“When you are passionate, you always have your destination in sight and you are not distracted by obstacles”.
– Mike Krzyzewski, Beyond Basketball: Coach K’s Keywords to Success

Passion can be tricky sometimes. For some, it drives them to do better than they did before. They push each day to find that little thing that makes them a better ball player, a better son/daughter, husband/wife, a better student or teacher. They work hard, fueling by that desire to be the best, or at least better than the day before.

Passion for others can be an obsession. These people have the fire as the above mentioned people, but push themselves to extreme levels, over working, denying their body, their mind, or their soul what it needs to thrive. Their passion leads them down a path they may not have wanted to travel, but feel unable to stop.

As I watch my students, I wonder what are they passionate about? Two of my 8th grade team members are taking a class on character, and they talk about things it kids are passionate about as buy in for our classes. I’ve got students who are passionate about gaming, Iowa State, their teammates, and so forth (by all means, check out our students Slice of Lifers as well). I worry about their high school years, because these passions, are they enough to sustain them when they are called “stupid” for gaming? A “dumb jock” for enjoying sports? A “band/music geek” because they love to sing or play? Will that passion continue to drive them, or will drift away as teens at our HS question it?

I look at myself. My passion for running/exercising is gone with my health issues I’ve had. I just cannot find that mojo I had a year ago. I’ve found I enjoy writing, but have been told I’m not very good at it, that always dampens things down a little bit. I love to read, but who has time with 80+ assessments to look over per week? And basketball, yeah, that’s done until next year as well. It bums me out that many of the things I love, seem far away from me right now. Those dull days of early spring where you want to be outside, but can’t, yes, that where I am right now.

However, all is not lost! It will be spring soon in Iowa (I know yesterday was the first day, but today, it is cold!), and I’ll be able to get out into the garden, which does bring some relief. We are eating out of our freezer the veggies stored over winter, and enjoy the canned fruits and other things we’ve put up. Gardening (minus the weeds) is certainly a passion.

My bike is tuned up, so I’m hoping that if I cannot run, that I’ll be able to ride, and release some of that energy (and weight) by seeing the countryside on two wheels.

I spend most of Sunday, feeling my basketball passion (obsession) watching NCAA basketball. I’m thinking about next year’s 8th graders and what we can do differently as a team because the make up of this team is so much different.

As you think about what drives you, don’t make it an obstacle. Don’t allow what you do to become so much a priority, that you lose why you like it. I love gardening, but yet, if we have the chance to go on a vacation this year, bye bye garden for two weeks! I love basketball, and could see myself coaching a long time, but know I have to shut it off in the spring or my wife will string me up (once played close to Easter, that was pushing it).

So my question to you: What’s your passion? What keeps you up late or gets you up early? Is it a passion or obsession? Is it something controllable or do you find yourself in trouble because of it? 🙂