Passion Changes Everything


Pas-sion [pash-un]

Noun

  1. Any powerful or compelling feeling, such as love or hate
  2. Strong amorous feeling of love
  3. Strong sexual desire. A person to whom one feels strong love or sexual desire.

(Calm down, ladies and gentlemen. It’s 8 o’clock on Friday morning. You’ll have to keep a lid on number three for a while. Besides, there’s another noun to consider…)

Groundhog Day

Noun

  • (in North America) 2nd February, when the groundhog is said to come out of its hole at the end of hibernation. If the animal sees its shadow – if the weather is sunny – it goes back into its hole, which portends six more weeks of winter weather.
  • A situation in which a series of unwelcome or tedious events appear to be recurring in exactly the same way

On the face of it, passion and Groundhog Day have nothing in common. We all know both feelings – and they couldn’t be more different. But to me they’re two concepts that sum up exactly what running your own business is all about.

LinkedIn recently sent me a ‘must-read.’ Like most people ‘must read’ for me means ‘would quite like to read it but don’t have time so I’ll try and come back to it later but I know I never will.’ This one was different though – the title was ‘Do What You Love’ is Horrible Advice. As that’s the diametric opposite of what I believe I simply had to click through – and came to this article.

Its basic premise is simple: people will rarely pay you for what you’re passionate about. Starting a business based on a passion, “has probably resulted in more failed businesses than all the recessions combined.” What you have to do is find a business – or a career – that is commercially viable. You work at that business/job and as you build competence and ultimately expertise then the passion will eventually come.

“Passion,” it said, “Is not something that you follow; passion is something that will follow you as you put in the hard work.”

That’s the basic premise – and to that basic premise, I say…

Well, I can’t say, because a guiding principle of this blog is that I don’t swear and I try not to be offensive.

But it’s nonsense. Absolute nonsense.

One of the things I love about what I do is spending my days with people who are absolutely passionate about what they do. They’re passionate about their businesses, they’re passionate about delivering on their promises and they’re passionate about excellence. How can I not love what I do?

(For the living embodiment of those three qualities may I commend Supervet on Channel 4 to you? If you want to see someone whose every working moment is underscored by passion, look no further than Noel Fitzpatrick.)

One thing I will absolutely guarantee: if you go into business purely to make money – if you’re not passionate about what you do and you’re not passionate about making a difference for your clients or customers – then you will not succeed. Because make no mistake, we all have Groundhog Days. We all roll out of bed some mornings and think, ‘Oh no, another damn meeting with X today.’ Passion is what pulls you through Groundhog Day. Passion is what makes the ‘jam tomorrow’ principle I wrote about last week possible.

Start a business or a career without passion and what happens? You end up echoing the words of Thoreau: “the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” You end up sitting in a traffic jam on the ring road thinking, ‘there has to be something better than this.’

Well there is. It’s running your own business. And it’s your passion that will make your business succeed.

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5 comments

  1. gilldares · June 6, 2014

    Absolutely!

  2. Michelle Mook · June 6, 2014

    Couldn’t agree more Ed – and in just the same way that you were compelled to read “Do What You Love’ is Horrible Advice” – I was compelled to read “Passion changes everything” – it so does. If you are passionate about what you do, others see that too, it is infectious and it does change everything. We love what we do and it makes a difference both to how we feel, behave and deliver which makes a difference to our clients – everyone’s a winner 🙂

  3. edreidyork · June 6, 2014

    Hi Michelle; thanks for such a great response – you’re absolutely right about the infectious element that people who are passionate about what they do can bring

  4. simonjhudson · June 9, 2014

    And passion comes in many forms. I’m certainly not passionate about Microsoft technology in general or SharePoint (our core business) in particular. I AM passionate about tools and people and processes that let me change the world or (more mundanely) solve an individual problem. I’m passionate about helping people. I’m passionate about doing the right thing, about corporate ethics, about treating people right, and so much more.
    Our businesses are a great vehicle for expressing out passion and our passion is often embedded in the way we do business. Change the business and the chances are my passion will be as great, but shaped differently. Stop me doing what I believe in and I’ll quit, regardless of how well remunerated I am.

  5. edreidyork · June 9, 2014

    Hi Simon; that’s a really good point – it’s about what you do and how you do it, irrespective of the particular service/product of your business. Thanks as ever

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