One of my all-time favorite books is Warren Buffett’s biography, Tap Dancing to Work. Buffett is a man of passion who continues to love what he does. Well into his 80s he keeps doing what he’s been doing because of passion, not for money. In fact, Buffett has pledged to give away 99 percent of his wealth either during his life or after his death.
A person committed to giving away his wealth is motivated by more than just financial gain. He could retire any time, and could have done so when he was 40, yet he continues to work with the same level of commitment and focus as he did then. But why would you retire when you are passionate about what you do?
Warren Buffett is one of the few prominent figures I refer to in this book, and most would consider him to be far from ordinary. Although I have never met him, people who write about him clearly regard him as a thoughtful leader, and I have come to see him that way too. I believe we can learn from his example. Buffett has mastered his domain of finance and investments and has become successful. He has reached this level of success not just because he has a higher intellect, works harder, or is luckier than the rest of us, but because of his passion for what he does.
When people love what they do, mastering and succeeding at that activity is the result, not the purpose. Success comes as a by-product of the passion. One should not concentrate on success or profit, but on passion. Rewards and success will come, or not come. It is the passion that matters and makes a difference.
This blog post is an excerpt from my book The Ordinary Leader: 10 Key Insights for Building and Leading a Thriving Organization. Available on Amazon.