Passion. It’s something I think a lot about. No, not the passion you find in novels with pictures of Fabio on the cover. But the passion you need to accomplish great things. Because ability without passion limits what you can accomplish, but ability married to passion leads to great things.
This was on vivid display this past Friday at the annual Wright Memorial Dinner in Washington, D.C. This yearly event honors someone who has married passion and ability to do great things and shape the aviation industry. This year, the awardee was Gen. Thomas Stafford, an astronaut, pilot
and leader whose imprint is embedded on so much aviation history. Four former winners of the Wright Trophy were there, Gene Cernan, Norm Mineta, John Glenn and Neil Armstrong. Those folks personify what I’m talking about. And I was so pleased to see some of the younger folks at ACI-NA who were in attendance who were so thrilled to be in the presence of these great leaders.
Recently, I was speaking to a friend of mine who is seen as a leader in the global aviation and tourism industry. I asked how she came by her passion for what she does. She talked about her dad who was a pilot in rural Canada, flying with him when she was young, learning to fly herself and embarking on a consequential career in our industry. So hers was almost inherited, almost romantic in nature.
I came by mine later, when I worked in state government and saw how aviation can lead to economic growth and opportunity. To me, aviation is the single most important development in economic history and it is exciting to play a part in it.
So my passion came later, is maybe somewhat more “practical” than “romantic” in nature, but it is there nonetheless. I strongly believe passion is an indispensable value, and passion is included among ACI-NA’s Core Values.
So yes, I think about passion all the time. And yes, occasionally, it is the “other” kind. Hey, you need some of that too!