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Passion leads the way to success

Nov. 10, 2010

Nick Berryman | Lariat Photographer
Trial attorney John Hill focused his lecture on the importance of passion in the workplace during the last session of the Leadership Lecture Series on Monday in Kayser Auditorium.

By Meghan Hendrickson
Staff Writer

Students learned about the importance of finding their passions Monday night during a leadership lecture given by trial attorney John Hill in the Hankamer School of Business.

The lecture was the third and final lecture hosted by the Academy for Leader Development and Civic Engagement.

Hill, a Baylor alumnus and Harvard Law School graduate, said each person has unique talents, gifts and interests. Hill encouraged students to take their interests and the things they do well, and find where they fit best in the working world.

"Where they connect you will find opportunities, and in those opportunities, you will be able to lead," Hill said.

Hill used One Book One Waco, the Waco community program he helped create while he was a student at Baylor in the fall of 2003, as an example to identify five key ingredients to successful and lasting leadership:

1. Find your vision. Know where you're going and have an end goal in mind.

2. Figure out the next steps. You have to be willing to be flexible as you go, recognize you're not going to know all the steps.

3. Humility is crucial to leadership. Remind yourself each day why you did it on the first day, and you won't focus on yourself as much.

4. There's got to be some creativity. Very few ideas are completely original.

5. Perseverance. With any kind of leadership, one thing you can expect to face is opposition.

Austin sophomore Julian Hunter, a member of the academy, said Hill seemed to speak directly to his heart.

"He gave me so much courage and confidence to go out and make a difference," Hunter said. "He said to take your interests and the things you're good at, and find where they connect. I'm always trying to find things I'm good at and not what I like. I've got to do what God wants me to do, not what other people want me to do. I've got to keep seeking God."

Hill provided advice on pursuing passions throughout the lecture.

"Identify the things you're passionate about and explore them -- then identify the things you're good at and practice them," Hill said. "It's not about finding the perfect opportunity. If you will jump into your passions, you'll find it goes a long way."

Cypress senior Saralyn Salisbury, founder and president of the Baylor chapter of International Justice Mission, is a Fellow candidate of the academy, an award given to students in the academy who pursue and meet a series of curricular and co-curricular requirements.

"When I came to Baylor I never thought I would start an organization, but the passion kept nagging at me and I finally pursued it," Salisbury said. "Persevere. In pursuing my passion, doors have been opened."

Ramona Curtis, director of the Academy for Leader Development and Civic Engagement since 2005, worked with Hill and his classmate when they were pursuing the idea of One Book One Waco.

She said membership in the academy is by application. The leadership lecture series is open to all Baylor students and will host four lectures this spring.

"It is always nice to have an alumnus come back and share their experiences with those who are primarily first-year students," Curtis said. "It's an opportunity to hear about what we should be doing now to cultivate those gifts we've been given so that we may move forth in the world. Our students are living out their passion in this program."

Hill hopes Baylor students will see the change they can make in the world and follow after their passions in leadership.

"Once you begin to see the world as a place that is bigger than you and begin to appreciate there are real needs and opportunities out there, it's pretty hard not to do something about them," Hill said. "If you just stay focused on yourself, it's not as meaningful and not as satisfying a way to live your life."