Chris Gardner, the man whose story inspired the movie ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’, explains how he used his passion to change his life.
It’s not every day that you meet the man whose real-life story inspired a Hollywood movie starring one of America’s top actors. But the other day I had the opportunity to hang out with Chris Gardner, subject of the 2006 movie “The Pursuit of Happyness,” in which Gardner was played by Will Smith.
While attending an unpaid internship with the hope of eventually integrating Dean Witter Reynolds in 1981, Gardner spent a year on the streets with his two-year-old son. They stayed overnight in a church shelter or a BART subway station shower in Oakland, California. No one at work knew. Gardner later had a brokerage position with Dean Witter. Two years later he left for Bear Stearns (BSC), where he multiplied his income. In 1987 he founded his own brokerage firm, Gardner Rich in Chicago. Today, Gardner is a multi-millionaire, a great orator who knows how to motivate people, a philanthropist, and an international businessman who is about to launch a private equity fund that will invest only in South Africa. guess who his partner is in the background? Nelson Mandela.
Gardner is a magnificent speaker and an engaging personality—qualities all businessmen would kill for. But what is behind its success? So what is this thing -the one secret- that helped him change his life? “It’s passion,” he told me. “Passion is everything. In fact, you have to be almost fanatical about what you’re doing.” Gardner says he was lucky to find something he really liked, something he wouldn’t wait for sunrise to do it again. His advice to entrepreneurs and those who want to change careers? “Be strong enough to find something you’re passionate about. You might not be trained for this. But be strong enough to do the one thing. Nobody else needs to do it but you.”
Gardner wanted to be “very good at something.” For him, that something was to be a stockbroker. For you, finding something you are passionate about will make the difference in your engagement as a communicator and leader. If you like what you do, you can ardently share his story with immense enthusiasm.
Passion cannot be taught. As a communications coach, I can help clients open up and deliver a powerful story, but I can’t create passion. But it’s the passion that separates the electrifying presenters from the means. I am absolutely convinced of this. As a former television journalist, I’ve interviewed thousands of speakers and personally coached hundreds more in my current profession. Donald Trump once said, “Without passion, you have no energy – and without energy, you have nothing. Your listeners want to be in the presence of someone with energy, someone who greets people with a smile and an abundance of enthusiasm. Passion is not something you necessarily express, but it shows. When Gardner walked into Dean Witter’s after spending the night in a subway station the night before, he just wanted to leave an impression on his colleagues. “All they needed to know is that I would turn it on day after day. Passion is not something you need to talk about. People feel it. They see it just as clearly as the color of your eyes, my friends.”
Coffee and commitment
I’ve spent the past few years interviewing inspiring chefs, and I can say without hesitation that passion is the number one quality that sets them apart. In many ways, my interview with Gardner reminds me of a conversation I once had with Starbucks President Howard Schultz. Like Gardner, Schultz used the word “passion” throughout our conversation. But remarkably, the word “coffee” was rarely mentioned. You see, for Schultz, coffee is not his passion. Instead, Schultz says he’s passionate about creating a workplace that “treats people with dignity and respect; » a work environment that his father never had the opportunity to experience. Selling coffee gives Schultz the means to fulfill his passion. More or less the same way,
Passion is the basis of effective communication. Dig deep to discover your main purpose, your true passion. Once you connect with her, use her as fuel to build rapport with your audience – recruiters, managers, employees, etc. Your presentations, launches, speeches, and all forms of business communication will be more engaging than ever. Almost everyone has what it takes to raise what I call the “passion quotient” – the level of passion you exhibit as a speaker. The higher your passion quotient, the easier it is for you to connect with people. Chris Gardner’s passion fueled his determination in the face of luck and odds. Take the time to imagine where pursuing your passion can take you.
Carmine Gallo translation J3A