Talent Shows – Passion and Incompetence

Have you watched a talent show on TV when an incompetent contestant auditioned? Just because they’re passionate to sing doesn’t mean they can sing on key.

The danger of passion is the illusion of competence.

Competence and passion:

Passion means you dream of glorious results. But passion doesn’t mean you’re able to accomplish glorious results.

Passion isn’t competence.

You might be passionate to manage projects and lead teams. That doesn’t mean you’re able to lead or manage.

You might be passionate to develop people, care for sick kids, or build an organization that makes the world a better place. Just because you’re excited about something doesn’t mean you’re good at it.

The danger of passion is the triumph of good intentions over self-awareness.

The danger of passion is a closed mind. You think you CAN when you CAN’T.

Passion and development:

Hard work, intentional practice, and time are the only things that develop competency. Passion is fuel in the tank, nothing more.

Intentional practice requires you to test new behaviors and techniques. Doing the same things over and over never develops new skills.

The danger of passionate consistency:

Repetition creates consistency.

If you suck at leadership, doing the same things over and over means you’ll suck with consistency.

Passion won’t make you good at managing teams, leading people, or delivering results. Intentional practice is the only path to competency.


I know many leaders with passion to succeed. That doesn’t mean they’re going to succeed. 

Passion isn’t a guarantee of success because enthusiasm isn’t skill.

You may say, “Dan, I really want to be a successful leader.” That’s great! If WANTING made things happen, Santa would be real and world poverty would end.

Honor passion by developing skills.

The first development is self-development. 

What are the dangers of passionate incompetence?