Passion: Critical to success
When you choose to open a business, your chances at success—and satisfaction—are greater if you love the work you do.
Passion is what will make the difference when it gets tough. It’s what will make you get up in the morning when you would rather pull the covers over your head and stay in bed. Passion is one of those vital ingredients that will differentiate you from the crowd! Passion is the fuel for success, when others will fail. Passion is what will keep you going long after there is no money!
If only every entrepreneur followed their passion. Far too often, I run across business owners, aspiring entrepreneurs, and even college students who, instead of following their hearts, follow the crowd and end up terribly disappointed. Why am I telling you all this? As a business strategist and entrepreneur it is passion that I want to see in any of our clients. I can help them achieve success, but I cannot give you passion. I can help ignite your passion, or give it some much needed fuel to burst once more into flame. But I cannot start the passion in you. You must have it, and for us at ASG Strategies, it is that one intangible thing we look for in any potential client. Passion is the intangible quality that separates average business people from inspiring communicators—inspiring leaders are obsessed with what they do. What I can tell you is all the successful business stars are passionate about their product, service, company, or cause. Instead of doing what someone else told them they should do, they went with the feeling in their gut—and made a business out of the one thing that consumed their thoughts.
Unlocking Your Potential
How do you find your true passion? Bill Strickland, author of Make the Impossible Possible offers some clues, writing: “Passions are irresistible.… If you’re paying attention to your life at all, the things you are passionate about won’t leave you alone. They’re the ideas, hopes, and possibilities your mind naturally gravitates to, the things you would focus your time and attention on for no other reason than that doing them feels right.” Strickland believes that only by following your passion will you unlock your deepest potential. “I never saw a meaningful life that wasn’t based on passion. And I never saw a life full of passion that wasn’t, in some important way, extraordinary.”
When you choose to open a business or franchise simply because your neighbor is doing well at it, you increase the likelihood of failure. When you enter a career because your brother-in-law made a lot of money in it last year, you increase the odds of living an unsatisfied life. And when you choose a college major solely to satisfy your parents, you raise the risk of becoming bored instead of energized by your classes.
Starting a business is fraught with hurdles and setbacks. But if you’re following your inner voice—the thoughts that “won’t leave you alone,” to borrow from Strickland—failure is never final. Several of our clients, despite many naysayers, have taken their ideas to success. One of them is now an international product within his industry! Remember to pay attention to what you love doing. James Dyson, who I had the pleasure of meeting a number of years ago, loved tinkering and inventing. One day he grew frustrated by a weak vacuum that seemed to lose suction. So he got to work. Five years later he created a vacuum that would one day turn into a $6 billion company. But he could have quit 5,126 times (BusinessWeek.com, 7/14/06). That’s how many prototypes it took to build the first bagless vacuum cleaner. Major manufacturers rejected his technology because they made money on the bags. Dyson was anything but discouraged. He persisted, and today James Dyson is worth several billion dollars. “Enjoy failure and learn from it,” Dyson once said. “You can never learn from success.”
Don’t let your obsession die. Embrace it, revel in it, and use it to stand apart. Follow your heart and not the crowd.