They taught you how to look at facts and figures, how to make a business plan and how to invest your money, but what your business classes probably left out is the simple truth that if you don’t love what you do, you won’t experience your greatest success. We’re all familiar with the old cliché: Do what you love! Many are quick to dismiss this as a sentiment that has little to do with making money, but this is not the case. In fact, the opposite is true: If you want to be successful, you have to be passionate about it.
Passion Gets You Through the Hard Times
One of the main reasons passion is the key to success is because it makes it possible to get past the toughest roadblocks you encounter as your build your business. You’re going to hit a lot of walls. You’re going to have a lot of people say, “No.” You’re going to have disappointments, and that’s just part of the journey. It’s how we learn. It’s how we figure out what to drop and what to keep. If you don’t love what you do, if you’re not passionate about it from the inside out, one of these roadblocks will mean the end for your business.
When you love what you do, you weather the storms. You hang on through the highs and the lows, and that makes the breakthrough to success possible. Even as you become more successful, you’ll encounter ups and downs. That’s just part of it! You’ve got to be able to ride the waves thanks to the incredible love for the work that is coming from within you.
Business That Aligns with Your Values
When you have a passion for your work, you have the greatest chance of making an impact, both in your own success story and in the lives of the communities you serve. The values that matter most to you will naturally be a part of your company because you are following your truth. If you are headed down a path that you’re not sure about or are committing to a path purely because of money, my warning to you is that you may wake up 10 or 20 years from now and realize you hate it. You’ll look back over the years and feel like you wasted your time. Align your work with your personal values, dreams and goals and you give your business and yourself the best chance of thriving.
Business as Passion: 101
I have always felt like there needs to be a course in college about how to find your passion. It would save graduates years of angst if they could think through this process rather than asking only the more surface-level question of, “What am I good at?” You can be good at something, but it might not be what you have a passion for. I have a tool called “The Business Brainstormer” that I like to share with people who are looking for these answers. Take out a notebook and work through the following:
- When you were younger, what did you love to do? What were your natural inclinations (hobbies, people you liked to be around, activities you enjoyed)? When we’re younger, we naturally gravitate towards things. We don’t have our head in the way. This can give us clues as to what we have a passion for.
- What’s on your “bucket list?” What have you always wanted to do? These can even be things you’ve seen other people do and always wanted to experience for yourself.
- What are your skills? What do you know you’re good at? Are you great at making grilled cheese sandwiches or gardening? Are you a good listener? Are you good at having compassion for others? Write down skills from all areas of your life that you have an awareness of.
- The final step in this exercise is to read the above lists aloud to a trusted confidante. Then, have them reflect what they heard you say back to you. What was their takeaway? How do the things that stood out to this person come together to reflect a potential career path?
From Passion to Success
It’s all well and good to know your passions and dream big about how to make them into a career, but the work you put in day in and day out is where the rubber really meets the road. If you want to succeed, you have to work for it. This means staying focused and working towards your goals each and every day. Talk to people. Network and surround yourself with people who are already succeeding in similar avenues. Find a business mentor who can help keep you accountable and moving forward. With the right focus and support, you can fast track your business to success.