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Passion and Calling By Chris Jorgensen

The Transformational Power of Passion and Calling

Nehemiah’s journey from cupbearer to transformative leader for the Israelites in Jerusalem highlights the incredible power of passion and calling in leadership.

Nehemiah’s story begins with a heart-wrenching update from his brother Hanani about the dilapidated state of Jerusalem. The walls were in ruins, leaving the people vulnerable and discouraged. This news deeply moved Nehemiah, leading him to weep, fast, and pray. This moment is pivotal, showcasing that his leadership was not driven by position or power but by a profound empathy and a calling to serve his people.

His subsequent prayer reveals a leader whose mission was to see his people thrive under God’s promise, not merely to rebuild a city’s physical barriers but to restore faith, identity, and community.

While the importance of purpose might seem simplistic and obvious, I often wonder how much we focus on our unique passion and calling amidst challenges. As leaders, we have endured immense pressure, encountered almost unfathomable challenges, and encountered problems that seemed borderline unsolvable.

Nehemiah shows us the importance of keeping our passion, calling, and purpose central to why and how we lead daily.

Passion and calling were for Nehemiah and can be for us, the motivating force that makes it worth leading daily.

Nehemiah’s leadership example presents some great reminders for us as we lead today.

Purpose Fuels Effective Leadership

Purpose in leadership transcends tasks or organizational roles; it taps into the core of what motivates and drives leaders to make a difference. Research highlights that individuals driven by purpose—those who approach their work seeking personal fulfillment and the well-being of others, regardless of their job—tend to be significantly more fulfilled and are more likely to emerge as leaders [1].

This purpose orientation not only leads to personal and professional growth but also ensures higher levels of engagement and resilience [1]. Such leaders, like Nehemiah, are motivated by a deep, personal connection to their cause, driving them to face and navigate challenges with greater effectiveness and intentionality.

Challenge Question – Can you briefly describe your calling in this season?

Everyone’s Calling Looks Different

We have all likely observed that what people are passionate about looks different. Passion is displayed in various ways. We’re not all motivated by the same things, and that’s ok.

This underscores a crucial insight:

The essence of impactful work lies not in the specific area of passion but in our ability to connect what we do daily to our more profound sense of purpose and calling.

Individuals who align their work with their passions contribute significantly to collective success, demonstrating that fulfillment and motivation can come from various facets of one’s role.

Challenge Question – Can you describe how your daily work enables you to fulfill your calling?

Purpose Can Multiply Impact

Nehemiah’s story underscores the transformative power of leading from a place of purpose. Clarity and focus on passion and calling foster fulfillment, inspire collective action, and contribute to meaningful impact.

When leaders focus on their passion and calling, they unlock a wellspring of motivation for themselves and those they lead. They unleash the power of purpose that fuels success beyond previously thought possible.

Challenge Question – Do you intentionally seek to understand what your co-workers are passionate about, and do you help them see how their work contributes to something bigger than themselves?

Passion is a Daily Choice

Many leaders are tired or burnt out. Some of us, like me, can complain more often than we should about our circumstances. When this happens, one of my mentors reminds me that I choose to go to work each day.

When we go to work, we owe it to ourselves to find ways to live out our calling and passion while at work.

Nehemiah constantly chose to lead from his passion and calling. It was for him, and can be for us, the foundation for everything we do as leaders.

Challenge Question – Does your purpose enable you to thrive through difficult situations?

If you would like to enhance your leadership foundation in the eight attributes Nehemiah exhibited, consider taking The Nehemiah Blueprint Assessment. This complimentary leadership self-assessment will provide you with customized insights.


[1] Aaron Hurst and Dr. Anna Tavis, “2015 Workforce Purpose Index,” Imperative, edited by Imperative and NYU, accessed 2023,


Chris Jorgensen is the founder of Convergent Strategy. Chris offers strategic guidance in planning, effectiveness, and organization development. He is the author of The Nehemiah Blueprint, which explores essential leadership attributes. Read the book and join the conversation!

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