About those words passionate and inspirational

21st June 2013 | Posted in Content creation

Vastly overused aren’t they?

Passionate. I walked through our shopping precinct the other day and saw an advertisement requiring someone passionate about marketing fashion to work in a lively and demanding environment. In other words, this was a postcard in the window of a clothing shop looking for a part-time assistant.

Inspirational. When I flick through the glossy magazines and see the story of a woman with a multi-million pound business empire, five children, and time to grow flowers in the garden of her weekend cottage, I’m not inspired. I’m jealous.

But having railed against the overuse and abuse of these two words for a long time now – because they’re actually really powerful words used sparingly – I may have changed my mind this week.

The reasons are a few people that I’ve talked to and listened to, who really fit the description.

I shipped up at the 9th Hart Brown Economic Forum held at Surrey University last night quite unsure what to expect. What I got were the stories of two entrepreneurs who are true examples of inspiration.

Rob Lucy is an ex-military man who built up a property and investment business around the world that crashed in the last recession. He and his team took the little that was left after winding up the business and started again with Claremont Prime, focusing a second time around on the specialist prime territories and projects that customers wanted. The inspiration that I took from Rob was that here was someone who had completely changed career, identified opportunities even in a downturn, and got up again when he was knocked down.

Peter Molyneux is passionate first and inspirational because of that. I don’t know much about gaming (although he would like us all to come to love it), but Peter has owned and sold two successful businesses – the first, Bullfrog, to Electronic Arts and the second, Lionhead, to Microsoft. Yet here he is again with yet another start-up, 22Cans, because he says creativity doesn’t work well with being too comfortable.

And then there’s Kerry Murray, who I interviewed for a client newsletter. Kerry left a job she loved to set up pinsandribbons.co.uk. She’s built a business around something that she is passionate about – craft and her family – but she is totally realistic about the hard work involved in becoming successful. She manages her own marketing, PR and even SEO, and works very long hours. Her business isn’t in the same league as the first two, but she shows the same passion and intelligence that makes her inspirational too.

So passionate and inspirational. Really pleased to be able to use them where they are well deserved.

2 responses to “About those words passionate and inspirational”

  1. You’re right Anneve, it’s tough to find something else to say of you’re just going for a single word. Passionate is easier is easier to avoid I think. I wouldn’t describe myself as passionate about copywriting, for example, but I’m pretty good at it, and I’m fascinated by some of the subjects that I cover, such as ways to help people enjoy their later years. Inspirational? Well, there are alternatives in the thesaurus. But what I would really like to see is a richer explanation of what people do that earns them these descriptions., rather than just plonking the word in and expecting readers/listeners to get it. Does that make sense?

  2. Great article Kathy. They’re really tricky words aren’t they because as you say, they are so overused, but I really struggle to come up with equally powerful alternatives! Are there any that you prefer to use that you can recommend in their place? Thanks!

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