4 Dysfunctional Myths of Leadership Passion

Published September 26, 2016

As I write this article, I am on vacation with my family. I needed to get away…we needed to get away. What we discovered was that we were trying to do life on an empty passion bucket. Our family was just going through the motions every day and we were living for the weekend. At work, I was finding myself exhausted and feeling unproductive. We even noticed it in our kids— they were cranky and visibly discontent with life.

We had all lost our passion.  Ever happen to you?

And, the bigger issue was that we weren’t taking necessary steps to refill our passion buckets.  Instead, we were buying into myths that not only didn’t fill our passion buckets, but also caused even bigger dysfunction in our work and our home. We were spiraling deeper into a passionless black hole.

I would imagine there are dysfunctional myths you’ve believed when your passion bucket was low or on empty. You have probably believed some of these myths and quickly found them void of anything helpful. Or, you’re still buying into them and you haven’t identified them as dysfunctional myths.

In an effort to help you move from dysfunction to a full passion bucket, here are four myths  I’ve found myself buying into far too often:

  1. Those I lead can be passionate even if I’m not. I often found myself confused and frustrated when those I lead weren’t showing passion about their work. I couldn’t understand why they weren’t fired up and excited about what they were doing. Then, it hit me—they are only going to have as much passion as they see in me. It is my responsibility to be passionate and then pass that passion onto them.
  1. I can fake it and no one will notice. When my passion bucket is on empty, I would regularly try to fake it and hope it would then ignite something in me and those around me. But, the truth is passion must be genuine and authentic. Faked passion is not only exhausting, it can also cause those you lead to become completely turned off to any direction where you’re trying to lead them.
  1. I can copy someone else’s passion. We’ve all read that article or heard that leader who we admire speak at a conference and we want to emulate their passion. And that can be noble. What isn’t so noble is when we simply try to copy their passion. We try to give their speech or we read their words from a magazine article and try to pass it off as our own. Borrowed and copied passion will quickly wear you out and cause you to lose sight of the unique vision God has given you for your organization.
  1. My passion bucket will fill back up on its own. I’ve bought into the myth that my passion bucket is on empty because I’m in a “season” or because I’ve hit a “lull.” If I’m being honest, I use those statements when I don’t want to take the steps to fill my passion bucket. They’re excuses that lead me to believe I don’t have to fix the problem. The truth is that my passion bucket will never fill back up on its own—I must take intentional steps to refill it…like take a vacation! 🙂

So, after you’ve assessed where your passion bucket is—on full, on empty or somewhere in between—the next step is to assess what you’re doing about it. Are you taking steps that will actually help you re-fill your passion bucket or are you buying into dysfunctional myths that are only making the problem worse?

The great thing is that it’s not too late! You can take steps today that will help you move away from myths and toward the truths to help you fill your passion bucket.

About the Author(s)
Tim Parsons serves as lead pastor at The Journey Church outside Indianapolis, a host site for the GLS. His passion is to help people lead better—at work and at home.

Tim Parsons

Lead Pastor

The Journey Church (Indianapolis, IN)

Tim Parsons serves as lead pastor at The Journey Church outside Indianapolis. With a passion to help people lead better at work and at home, his church has been a longtime partner with us as a Premier Host for The Global Leadership Summit. He is the co-author of the new devotional for men, Equipping the Warrior and author of the soon to be released 40-day devotional on spiritual health, The Journey. You can  connect with Tim at timparsons.me.