I am a passionate person. I am passionate about issues, about people in my life, my hobbies and my business. I know that word is over used but I love the energy I get from being passionate. I thrive being around passionate people even when they don’t share my views. I enjoy the opportunity to listen, learn, revise and defend my beliefs, although my friends would laugh and tell you I am usually more likely to defend than to listen. I am working on that.
The day to day structure of life and life’s chores and routine can sometimes sap the passion out of life. We put our life on auto pilot – go to work, come home from work, meetings, reports, laundry, grocery shopping, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and all the other mundane tasks that fill our day.
Break the cycle. Reaching out to challenge ourselves can recharge passion.
A few months ago I was asked to teach four classes in two days on Production and Operations Management at Northern Arizona University College of Business. I love to teach so I accepted the challenge, although I was not sure if I could fill seventy five minutes with wisdom and stories - especially on Production and Operations Management. In fact as a marketing and management major it was one of my least favorite classes.
I am fortunate to lead a fascinating business at Stowebridge Promotion Group where we source or produce over a million products that carry your message and keeps your brand in front of customers. It is advertising that customers say thank you for, remember, keep and use. We are unique in that we have a large production facility where we create many exciting products in house.
As I prepared for the class, I found that I use so many of the principles taught in that course - in fact, these lessons might be ones I use the most. And, I quickly found that seventy five minutes with a group of business students who truly want to know what it’s really like out there, flies. Most students have not had the opportunity to experience life in the professional business world that they have selected as their major. They were anxious to learn anything I could teach them. I could tell from their questions that they were building connections between my comments and what they had learned in their business classes. Before and after class I had the opportunity to meet with some fascinating students one on one. Their excitement, their questions, their outlook on life refreshes me in ways I never expected. It reminds me why I went into business in the first place.
Students in our universities everywhere are hungry for the real world. Even if you are nervous speaking in front of groups, this is an easy group because they are so eager to hear stories and learn about your experiences.
I am fortunate to be associated with Northern Arizona University William A Franke College of Business where bringing the real world into the classroom is already a priority. Many of the professors have had full careers in business before transitioning to teaching. Small class sizes make it easier for the student to interact with the professor as well as any outside speakers. They involve the alumni in panel discussions, mentoring, shadowing, and a group of students were recently selected to spend time with Warren Buffet – an all expense paid trip for these students.
Someone asked me if I thought spending two days out of the office was a good use of my time. ABSOLUTELY! Spending time teaching and meeting with students before and after classes for a conversation recharges my energy, excites me. It brings back my passion. I am a better leader when I return. I am excited and re-energized again as we serve our customers. The day to day cobwebs are cleaned out and blown away.
While I was there to help them, I was the real winner of the two days I spent teaching.
I know for many the thought of standing in front of a group to speak is truly frightening. But you can still be involved. It does not have to be a classroom presentation or lecture – there is also a real need for mentors for students, whether it is a long term commitment or just a short one time session.
Sharing your stories and passion for your business with a group of students who want to soak up your knowledge and experience is invigorating.
Giving back – sharing your story, whether in front of an entire class or just one on one with a student - recharges passion.
So now are you up to challenge to RECHARGE?