Everyone wants to do what they enjoy. The saying goes that if you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life! Many entrepreneurs don’t have the luxury of doing only what they enjoy, however, so it’s important to find your passion within the scope of your business.
Why Passion is Important for Entrepreneurs
Passion is the fuel that inspires and drives people to achieve their goals, no matter how challenging these are. Without passion, it’s difficult to generate the enthusiasm you need to overcome obstacles. [quotes]Entrepreneurial passion, in particular, can be the differentiating factor between success or failure for a company.[/quotes] Your passion can help convince employees to be more committed to their jobs, investors to back you financially, and customers to buy your products or services.
Discover the Passions that Drive YOUR Business
Finding out what drives you as a business owner requires you to identify those aspects of your business that resonate with your spirit. For some people, the fact that their product or service helps others gives them tremendous satisfaction, while for others the ability to support their families through their earnings is the driving force.
The difference between these two is that one is a passion that impacts your customers, while the other is not. People who realize you’re passionate about aspects of your business are more likely to become customers of your company than a less-ardent competitor.
Passion isn’t important for the business owner only, either. Discover what motivates your staff by conducting employee assessments to reveal which of the seven key dimensions of personal motivation apply to each one:
- Aesthetic - a drive for balance, harmony, and form.
- Economic - a drive for economic or practical returns.
- Individualistic - a drive to stand out as independent and unique.
- Power - a drive to be in control or have influence.
- Altruistic - a drive for humanitarian efforts; to help others altruistically.
- Regulatory - a drive to establish order, routine, and structure.
- Theoretical - a drive for knowledge, learning, and understanding.
It’s important to know what’s driving your top talent. Research shows most successful people have high levels of self-awareness, which enables them to recognize opportunities that match their motivations. [quotesright]Business owners get higher productivity and engagement from employees when they know what motivates each person. [/quotesright] They can use both jobs and rewards to give employees work that is rewarding and matches their passions. This keeps everyone happier and more productive, which benefits all parties as well as the bottom line.
How to Retain Your Entrepreneurial Passion
Establishing a business is exciting, but it can be a challenging process that often sees more failures than successes. This makes it difficult to stay enthusiastic about what you do in the long term, but there are ways to support and maintain your passion.
Take regular breaks.Vacations are not only restful, they are fun and crucial to your mental state. People who take vacations regularly manage to stay refreshed and focused, while those who don’t invariably suffer from burnout and exhaustion. Whether your breaks are a few days or a few weeks, schedule them to take place at frequent intervals for maximum effect. If you find the workweek is too long to stay motivated, break it up into two parts with a day off in between.
Find a mentor or coach. You might know everything there is to know about your line of work and your industry, but that doesn’t mean you don’t need support. Humans are not always wired to be in “growth” mode, for example. We set goals, then we get busy and tired and the goals get put on hold. We make excuses and get behind and then find our passion dwindles as a result of the pressure we put ourselves under. Sound familiar? I’m sure it does!
Finding a mentor or coach can re-energize you, help you to set measurable goals, and avoid settling for second-best or becoming complacent. They can also help you cut through the noise to discover those aspects of your business that make your heart sing and focus your attention on doing more of them and delegating the less-appealing work to others.
Embrace new challenges. You are always going to encounter certain things in business that you haven’t attempted before. Being an entrepreneur comes with unique challenges, and it can be difficult to be completely ready for them before they happen. Whether you are working on developing new products, improving your sales and marketing, attracting finance and venture capital, or building process flows and streamlining operations, you’re bound to face challenges you’ve never had before. [quotesright]View these as opportunities rather than things to be avoided, and you’ll go into each one with a positive approach.[/quotesright]
Celebrate successes often. The key to staying successful and passionate throughout obstacles and challenges is to recognize when you have done something well, no matter how small it is, and celebrate it. When you make the effort to recognize that you’ve learned a new skill, for example, you’ll find yourself starting to build a passion for your accomplishments. By breaking challenges down into bite-sized chunks and focusing your attention on small steps, you find the passion you need to help you overcome larger obstacles you face.
Passionate Entrepreneurs in History
Passionate people inspire others to believe in them. Steve Jobs, for instance, inspired a whole generation of users to adopt Apple’s ethos of simplicity in technology. He also inspired workers – there’s a well-known story about him trying to hire John Sculley away from Pepsi. Jobs famously asked Sculley “Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life, or do you want to come with me and change the world?” We all know how that worked out.
Richard Branson is another example of a passionate entrepreneur, who takes pride in working with others who share his core values. He recognizes the value of his employees and is genuinely and passionately interested in them. As a result, both staff and customers see his passion and it keeps them working – hard.
If ever there was a story of entrepreneurial passion and perseverance, it’s that of Henry Ford. On June 4, 1896, Ford first drove an ethanol-powered quadricycle at the age of 32. It had taken him almost two decades since he left home at the age of 15, during which time his passion for everything mechanical helped him rise to chief engineer at Edison Illuminating Company. He also founded – and then lost – both the Detroit Automotive Company and then the Ford Motor Company. A string of successes and failures finally led to the launch of the Model T in 1908, which became his first real commercial success.
All small business owners need to have passion for their work if their company is going to succeed. Follow whatever you are passionate about, even if you aren’t passionate about “what” you’re offering. As long as you focus on your passions, you’ll develop an understanding and enthusiasm for the rest over time.