The following is an excerpt from “Grow: 12 Unconventional Lessons for Becoming an Unstoppable Entrepreneur” (Page Two Books).
Too many entrepreneurs are looking for immediate success.
I’ll say that again, in a different way: Money does not matter in the way a lot of people think it does. If you’re an entrepreneur or a CEO, accumulating money should not be on your agenda. Because if you focus on getting rich, rather than focusing on what you can do with money to follow your passion in life, you will fail.
I want to make this clear as well: You have to be focused on the right thing. What is your personal passion? Not the corporation’s passion, not the shareholders’ passion: your passion. If you’re working on a project you’re passionate about, you can just do it forever. And you won’t be doing it forever because you’re lounging about in blissful happiness and accepting whatever outcome you end up with. It’s the opposite of that.
If you are passionate about a project, you want to do it well every day. You want the kind of excellence that big companies wish they had. The idea of excellence that gets printed on inspirational posters in corporate hallways but is often never reached because people just don’t care enough to aim for it.
If you are really passionate about a project, there’s no way you can fail. Because you will keep trying until you get everything right, working till you succeed at whatever metric is important to you.
If you are really passionate about a project, you won’t accept anything less than amazing. Your project will be amazing because you have a reason to get up in the morning, to create, to innovate, and to thrive.
Every day, I live my passion as an entrepreneur. I’m lucky, though, because I work in the natural products industry, and we see a lot of passion for what we do. People become passionate about their work because of a change to their health brought on by creating and using products that positively affect people’s health. These entrepreneurs want to talk about their products all day, all night, so why not offer their positive lived experience to the world?
When you do follow your passion, you need to expect that there will be failure, growth, and a lot of change along the way. Because that will make you even better at your passion. We have this feeling that failure is final. As soon as we fail, it’s done. We’re finished. There’s no more.
In fact, making mistakes only really occurs when we stop or give up. Otherwise, we’re talking about learning.
The route toward our passions goes through testing and discovering, making mistakes and getting back up again. We have to become powerful at setting aside our expectations so that we’re authentically diving into who we are; so that we’re creating space to answer questions we’re passionate about. We have to become powerful at letting ourselves explore our passions and look for places to learn.
There is no reason for you to settle for working on a business that does not inspire you, even if you started that business yourself. Creating a business just to make money, or even to meet some random market need that doesn’t really matter to you personally, will not position you for success. Instead, identify what makes you content and what inspires you, and be conscious about and present in what’s happening around you, so that you can develop the bravery to really dive in.
Start out by looking for an example of what a good business, a passion-inspiring business, might look like for you. Remember, you’re aiming to create your best day ever, every day. Start there, and then think about next steps that allow you to learn more about what matters to you, and what you want to do every single day.
Ask yourself things like:
- What is one thing I’d want to do every day, forever?
- How can I learn more about how to follow my passion?
- How can I find resources or support in a way that allows me to embody my passion?
- Who are five people I know who are passionate about the same thing?
- What does that passion mean to other people, and what do they need?
- Perhaps most importantly, who are the passionate people already working in this field, and how can I seek them out for their advice?
- And if you don’t start following your passion?
When you’re working hard at your “non-passion” and your inbox is overflowing, you are not making any progress. You’re not getting anywhere. You’ve got this thing that you want to do, this calling, this idea that’s bigger than you, and when you look at your to-do list and none of those things is going to get you any closer to that calling, it doesn’t feel good or right. What that means is that the very best of you is not being called upon to solve a problem you actually care about. You’re not being psychically or financially rewarded for the things that matter to you.
The money you need to survive and thrive will come in if you want to show up to the business you create every day. But even more importantly, the money will come in if you show up for yourself.
You are what you need to be passionate about.
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