What passion looks like

When I got sick, one of the first things I had to do to get better was learn to give myself shots in the stomach. The very first time I had to do it, I sat on a hospital bed with Johannes across from me and the nurse beside me, and I cried. And when I say cried, I mean I bawled harder than I have ever bawled in my adult existence. My whole body heaved with the impossibility of the task.

Johannes sat cringing next to me. He had just spent four years studying to be a doctor, and for him, this was like opening your eyes in the morning. For me, it was like the nightmares I have where I’m falling and don’t know where I’ll land. It was pure terror.

I couldn’t do it. The nurse left the room, and Johannes looked at me with disgust.

And then.

And then, something inside me flipped. I stopped crying. The nurse came back in. She handed me the needle, and I did it. As simple as pushing a button into the button hole, I pushed the needle into my stomach. And when I got home, I had to lie on my couch and do it every night all alone, and I did it then too.

After this, there were several more visits to the ER, an eventual surgery, and when it was all done, when it was finally all finished, I felt euphoric. Euphoria enveloped me for all that I had been through; for all that I had fought against and won.

You have to work hard, and sometimes you have to gloriously muck something up to be really successful later. Why we’re always so afraid of conflict, diversity, adversity has never made sense to me. I have no patience for people who are sanctimoniously happy all the time. It means they haven’t taken enough risks.

Success is directly related to how hard you push yourself.

I write about how difficult the process of becoming a leader is, the problems I’ve had transitioning, how life is just plain hard sometimes, to illustrate that once you find your passion it’s not all about birds chirping and bunny rabbits frolicking.

Of course, that’s part of it; right now, for instance, I am really excited. I just had a great meeting with those in my organization. We’re getting closer and closer to rocking out. You know, like, the lip-singing-dancing-around-the-living-room-jumping-for-joy kind of rocking out. But in a Board Room.

And that makes me happy. Especially because I worked hard to prepare for that meeting. Really hard. Our database hates me with a vengeance hard. Sixteen or seventeen meetings a week hard. Like, my apartment is messy an hour after I clean it hard.

I generally spend every waking moment thinking and acting on how we’re going to rock it. So when things go well, that feeling of euphoria – of happiness to the point of enlightenment – is because I’ve pushed myself farther than I’ve ever gone before. Just like when I was sick.

So, it’s hard. And it’s work. And sometimes it’s pure terror. But that’s passion in a nutshell. You wake up and you can’t imagine doing anything else. You do it because there is no other way to be.

Be working to be rocking.