February – Letters From Lisa

Passion is defined as a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something. 

Whenever I think about passion, I immediately think of my family’s Westie, Lucy. She has a passion – actually an obsession – for tennis balls. She will fetch a typical 2.5-inch tennis ball until she is physically not able to move or you have gone crazy throwing it for her. She will fetch it out of water, a cactus or a basket. Even when the ball ends up in a place where things won’t go well, she finds it and brings it back. She perseveres. This obsession doesn’t stop with a 9-inch tennis ball. Remember, she is a Westie (9 – 11 inches tall). She responds to this ball like a cutting horse with a calf. You move the ball right, she goes right. You move the ball left, she goes left. It’s truly hard to throw it past her. She can move it through an entire 4,000-square-foot house going around, through or over any obstacle and ALWAYS bring it back to you.

In business, they say you cannot teach the intangible
quality that separates average business people from
inspiring leaders . . . they are obsessed with what they do. Lucy would agree. She would tell you the things you are passionate about won’t leave you alone. They’re the ideas, hopes and possibilities your mind naturally gravitates to, the things you would focus your time and attention on for no other reason than that doing them feels right.

So what is your tennis ball? This same question came from a terrific commencement speech given at MIT last year by Dropbox founder Drew Houston. Houston explained, “The most successful people are obsessed with solving something that matters to them. They remind me of a dog chasing a tennis ball.” To increase your chances of happiness and success, Houston said, you must “find your tennis ball—the thing that pulls you.”

So this month, find that thing that pulls you and let it drive your work. If your work is your tennis ball – it won’t be work; instead you will have to force
yourself to go to bed because you will be chasing it without even realizing
the time on the clock.


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