We sat through a presentation by a local non-profit/human services agency recently and had one of those “ah-HAH!!! moments.” What’s more, I could tell from the looks on the faces of the other folks in the audience, it was hitting home with them this exact same way, too. 

That really made me stop and think.

The presenter’s organization was not the only one of its kind working in its category, and yet it came across much, much different from the others.

When I asked myself why this organization was impressing the audience so dramatically and memorably in the presentation, I finally realized that it was the presenter! Her wide-and-deep knowledge of the topic helped, of course.  But it was her passion as she spoke, as well as the obvious passion with which she approached building and growing her organization, that shined through in everything she said and did. It’s a passion that’s palpable. And every time she presents in public, she puts on a clinic about branding, i.e. standing out in the crowd.  I believe in this so thoroughly and fervently, she seems to be saying, I have convinced myself I can overcome, and we can overcome, the considerable odds against our success.

Gradually it dawned on me that what is missing in many organizations as they plot their course against competitors is this very element of passion. The kind of commitment that conveys a life-or-death importance to one’s work, and the conviction to win in the vital contest. It’s something like that old expression, “it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.” It’s a quality that can’t be faked, if you don’t already have it to begin with. But it can be acquired if you work at it.

Learn about passion from one of the best we have ever come across. Check out The Magic Paintbrush Project and make it a point to meet Jennfier O’Brien, their project manager.

She has been honored by Nabisco as one of “100 Extraordinary Women.” She’s also been the subject of stories in Time, People, Entertainment Weekly, and other national media.


Pete Cronk, Managing Partner