Passion in Business
Is passion necessary to succeed in business? It seems like a simple question with a simple answer. Of course! You cannot succeed in anything unless you are passionate. Unfortunately, the answer is more complicated than that. In fact, it is a mistake to assume that passion alone can make you succeed as an entrepreneur.
Don’t get me wrong. I love passionate people. All of us are passionate about something at some point in our lives. But translating that to business success is another story.
Passion is defined as a “strong and barely controllable emotion” or “something that you are strongly interested in and enjoy.” So, passion explains why people would fight over basketball and their favorite teams. Or, why someone would wait hours in line for a movie or for the store to open so they can buy the latest gadget.
This is why we love telling people, “Find your passion.” Or, to be overly dramatic about it, “Find something worth dying for.” Well, that’s probably more related to the Passion of Jesus Christ than anything else.
But telling young people to find their passion should be accompanied by some guidance on how to harness that passion. Passion without reason, without a plan, a business sense, persistence, and hard work is a dangerous thing.
In business, some think that because they have a passion for cars, they can successfully open a car shop. Or, if they love cooking, they can just open a restaurant. It’s admirable. I will be the first one to encourage people to go into business. But make sure you are prepared for the grind with something more than your passion.
You may be overflowing with the passion to cook but if you don’t understand the complications of setting up a restaurant — the money required, hiring a good team, pricing your menu correctly, etc. — then you’ll come crashing down.
Your passion must be able to stand up to failures. According to the Harvard Business Review, a first-time entrepreneur only has a slim 18% chance to succeed. Think about it—8 out of 10 people who start a business fail the first time. But the same study showed that as entrepreneurs persist, their chance of success rises to 30%!
Your passion should also push you to work hard. Starting a business is no picnic. You practically work 24/7. Sometimes even when you’ve gone to bed you’re still thinking about work.
These are the reasons my mantra for business success is not about passion — it’s sipag at tiyaga (hard word and persistence). It’s great if you have the passion for something. Go and cultivate it. Go and pursue it. But once you decide to make a business out of it, make sure you empower yourself with other skills and habits to enable you to sustain that passion.
One last thing—a passion for something sometimes consumes a person. Excessive emotions about something is always bad. When you are passionate about something, do not let it devour you. Do not forget that you have other aspects of your life to live for. Do not neglect your family and friends.
I work 24/7. But I see to it that my family would sit down for lunch every Sunday. We’d catch up on what’s happening with everyone. Then that Sunday evening, I’ll have a movie date with my wife. Sometimes in the middle of a hectic workday, I’ll have coffee with Camille, or call Mark and Paolo to have a chat.
If you neglect your loved ones, what’s the point of being passionate about anything?