I appreciate being reminded of this question. It reminds me of the elders who know to ask each time they walk in the well-worn ritual circle: “Are we going the right way?” Passion offers guidance, but it encompasses suffering as well as excitement and, therefore, may not always be immediately the platform for leading others. I believe it is the basis for finding the place to build the character, knowledge, skills, and compassion to lead.
Many persons are so hungry for the fervor of passion that they are susceptible to following someone with the exterior signs of it. A person may also attempt to lead others prematurely. As repeatedly demonstrated by tragedies associated with charismatic cult leaders as well as by wasteful trendy educational “solutions,” this is dangerous and/or a distraction to progress. A person who has not yet gone deeply enough with passion to develop wisdom and care may not be able to offer safe passage for others.
The true leader I respect wants others to follow their inner truth more than he/she wants the ego boost of having followers, or worse yet, worshippers.
I wonder, then, if passion comes before educating. As suggested by McTeach's response to Kolbert's question, a person’s passion may lead away from educating. An educator whose passion is elsewhere, may be in the wrong profession; and a person whose passion has not been pursued deeply enough to offer safe practice may not be the best teacher.
I take seriously the direction given by Joseph Campbell and others to “follow your bliss.” That path seemed to lead me away from teaching to story and horses, and it brought me back with a joy for learning and with more respect for inner truth.