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English: Sir Richard Branson at the eTalk Fest...

Image via Wikipedia

There are a few business leaders who really stand out as creative thinkers. The ones who immediately come to mind for me are Richard Branson, Paul Graham, and,  Steve Jobs. Each one is a visionary, each one unique. They are, at once, inspired and inspirational, forward thinking leaders who posses a natural charisma. I have often wondered what allows these attributes to flourish in some of us and pass the rest of us by. It doesn’t seem to have anything to do with formal education or a particular upbringing. There is another elusive element at work here.

Something they all seem to have in common is a passion for what they do and a monumental confidence. That’s some combination. But where does that confidence and passion come from? Are some of us just naturally confident or, is confidence something we need to build up, like a muscle?  If each small success builds on the one before it then confidence should be the result. And success builds confidence, right?

But passion is different; it seems to be related to inspiration and looking for inspiration can be, well, elusive. We may be inspired by a book, a movie, a song, or a walk in the woods, but that is relatively fleeting. The inspiration that leads to the type of passion that results in real action is not time bound, it’s a state of being. It’s where people like Richard Branson live.

I’m pretty sure these guys don’t get up in the morning looking for something to inspire them. And they certainly aren’t waiting around for the spirit to move them.

Update: Steve Jobs, now deceased, continues to be an inspiration to many. His passion for his work is well known and his legacy continues at Apple, Pixar and with those who carry on where he left off. That passion may not always have been easy to be around but the result of that passion is undeniable.