Passion means | Business Navigate

Passion means

In business passion means doing what you love

Often people start their business because they are good at something, a skill perhaps, and think that that is a sufficient basis for running a successful business that may one day form the basis of their retirement portfolio, an asset.

Many people think that easy startup businesses equates to the best startup businesses. Nothing could be further from the truth and it is unfortunate that many, if not most businesses created on this basis are doomed to failure.

This is mostly for the following main reasons:

  1. Running a business is much more involved than plying your trade, and most of what you see on the website has been developed to help you with this
  2. Because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you like doing it. It’s hard to start a business, harder to run a profitable one, and extremely hard to turn a business into an asset
  3. Just because you’ve found there is a particular gap in the market does not necessarily mean there is a market in that gap
  4. You may be able to get the business established, but when it comes to marketing it you’ll find the going gets really tough, particularly if marketing isn’t one of your strong suits

What happens if the going gets tough, and trust me, it will at some stage of your business, then what will carry you through the hard times?

You got the power?

According to McKinsey & Co [1] the 5 key characteristics for a successful start-up company are:

  • Adopting an expansive view of which market to play in, and then thinking about it in a creative way
  • Making bold bets when creating a new market – do not take a 50/50 approach – and fostering a culture of informed risk taking
  • Avoiding analysis paralysis which could prevent you from entering a new space even if it represents a real growth opportunity
  • Be ready to move on by predefining what success looks like and be willing to abandon projects when necessary
  • Leveraging core capabilities to prioritise which markets to play in as they can be a source of distinctiveness

But is this enough? We don’t think so.

If you base your choice of which business to setup and grow on these characteristics alone, in our experience the sustainability of your choice will be low.

You will not be able to sustain the rigours and sacrifices you’ll need to make get move your business from the start-up phase through the growth phase into the asset-building phase unless you are passionate about what you’re doing.

But what does passion mean? How do you define passionate, in fact is there even a definition of passionate we can all agree upon?

It’s different for each of us and we define passion as follows: You want something so bad that you almost want it more than life itself.

We recognize that this interpretation of the meaning of passionate is pretty harsh and luckily very few people take it to that extreme, but it does illustrate well the importance we place on it.

Passion carries you through even if yesterday was a day from hell. It allows you to see that every day is a new day, and unless you can dust yourself off from yesterday’s drama, you’ll waste today living in yesterday.

Passion allows you to dust yourself off and reinvent yourself, ready to tackle the new challenges that lay ahead.

However, passion cuts both ways and in many cases it is also the cause of business failure. While there are many interpretations of the word “entrepreneur”, irrespective of how you define the word on the whole entrepreneurs tend to completely caught up in what they’re doing. They have the passion, it meets all of the five McKinsey criteria, yet despite this the business isn’t doing well.

The problem here is that being too passionate about what you’re doing are not looking-up now and then to see if they’re still on target.

It’s a classic case of not “ready to move on by predefining what success looks like and be willing to abandon projects when necessary” and instead hanging on for dear life, because it is your passion after all.

So be warned: passion is an excellent servant, but it can also be a terrible master.

Finding your passion

Some people are lucky and know exactly what they want to do with their life, sometimes from a very young age, but that doesn’t apply to many people, and nor did it apply to us.

So how or where do you discover that which is your passion? This is what we’ve done.

Elsewhere we’ve spoken about the importance of having a positive thoughts for life and there are some excellent lists of some very positive thinking power quotes  that can help you stay on track. While these are a very good start but you’ll need to dig much much deeper.

It is important to recognize that your truth lies within you, not what other people think you should be doing.

But to get at that truth within, you need to allow yourself the space and time to reflect and question, and above all be polite when someone makes a suggestion, but evaluate it on your terms to make sure it suits you.

You need to learn to listen to those subtle signs your own unconscious tries to communicate to you. Maybe through your dreams, or things that annoy you, things that give you pleasure, those ‘aha’ moments, anything at all that could be interpreted as “a moment of insight”.

It may not lead to anything, but within it there might just be a pathway to your ultimate passion.

A less introspective way at arriving at some insight is to use some of the cerebral suggestions below:

  • Assess your job skills, which bits did you love, which did you hate
  • Identify your life skills: hard skills (things that you do) and soft skills (abstract in nature like personal qualities)
  • Review your education, all of it from primary school onwards, and try discover childhood dreams
  • List accomplishments and the satisfaction these gave you
  • Start looking for those things that annoy you, but might be able to fix
  • What skills, education, and training are employers in your industry looking for
  • Track trends, stay current on industry events, changes and news
  • List of all the companies that you have worked for and the things that you learned from these jobs
  • List all your hobbies and discover why they were hobbies, what did you gain from them
  • Think of your daily routine, the things you do or take for granted, how can you improve these

It is one thing to look for ways to make money, but discovering  your passions isn’t always easy, but an extremely worthwhile thing to do. And if you think you’ve found something, ask yourself this question:

Can you honestly say to yourself “I’d be happy to do this every day of my life, even if I never ever get paid for it”.

So what does passion mean to you?

Finding your passion will only get so far and elsewhere on the website you’ll find a ton of useful resources and training courses to help you get started and convert your passion into massive action.

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Further reading:

[1] What will enable alpha growth, McKinsey on semiconductors, Autumn 2012, p 31

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