Passion, Prowess and Gratitude

June 15, 2019

I dropped the ball on my daily writing habit the past few days. 

I knew it would happen eventually I just didn’t think it would happen so soon after recommitting.  In my defense I’ve been busy, sort of.  While I haven’t had time to write about it, I have had the distinct pleasure of witnessing 2 shining examples of passion, leading to prowess and gratitude. 

The first example occurred on Wednesday night.  As a thank-you for all my hard work over the past several months my director gave me four tickets to a rock concert by 1980’s pop legend Corey Hart.  I was given the tickets, in a luxury box no less, as an expression of gratitude for closing a big deal.  I turned around and, along with my wife invited two friends as a thanks to them for supporting our journey through life unconditionally for years. 

For his part Hart, who stepped away from live performance in 1999 to be a full-time dad, put on one of the most passionate and gracious shows I have ever seen.  Pausing mid set, and even mid song, to acknowledge the fans, with waves and comments like “I see you, nice T-shirt” to a fan wearing a Fields of Fire shirt from 1986, taking a placard from another and signing it during a guitar solo, inviting other on stage during her favorite song and even taking a walk through the middle of the crowd to take selfies. 

It was obvious that Corey Hart is passionate about his music and loves to perform, which makes the fact that he was willing to set it all aside for 20 years for the sake of his family all the more remarkable.  At one point he showed a video of himself explaining to his 14-year-old son why he had done it and why he felt that now was the time for him to launch a come back.  His son said that he appreciated everything Hart had done for him and that by his example he knew that whatever he wanted to do he would do it with passion.  After the video played Hart told the audience that 20 years ago, he never imagined that his fans would welcome him back with so much passion of their own and he was extremely grateful.

The next night I witnessed history when the Toronto Raptors won the NBA Championship.   After the game, while the players and coaches were celebrating on the court, I was struck by the gratitude everyone involved was showing for their families and the fans.  Kyle Lowry, (point-guard) was taking photos with his two children, Nick Nurse (head-coach) gave an interview with his son on his hip.  Every one of them expressed gratitude to family and fans for supporting them on their various journeys to the top of the basketball world.

It seems to me that passion is a prerequisite to success.  But it’s not enough by itself.  Passionate people need to be supported.  At first, they need the support of family and friends, next they need coaches and mentors, and lastly, they need fans and supporters who are willing to put down their own time and money to fuel the drive. 

Nothing kills passion faster than un-supportive parents and friends.  I shutter to think what the world might have lost if Corey Hart’s mother hadn’t paid for piano lessons and stood by him while and sent demo tapes to the likes of Billy Joel as a teenager.   And nothing fuels passion like gratitude.

Gratitude has a double benefit.  When we are grateful, we provide the fuel that motivates people to continue to support us.  They feel appreciated and out of their own sense of gratitude they continue to provide the support passionate people need to continue working on their dreams.  It’s a positive feedback loop that just keeps growing and leads to the last aspect that I witnessed, prowess.

Without passion and gratitude Corey Hart never would have put in the time and effort it took to write chart topping songs like “Sunglasses at Night” and “Never Surrender”.  Without passion and gratitude Kyle Lowry, Kawhi Leonard and the rest of the Toronto Raptors never would have spent the time in the gym that it takes to climb to the top of the NBA.  Without passion and gratitude, I never would have survived the last few years in business. 

What are you passionate about and to whom are you grateful for supporting you?  Show it.  I promise, gratitude will be the fuel that propels you to even greater heights.

Here’s a cell phone video I took of Corey Hart performing one of his biggest hits of the 80s.  It’s hard to see but I think you can tell that everyone, including him, is loving every second of it.

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