by Linda Feinholz · 1 comment

© 2008 Linda Feinholz

What do you do with your passion?

Ralph passed his on through his art and through the skills he taught his students.

Ralph Bacerra passed away at age 70 this past month.

His death has had me thinking about passion and dedication.

As an artist, Ralph was passionate about clay, glaze, form and design. He was renowned for several philosophies in ceramics: simplifying the complex by

  • making something difficult to accomplish done easily,
  • taking out what is extra rather than adding, and
  • recognizing that at times something cannot be ‘repaired’, and one should just start over fresh.

His work demonstrated his mastery of ‘layering the elements.’ He combined as many as 7, 8, 9 firings to create his desired effects.

Those elements may sound simple, but each of us so often become immersed in what we are trying to accomplish that we make it more and more complex, and push relentlessly to make situations conform to our vision. And many times, that’s exactly when we need to step back and simplify or take a completely fresh start to a situation.

As a teacher Ralph was passionate about teaching his students mastery all of the elements for their own passion – be it in ceramics, other arts, or life itself.

I bring all of this up because it relates to other areas of life, not only ceramics. Many of his students continued on in ceramics for their profession. But not all of them. For instance one of his students, Elsa Lucan, has become a respected landscape designer in Los Angeles. She uses her artistic training in everything she does with the elements of wood and landscape. She begins with pruning, distilling out the shape of the plants already in the space, taking out what is ‘extra’ rather than adding.

Unique in the industry, rather than just ‘digging a hole,’ Elsa and her crew till the soil to create the ideal living element with just the right amount of air and water to create perfect environments for transplanted plants to thrive. And in landscape, she too applies knowing that at times something cannot be ‘repaired’ and it’s time to just start over. The results of Elsa’s passion become landscapes that her clients thrive in.

Passion is behind many of the ‘new’ businesses blooming on the internet. Andrea Albright became passionate about weight loss. But not the fad dieting version we’re familiar with in the popular press. Instead she’s used her own experience creating a healthy mind and body then loosing all her excess weight (and keeping it off ever since) to create an internet-based business. In it she focuses on educating her readers on the simple elements of modern foods that contribute to illness and obesity.

Andrea’s videos educate and entertain, and stir the passions of viewers to join her. She draws others like a magnet with her enthusiasm, passion and encouragement.

Too many of the business owners I work with have buried their passion under the idea that business is driven by practicality and force. Not only do they bury their passion from their own view. They’ve also hidden it from those around them who can be inspired by it.

This past month I’ve been working with a senior executive of an international business. Don’s bosses encouraged him to get coaching to deal with his stress. As we explored the sources of that tension he’s been carrying, we uncovered the fact that he’s passionate about his people’s success and frustrated when they’re stuck solving things in complicated ways. And he often goes silent when in meetings with his peers that are bogged down in contention.

We’re working on giving Don skills to simplify discussions, whether in meetings he is leading or even those called by others. He’s also learning new problem solving systems, and giving them to his team to simplify how they work with each other across very different disciplines.

Built into all of his upcoming one-on-one meetings is exploring his staff’s particular passions. He’s layering specific new leadership techniques that will have his people start over and work together collaboratively rather than competitively.

As a result, Don is living his passion for accomplishing complex business more easily and helping others do the same.

What layers do you use? How do you simplify the complex? And what are you working on that might be even better with a fresh start?

When you think back to the elements that have shaped your business and your life, where is their source? I invite you to live your passion today.

  • Aleptlabtup

    Very nice!!

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