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Jason Connell emphasizes importance of passion and effectiveness in success lives

By Marissa Piccolo
On February 6, 2014

"What do all world-changing leaders have in common?" Jason Connell asked, pointing to the wide spectrum of leaders from Mother Theresa to Steve Jobs, two that could not be less alike but have both changed the world in far-reaching ways.
"They work on projects they are wildly passionate about," Connell revealed, "and their work is more effective than the average person's work."
This message was central to founder of Ignited Leadership Jason Connell's "Leadership Accelerator" talk, urging the audience to change their world, whether it was in terms of raising grades, making a couple new friends, or more long term objectives, Connell offered advice to start achieving their goals no matter what stage of their life they are in.
Before the event, Connell and SUBOG student leaders sent a questionnaire to 100 UConn students in the audience asking, "what project they were thinking of taking on next?" 59 percent said they weren't sure. This isn't uncommon: 92 percent of millennial generation can't easily identify the top three things they are passionate about in life.
Connell had the audience pause and reflect with the question, "If I had $100,000,000, what project would I be working on now?" as a tool to pinpoint what each individual is passionate about. As members of the millennial generation, with academic, social, familial, and economic pressures following us, we are often left with no time for ourselves. Without this self-reflection, young adults are in danger of being out of touch with their self and their goals, leaving them "unable to pick up the momentum that makes us an effective leader."
Connell recommended even as little as five minutes a day of mediation, perhaps going for a walk, to connect with yourself and crystallize your vision. When this happens, people are more successful, he explained, "When you work on things you're passionate about, it doesn't feel like work."
The pre-talk questionnaire also asked each audience member, "What is holding you back?" The top three responses were: lack of confidence, not enough time and fear of failure. Connell bluntly addressed fear, calling it a myth people are brainwashed to believe, especially through competitive school environments. He said fear is the difference between a life of mediocrity and a life of beauty. Personal growth of those people who live within their comfort zone plateaus over time.
Connell again used the method of self-reflection as one way to combat fear, recommending that people put challenges into perspective by asking, "What happens if we don't face our fear?" and "What's the real worst case scenario?" Furthermore, through a process of "progressive desensitization," or baby steps outside our comfort zone, it becomes easier to tackle anything over time. Connell endorsed a system of "reward and punishment," recommending the website "" which makes each user a "commitment contract." If the individual does not reach their goals, a small amount of money they invest is donated to a charity or cause they don't believe in (for example: the Republican Party if you are a Democrat).
In response to the question "not enough time," Connell emphasized the importance of time management. Although one cannot possibly add an hour to the day, one can instead stop wasting an hour of our time by becoming more productive. By scheduling the day, creating a "project list," saying "no" more often to what one is not passionate about and monitoring activity, one can increase his or her overall effectiveness. A time management secret Connell shared was scheduling less time for tasks than one thinks they will take, as it is psychologically proven that the time pressures will make one accomplish things more quickly than thought.
Lastly, Connell stressed the important of confidence and loving oneself. The top two assumptions charismatic people make is assuming that the person they are interacting with is awesome, and that they themselves are awesome. Disagreeing with the common confidence "fake it until you make it" mantra, he instead urged that it all comes down to changing one's thoughts; to stop being your own critic and rewire insecurities to instead affirm what about you is awesome. He said the next step is translating this new outlook into changing your actions; eliminating the "vampires" in life, taking good care of one's mental and physical health, and even pampering oneself by going on a personal "date."
"The challenge to lead is the challenge to love," Connell ended with. By finding what one is passionate about, and becoming more effective, one can make a desired internal reality match the external reality.
For more information on Jason Connell visit

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