Energy-Filled People What Makes Them Consistently Passionate?
I was recently traveling with my wife, Joanne, to Miami on American Airlines in a small plane of about fifty people. Joanne unbuckled her seatbelt to go to the restroom. By the time she made it to the back of the plane, we started experiencing severe turbulence, and she was not able to walk back to her seat. Knowing she is twenty-one weeks pregnant, I thought to myself, No. This is not happening.
The shaking was so strong that the pilot ordered the flight attendants to immediately sit down and buckle up. I closed down my computer, put up my tray and started praying. I was not afraid of dying, but I was worried about Joanne. I’ve read the statistics about people injured on flights when they were not securely buckled during turbulence. I saw her walk into the bathroom. I was imagining her and our unborn baby being tossed around in that small space. All I could do was look backward hoping to see or hear something.
After the first twenty seconds, and during the most severe part of the turbulence, I saw one flight attendant literally crawling on the floor, bracing her body, stretched horizontally like a soldier in battle. She extended her arm upward toward the door handle and opened the door of the bathroom to check on Joanne. I saw them talking for a brief moment.
I later found out that she had instructed my wife to calmly sit down and hold on to the handles in the bathroom. After a few minutes, the turbulence lifted, and Joanne came back to her seat safely—thank God—followed by the flight attendant. We were both so stunned by the flight attendant’s actions, putting herself in danger to give instructions to my wife. She could have easily sat in her chair, safely buckled in, and talked to Joanne through the door.
Later, this same woman came to offer drinks and pretzels or cookies. She had such a bright smile and radiance about her. She offered the packages as if she were serving a seven-course meal. I accidentally dropped a small piece of my cookie on the floor. As I was reaching down to pick it up, she quickly handed me a brand new cookie. The young man in front of me eagerly took one cookie, so the flight attendant quickly reached in her bag to offer him a second one.
Joanne and I talked to her and thanked her for the amazing service she gave us. She told us about her family and how she likes flying on smaller planes so she can make it back home at night to be with her family. She said, “I love flying.” I don’t know about you, but in the past ten years, my impression of the service on commercial airlines has been less than stellar. Most airline staff seem tired, jaded, and ready to get off their shift—but not this woman.
I left that flight thinking: People who do their work with such consistent passion are a minority. When we leave their presence, they leave us feeling energized. I have always wondered if these people are innately passionate people, or are they just passionate about their work? Meaning, do they do everything with such passion, or just the specific work we see them perform, and then the rest of their life is met with ordinary energy or mediocrity?
I asked myself: How can I maintain such enthusiasm?
I asked myself: How can I hire people with such enthusiasm?
I asked myself: How can I lead in a manner that inspires such enthusiasm?
These people, I call energy-filled people, have an internal fire. They see work as a privilege, not a necessary evil. They see service as an honor, not a chore. They see people as a mission, not an annoyance. They don’t just do the minimum to avoid getting fired; they do the maximum to make an impact on others. They are excellent in everything they do. They take pride in their work, whether it is cleaning floors or performing brain surgery. They are simply impressive.
I am always honored to work with such colleagues. May we all hire, recognize, appreciate, learn from, and support the people on our teams who are energy-filled people.
May we become that person.
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