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Last weekend, I enjoyed an unexpected trip – flying for a day over Antarctica!  No, we didn’t land (thank goodness!) but the view leading up to seeing Antarctica for the first time, the icebergs embedded in sea ice, seeing the Casey Research Station and other interesting locations made for an unusual day out.
On the flight to Antarctica, people who had worked at Casey Research Station spoke about their experiences. (spot the Station in the photo!)

As we were flying over Casey Research Station, unbeknownst to us on the plane, people on the ground were waving at us even though we couldn’t see them at all. Who knew that our plane trip was having such a positive impact for the people on the ground?
[Visit here for the photos of the Station staff out looking at and waving at the plane I was flying in]

One of the speakers on the plane had worked at Casey Station and she spoke about her many positive experiences there, what she enjoyed about her research and how she socialised and relaxed in such a remote setting.  She spoke about having BBQs on sea ice and visiting other sites for ‘time out’.  Other speakers talked about the use of modern equipment and the use of advanced scientific approaches as well as the links with other international researchers working across the vast Antarctic continent.  The speakers talked about how the current approaches to research in this harsh environment contrasted markedly with we saw in the on-board documentary about Mawson’s historical scientific expeditions to Antarctica and the efforts that are currently underway to save Mawson’s Huts at Cape Dennison.  These huts are, in fact, six fragile wooden buildings sitting on Antarctica’s most windswept coastline, and there are many passionate people working hard to safeguard these historical sites against degradation and the constant impact of such a harsh environment on man-made buildings.

What struck me the most as I listened to the speakers was how passionate they were about their experiences in Antarctica, their enthusiasm and interest in what they were, or had been doing while they were there, and what a difference their time in Antarctica was having on their life now.  Their passion and enthusiasm literally transcended what they were talking about!  I could hear the emotion and passion in their tone of voice, the pitch, in the nuances, pauses and high points when they spoke.  As I listened, I wanted to hear more about their own journeys – both to physically get to and from Antarctica as well as to return and continue on with the next phase of their life.  I wanted to know more about their physical as well as personal and spiritual journeys as they understood what their experiences had shown them.  Their talks were certainly inspirational on so many levels!

Reflecting on the day’s experience on the trip back to Adelaide, it occurred to me that many, many people have had a number of experiences in life that have resulted in the development of a deep and abiding passion for what they are doing.  I thought a lot about passion and commitment, both for myself and what I have done and continue to do in my own life, as well as what I see in my work with organisations that are striving to be the best they can be and the people around me who have a strong passion for their hobbies or things or people that are important to them.  I thought about the passionate people I have met throughout the years, the way they talked about delving into and feeling immersed in what they were doing and later realising they were in a timeless sort of zone or where they said and did things that they can’t recall ever knowing before.  Frequently, these people say they have found what has the most meaning for them and they are actively doing what they are passionate about.  For many people, this means contributing towards something far bigger than they are individually.  I thought about the people who have left a huge impression in my life and what I have learned as a result of their passion and dedication.  These people continue to inspire me to do my best work too.

When you catch a glimpse of your potential, that’s when passion is born. (Zig Ziglar)

Thinking ahead:

1.    Where is passion evident in your life?  What does this look like?
2.    What can you do to generate more passion in your work?  What needs to change to make this happen more often?
3.    What seemingly impossible things could you achieve if you put more passion into your daily work?  What difference would this make to your customers and to other people working around you?

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