HOW MANY TIMES have you picked up a sales & marketing publication or heard a motivational speaker talk about “passion” for your business? How many books have you read about starting a new business venture and read somewhere in the writings that made references to “identifying your passions” or being “passionate about your new initiative” in some form or fashion? I have experienced this countless times. Although the advice and/or suggestions seem to be sincere and backed by strong conviction, there’s one small problem with these theories.
In short, I think the concept is somewhat backward. Let me explain.
Think about it for a moment; sports fans never get passionate about a team (or even a sport, for that matter) until a series of events take place. First, they begin watching the team (or the sport) on television or even in-person. Then, through emotion or excitement generated by others (a wild crowd, the announcers, etc.), they “buy-in” to the hype that has been created. Have you ever been to a bar and a game on television suddenly captivates everyone there? Before you know it, you’re cheering for the women’s curling team from Zimbabwe because they are the underdogs!
I remember finding my way into a popular pub in London a couple of years ago. The people in the joint were glued to several TV’s around the place. There was a football game on and it wasn’t the kind of football I was accustomed to watching in the states. Where I come from, it is known as soccer. But there I was, observing the game alongside passionate fans, losing their minds as the home team was trying to score for the go-ahead goal. Hell, I wasn’t even sure about all of the rules, but it didn’t matter. I was overcome with excitement and passion—and you should have seen me cheering and shouting in that pub. In this instance, passion wasn’t the cause of the excitement, it was the effect.
Ask any writer how he or she gets inspiration. If they were to wait for passion to come their way before the writing commences, the book may never be finished (or started). For them, once commitment to writing has been established, inspiration follows on its own. The result: passion is obtained.
My opinion on when passion should arrive on the scene is subjective, at best. However, as an entrepreneur, I would never embark on a new initiative using passion as the sole contributor of my decision-making. After the proper due diligence is completed, however, and after engaging with countless people who are involved and passionate about the business or industry in question, I can then make an educated decision to move forward with the project. In short, following your passion to investigate an opportunity and to fuel your creative juices is good; using it to make vital decisions, however, may not be the best decision.
Think about multi-level marketing, also commonly known as network marketing. Most of these organizations build their industries with passion as the cornerstone—enticing others with huge income potential, free cars and trips, and the ever-present “work when you want” lifestyle. I know this because I have been involved with a couple of them myself.
Through most network/multi-level marketing approaches and their perfectly calculated system of conventions and pep rallies, a spectator or potential enrollee can usually witness a roster of above-average public speakers take the stage to tell their stories of success, utilizing a booming sound system and hi-tech video production to get others in the audience fired-up about the business and eventually to sign up as distributors. This is a great concept—and it works! However, after returning home to reality with the subsequent passion temporarily wearing away until the next big meeting, the truly successful participants will always tell you that “the MLM product must ultimately work and also be affordable” to make their participation viable and worthwhile. In essence, they are the ones who do their proper due-diligence first, then use the available passion (their own or through others) to drive home sales and sign-ups.
PASSION STEMS FROM COMMITMENT. When thinking about an investment opportunity or a new direction for your career, remember that if passion is there, it must be for a reason. Make sure you dig deep first to find out why it is there in the first place. Then, if you like what your investigation has uncovered, it may be time to “go for it.” Afterward, if you have made that vital commitment and are working toward success, your passion, I’m sure, will not be far behind.