One of the words to look out for when interviewing or evaluating someone is passion. This word is perceived as indicative of the person having a strong commitment and drive on a certain subject – something that adds to their value proposition. But one of the things that people learn to do is to include words like passion, expertise, and leadership in their dialogue, so as to impress the listener. So how can you distinguish real passion from just enthusiasm or a fake self-diagnosis?
1. Passion is always supported by deep knowledge and drive.
Somebody who is truly passionate about a subject should be able to engage in a dialogue that demonstrates their commitment to research, insight and knowledge. To use the word ‘passionate’, without being able to back this up with evidence of this, just shows enthusiasm. Enthusiasm, by the way, is also incredibly positive, and shouldn’t be discounted. But a passion for a subject creates self-driven purpose to dig deep, learn and become informed enough to show a high degree of knowledge and insight.
2. Passion is demonstrated by a desire to learn.
When passion is present, the desire to learn is high. This should be evident by the person demonstrating continual curiosity and intrigue, rather than self-proclaimed expertise. Agreed, a passionate person is likely to show their credibility when discussing the topic in question. But because they have a desire to learn and discover, this is rarely characterized by a need to dominate the airwaves. Should this be the case, then passion has been overtaken by arrogance.
3. Passion lasts.
A person who purports to have a passion for something is someone who can demonstrate a track-record of commitment to this, rather than just flirtation. Evidence based questioning is always helpful to expose true passion. Ask for examples of application and demonstrations of innovation. These will show how truly passionate a person is. They are also likely to be aware of important texts and recent research in the subject.
Spending time with people of passion is an incredibly stimulating experience. Their energy and drive create a dynamic that builds credibility, belief and an excitement to learn.