University. In layman's terms, I guess you could say she is a fund raiser...but in even more basic terms, she is a salesperson. And she is proud if it.

Her job every day involves building relationships, solving problems and having fun. Her job involves "selling" people on The Ohio State University, the College of Engineering, the dream of becoming an engineer, the growth and development of the school and really, her job is to sell "being a Buckeye." You're going to be a Buckeye," "you are a Buckeye" or "remember what it meant to you when you were a Buckeye?"

You can just tell by spending a few minutes with Lindsey that she loves what she does. She knew people in the restaurant by name and many knew her by name too.  At the very least, many knew her by her face and her smile. In just one quick pass through the seating area before we ordered, she connected with the Chair of The School of Architecture and the interim Chair of the School of Landscape Architecture (the same department my father proudly served in from 1971 through 2000). Lindsey knew the server who was waiting on us by name and knew of his progress through school to this point. They even discussed his choice of post-graduate plans. 

This wasn't Lindsey "stacking the deck" to impress us. She has dealt with much bigger donors that The Carpenters and was even off to a privately hosted dinner with a big school supporter in Cincinnati later in the day. This wasn't about securing a check today. This was about a chance to further develop a relationship.

She is just really good at what she does. People can feel that.

It also wasn't about her.

She was genuinely interested in my Mom's upcoming trip to New York City to see the Book of Mormon on Broadway. She asked about Kevin's current workload in his engineering career and his family. She inquired about my reasons and decision to attend The University of Florida. She was eagerly engaged with our answers and we knew it.

Do people feel your passion for what you do?

Do your clients sense your desire to help them "solve a problem" or can they hear you calculating the commission in your head before the deal has closed? Does your body language and tone of voice let people know that you are "on your game"?

The more you can do every day to make people feel special, the better chance you have of success today, tomorrow and into the future. Whether Lindsey gets donations, sponsorships, endowments, or agreements from her clients or not isn't going to threaten the Ohio State University from staying open for a long time to come. A lot would have to happen for OSU to shut down and close it's doors.

Along the same lines, whether you list another home, sign another buyer or close another deal isn't going to determine if the real estate industry is alive tomorrow or not. Someone is going to buy a house tomorrow and someone is going to sell a house tomorrow. And the day after that...and the day after that...and the day after that.

Lindsey's efforts and passion each day will however, insure that the students, faculty and staff get the best opportunity to become and create successful engineers and members of society and that the alumni and supporters of the school will be proud of their Alma mater and what it represents.

Your efforts and passion each day will insure that you can show up each day and head home each night knowing that you did your best...because that's all you can do.