Issue 45

UTD Coaching News

Turning Passion Into Action

     by Suzanne Maxwell, PhD, PCC

As a coach, I am most passionate about helping people accomplish what is really important to short, turning their passion into action.  Think about your friends, family, and colleagues.  How many of them can actually say “I love what I do,” or “I’m living my passion” or
“Even if I weren’t paid, I’d still want to do this.” Can you count them on one hand? Can you count yourself?

Passion is an intense emotion compelling feeling, enthusiasm or desire for something.  In my experience, the biggest problem faced by most people is making their passion come alive. Think of something that you are truly passionate about. Create a clear picture of your passion in your head and, to yourself, complete the sentence “I am passionate about <fill-in-the-blank>.”

Perhaps you filled in the blank with a statement in which your passion is:

  • a topic – I am passionate about discussing politics
  • an idea – I am passionate about universal health care
  • a cause – I am passionate about finding a cure for breast cancer
  • an object – I am passionate about horses

A statement about passion is just that – a statement.  In order for your passion to come alive, a shift must occur – you must move beyond a statement about feelings or desires to acting in ways that enable you to demonstrate your passion.  This shift is not a simple or smooth process; as a matter of the fact, it is likely to be much more complex than anticipated and a bit of a bumpy ride. 

Applying a mnemonic for the word passion, a step-by-step process is presented below that can be used to help turn P-A-S-S-I-O-N into action. 

Perceive Your Purpose

In Step 1, define the big picture that reflects your passion – and the bigger, the better!

What do you want?

Why are you doing this?

What do you want to create to demonstrate your passion?

What makes life meaningful to you?

How do you want to make a contribution to the world?

Aim Your Energy

To move forward in Step 2, you need a smaller, more focused picture – the more focused, the better!

What will your focus be?

What is your first goal?

What is achievable?

What is your next step?

What is the finish line?

Survey Reality

Now that you have defined a direction, Step 3 encourages you to become curious – very curious – about what currently exists in reality.

What’s here now?

How do things currently work?

What levers do you have for change?

What resources – physical, intellectual, emotional, and social – are available to you?

Set Your Course

Step 4 involves using all the discoveries from Steps 1 through 3 to lay out a plan for action.

What will you do?

How will you get to where you want to be?

What actions will move you forward?

What do you need to start doing, or stop doing, to make this happen?

What do you need and how will you get it?

How will you hold yourself accountable?

Initiate Action

Step 5 could also be called the “Nike Step” – Just do it!  A mentor once told me that “the universe rewards action” so it is now time to get busy!

What bold actions are you taking?

What are you exploring? 

What opportunities do you see?

What obstacles or barriers have you discovered?

Observe Progress

Step 6 is when you hit the “pause” button and take time to think about your progress. 

What feedback did you receive?

What changed?

What do you know now that you didn’t know before?

What must shift to create success?

What must you do to effectively re-engage?


Step 7 is the “Now what?” step.  You have completed what you set out to do and are ready to move on to your next big thing – continuing to grow by turning your passion into action. 

What do you want now?

What might you continue to do?

What might you do that is new?

What is another opportunity?

Think about your passion.  Reflect on these 7 steps.  Did you experience one of the following?

  • A confirmation that you are indeed living your passion and your actions are moving you towards what you really want to create


  • An awareness that your “passion into action” plan could use a little work and you now know what you need to do


  • A wake up call that you may be significantly off track and you need to refocus your energies to achieve what is important to you

Remember:  PASSION is a NOUN desperately in need of a VERB in order to come to LIFE and have an IMPACT

© 2011  Maxwell Group. All rights reserved.

Dr. Suzanne L. Maxwell, graduate of Cohort 1, is an executive coach and consultant who partners with clients to identify and solve their most pressing business issues and achieve desired business results. With over 20 years of domestic and international business experience, Suzanne’s coaching and consulting combines her deep understanding of the human and social behavior with knowledge gained through practical business experience with individuals, teams and organizations. She received her PhD from Texas A&M University and her MA and BA from University of Memphis.  In addition to being recognized as a Professional Certified Coach (PCC) by the International Coach Federation, she received a Graduate Certification in Alternative Dispute Resolution from Southern Methodist University. 






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