The Difference Between Passion and Purpose

“We’re short of leaders and trees.” Paul Polman

I attended an awesome webinar this week organised by the Global Executive Leadership Initiative with Paul Polman as the key speaker.

The biggest takeaway for me was Paul’s distinction between passion and purpose, and how understanding the difference is a critical element of leadership.

Passion is doing something you care about and enjoy – pursuing your dreams. [Nothing wrong with that].

Purpose, however, is about putting yourself in service of others.

This separation of passion and purpose makes huge sense to me. There has been a lot said over the last few years about ‘finding your passion’, and how that leads to ‘success’. While that works for some people, for others, it falls short …

We face some big challenges in the coming years. Addressing them will take courage, trust, collaboration – and clear purpose.

As Paul said: “To be a leader, first you need to be a great human being.”

And that’s something we can all work on.

PS Much more on this in Paul and Andrew Winston‘s book, ‘Net Positive‘, which is essential reading for all business leaders.


Weekly [digital] email to help navigate the [analogue] world …

Weekly [digital] email to help navigate the [analogue] world …