“In the twenty-first century, it`s the individual man and woman passionately in pursuit of their business dreams who will have a positive, transformative impact on everyone`s lives.”  ~John Assaraf, author of  The Answer: Grow Any Business, Achieve Financial Freedom, and Live an Extraordinary Life.

Over the past decade, I’ve interviewed hundreds of leaders from top organizations across industries. Whenever I’ve asked what they look for in new hires, or how they recognize potential in high-performing employees, or even what makes them great leaders, the answer almost always boils down to passion.

When I was 25 years old and just starting Inspirion, I didn’t yet have any books or big speaking contracts to my name. All I had was passion … and a whole lot of persistence. Turns out, that`s exactly what I needed to land AT&T as my first major client.

Years later, I found myself on the other side of the table – being inspired by the passion of someone I hired to add value to my business. The day Deb Quinton, my new graphic designer, completed her redesign of my website, she rushed over to show it to me.

Deb called me as she was getting out of her car in my parking garage. “I’m here,” she announced. “Now, how do I get in this building?” Rather than ask how in the world she got through security and into the garage, I rushed down to let her in.

When I greeted her, I immediately noticed a jittery excitement in this 50-something-year-old woman. After a brief hug, she said, “Oh, you’re gonna love this!”

When I said she could very easily have e-mailed it to me and saved herself the trip, she said, “No way. I want to see the expression on your face when you see this!”

“Deb, I’m nervous,” I said. “With all these expectations … what if I don’t like it?”

“You’re gonna love it,” she said with the kind of confidence that you just don’t question.

When we got to my office, she set up her computer on my desk. I tried to peek over her shoulder, but she said, “No, you have to leave the room until I get the document fully opened.”

Her giddiness got me giddy, but it also worried me. She was so excited that I couldn’t bear the thought of crushing her spirit. As I waited in the other room, all I could think was, “Seriously! What am I going to do if I don’t like this design?”

“Come on out,” she announced. She had a piece of paper covering her computer screen until I was perfectly positioned to experience her design. “You ready?” she asked. “A little drumroll, please.”

Of course, I played along. This was so much fun, I almost forgot why she was there.

She had two designs ready – one she knew I’d love, as well as a backup, which was completely unnecessary. She had, in fact, beautifully captured the look I was going for. She also won me over as a forever-client and a referral source.

Deb later shared that she had been so excited to show me her work that she could barely sleep the previous night. She said, “I couldn’t wait to see the expression on your face.” Which was, of course, equal to her excitement.

Do you have this kind of passion for what you do? Would you like to? Would you get so excited about your work that you would have trouble sleeping the night before presenting it? If not, consider how much more successful you could be if you had this kind of passion.

So, what gets you giddy?  

Keeping it simple,

Misti Burmeister, best-selling author of From Boomers to Bloggers: Success Strategies Across Generations and Hidden Heroes.