Session #4: Passion 2017.6.8

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Nothing great was ever created without enthusiasm.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

     Sometimes you just know passion when you see it. Walking through the campus of Abercrombie & Fitch, seeing the details and the thoughtful design and architecture, you can just feel the passion that was poured into this place. It was a fitting place to host this year's Passion session. Our guest speaker and Abercrombie CEO, Fran Horowitz, talked about her focus on success and and the passion she puts behind it. You don't just wake up one morning and find you're the CEO of one of the most recognized clothing brands in America. You have to travel a longer and tougher road than that. So, how does this building block of passion play into the success of people like her?

Fran Horowitz, CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch, fields questions from students and coaches at the Passion session.

Fran Horowitz, CEO of Abercrombie & Fitch, fields questions from students and coaches at the Passion session.

     Angela Duckworth, author of Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance, says that people with grit have four psychological assets that they develop over the years: Interest, Practice, Purpose, and Hope. It starts with something that interests you, then you devote skillful practice in pursuit of it's mastery, you find purpose and have conviction that what you are doing matters, and then hope is the thing that keeps your eyes up and looking forward when you get knocked down or start to doubt your efforts or abilities.

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     And not a single thing about all of this is easy! The fires of passion always cast the shadows of sacrifice. To be passionate about something typically means that there are things you may have to give up. That may mean less time watching TV, or less money for phones, or fewer calories, or earlier nights, or later nights, or fewer family dinners around the kitchen table. You get the idea. 

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     "Cinderella story", "rags to riches", "worst to first", "from the mail room to the boardroom", "climb the corporate ladder". These familiar phrases exist because there are more examples than you can count of people overcoming less than perfect circumstances by developing their passion for something and letting it drive them to their goal. Notice the word "develop". We are not born with passion but it grows when we discover something worth doing, something worth pursuing. And we like it. Maybe we even love it! And, dare I add, that one major factor is that Passion has nothing to do with where you come from (who your parents are, geographic location, financial standing, skin color, ethnicity), only where you decide you are going.

     We often hear it said that someone has a passion for acting, or a passion for photography, or someone could even have a passion for stamp collecting or managing a pizza place or for teaching. It seems that when we apply the term to someone we are saying that they have found something that in their mind or their heart is something worth pursuing, or something worth focusing on. It is an individual decision to assign a greater worth to something than most other people would.

                                                          What's your passion?