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The best days of your life

Do you get out much?

I do.

Morning, noon and night!

I probably attend more breakfast networking meetings than is good for me; at lunchtimes I try to walk for 30 minutes; and in the evenings I have many outside interests, as well as a family and friends to see.

People say I enjoy life to the full.

A lady I met this morning seemed to recognise my passion for my work after just a couple of minutes’ conversation (a conversation, by the way, in which I felt I had spoken for considerably less than 50% of the time!)

“I bet you’ve wanted to do that since you were a kid haven’t you?” she asked.

She was wrong. I had no idea what I wanted to do when I was a teenager. Indeed, I always envied kids at school who did have ambitions as I reckoned having a long-term aim in life made their schoolwork much easier and more palatable!

But I was very lucky eventually to find myself working at something I love doing and I guess it was that sense of well-being she picked up on.

Just then, our host – for it was a business breakfast meeting we were at – began to address the attendees. Martin, vice-principal of the academy school we were visiting, began with a short history of the academy and then described some of its achievements.

After hearing him talk for just two or three minutes people around me were visibly moved by what he was saying. I may not have been reaching for my hankie like some around me, but my jaw dropped open all the same.

The academy had been formed out of the ashes of the two worst-performing schools in the area. Their students were from some of the most deprived backgrounds, often from families where two or three generations were long-term unemployed. Many of the kids’ aspirations were identical and unrealistic: ‘Celeb’, model or footballer.

Some students had not only never seen a seaside town, they’d never even seen the next town!

In this environment how does one measure success? Is academic achievement the only yardstick?

The academy’s exam results were better year-on-year, but Martin freely admitted there was much left to do. But he also believed that giving kids basic life-skills and a concept about a big wide world was extremely important and it was hard not to agree when you found that many of them had never been to a theatre or read a book, would be unable to open a bank account or cook a meal.

Amazingly the academy is now over-subscribed with applicants for next year. I guess local people can sense the passion and drive of the teaching staff as their reputation spreads.

It seems to me that those of us with a passion for life are extremely fortunate. Where it comes from I’m still not really sure, nor do I know how to help others find their own passion.

What I do know is that genuine passion for what you do is very compelling for your customers. Equally, lack of said passion for your business could well be a turn-off for your potential customers.

You can’t fake it. You can’t buy it. And you can’t succeed without it.

Have you got it?

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