Passion Matters

Understanding the passion of a dentist for his work was the key to creating the perfect web site for his practice.

by Shirley E. Kaiser, M.A.

illustration of creativity, by Gini Decooman

Sometimes realizations strike you like a thunderbolt. As I was working on a new web site design for a highly successful southern California dentist, I was struck by his exceptionally strong passion and love for what he does. The new design also came together so easily. When I asked the Wise-Women list for feedback about the design, I was getting amazingly positive responses. I reflected on what was going on here. The magic ingredient was passion.

My client's passion added fuel to my own, and I was immediately catapulted to an even higher energy level than usual designing his site. This magic ingredient was being reflected in the client's web site.

I find that taking a genuine interest in what the client does makes a gigantic difference in the overall web site development. Learning as much as I can about a client's business, personal interests, likes, and dreams provides tremendous insight, helping me narrow in on what the client is really seeking for a web site. I also genuinely care about people and have fun learning about different professions, small businesses, companies, what individuals do, etc.

Once I learned about the unique qualities of my new dentist client I thought of adding a Before & After Tour and a Press & Publicity page because 1) he's done such exceptional work, 2) he is a highly recognized expert, 3) he's been voted the #1 dentist in Santa Barbara for the past 4 years in a row by the local newspaper and another organization, and 5) he wants to promote his cosmetic dentistry specialty more. He's truly quite exceptional, and I wanted to bring these things out.

We also didn't know all these things about him until it finally came out after quite a bit of email correspondence as I continued to ask him about his practice (he's quite humble about it all!). So after we had the site over half done, the content writer, search engine expert, and I worked on how to best bring out his unique qualities as part of advertising his dental practice.


Learning as much as I can about a client's business, personal interests, likes, and dreams provides tremendous insight, helping me narrow in on what the client is really seeking for a web site.

He also bought the domain http://www.exceptional-smiles.com for his new site, which to me represents his feelings about what he genuinely wishes to accomplish. From what I've seen, he certainly accomplishes his goal and then some, so I'm not at all surprised to see all the glowing reviews and awards that he's received.

My impression is that passion in what we do is like adding sunshine, water and healthy soil to a seed. The passion helps the seed turn into something awesome and exceptional. Without passion it might still grow, but it's not the same, either. Passion is one of the results of great love for what we do and who we are. (Don't worry -- I won't get into my philosophy of life here...)

A strong example to me is a famous musical artist. How boring it would be if the performer sang with no expression and sang in a monotone! It's an entirely different experience when the performer lives the music, feels every word and nuance of the melody, and pours out everything from his/her soul. The song comes to life, and the listener's experience is catapulted to a different dimension right along with it.

It's been my observation that tremendous passion comes through, whether as a musician, a web site developer, a dentist, an architect, an author, a spouse, a mom or dad, a caregiver, a construction worker, whatever.

I instantly recognized the passion that my dentist client feels about what he does, and I feel it's my job as his web site developer to reflect his passion. So I really think that people's very kind comments about this new web site are because of my own passion in designing an appropriate site for a client who's also very passionate about what he does (he's also such a nice person!).

Think for a moment about some of the people you've seen that are great at what they do, whether they are famous or not. I think you'll probably find tremendous passion and love of whatever it is they do. I'd love to hear about what you do find and your observations - send me an email!

It's also a whole lot easier to do well at something we feel passionate about and love doing. I've had jobs that felt like torture to go do each day, and by experiencing that I understood the importance of getting up each day and loving what I do. I can now honestly say that I genuinely enjoy getting up each workday to do something I absolutely love doing all day long. I don't even think of my business as "work" at all. That word doesn't fit.

On this great discussion list are so many highly creative individuals who are passionate about what you do, too. I know that's why so many of us win awards, get some incredible news coverage and recognition, and have many doors of opportunity open up to us.


Shirley Kaiser is the owner of SKDesigns, a web site design and development business she started in 1996, specializing in website design and graphics, architecture, and team projects. In addition, she's a mother of two, and she has been a professional musician most of her life, with a master's degree in piano performance and literature, giving concerts and workshops. Her new CD "Journey Within" will be released soon.