Is Passion Enough?

Around these parts, I talk quite a bit about building a business guided by your passions. My own passions guide all my business endeavors, so I’ve got room to talk.

But here’s a little not-so-secret: you shouldn’t start a business just because you’re passionate.

Maybe it’s surprising to read that, especially from me.

Notice the loophole?

You shouldn’t start a business JUST on your passions.

Which begs the question above: is passion really enough?

Passion is the fire energy, the driving force, the heartfire in your business. The fire of passion burns bright and strong. But passion is not enough.

Like it’s kissing cousin Desire, Passion eventually cools.

That’s the nature of time and transformation. All things pass …and fire expedites the transformation process.

@@  Passion is the flame, curiosity is the spark, but grit is the fuel. @@

In order to keep the flame of your passion alive in business, you need to get used to hard work (over a long time, without wavering).

True, the work will be enjoyable, rewarding and ultimately more fulfilling than most standard 9-to-5’s, but let’s be clear: it’s still work.

The entrepreneurial life involves a deep dedication to learning the tools of the trade. Not YOUR trade: the trade of business.

If you’re a conscious creative type with big dreams and a desire to do meaningful work in the world, the cold hard reality of business know-how is daunting.

Then you have the day-to-day operations. Now you are not only a passionate creative / artist / healer / helper, you are a business owner! Congratulations on your new (business) baby!

This is a wake-up call …even if you’re a seasoned business owner.

Let’s call on our friend, Curiosity, shall we? As the mother of Creativity, Curiosity invites us to remain open, playful and inquisitive. Curiosity keeps you asking the questions you need to answer in order to be successful in business.

Curiosity + Passion are still not enough.

You need to develop the drive to keep going and the will to do what must be done. Self-discipline gets us to do the not-so-fun things in our business: like systems, launching, strategy, vision and planning. All of these tasks are fundamental to the long-term success in your business. If you aren't willing (or able) to streamline and strategize, your passion-fueled business will fail.

@@The good news is that self-discipline can be learned.@@

The very good news is that the extreme form of self-discipline, grit, is easier for those of us in the passion-and purpose-centered community to develop. Grit is “the combination of very high persistence and very high passion for an objective.” (Seligman, Martin P. Fluorish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Well-being, p. 118)

While passion isn’t enough, you can combine the high passion for your meaningful work with a lion’s share of persistence to get grittier.

For the intentional entrepreneur, grit is self-discipline for the greater good. You have amazing work to do the world: creative, healing, empowering work.

Amp up the grit— in your service-centered business— for the greater good.

@@Want to see how gritty you really are?@@

Take the grit test!

There's a final element that must be aligned for passion-fueled business success: Purpose.

If your passion-fueled business is misaligned with your purpose, it's time to start shifting that NOW. Your path to prosperity (and your ability to serve the world best) depends on it. Aligning who you are with what you do with your sacred work in the world is the focus of one-on-one coaching and group programs with me. It doesn't matter how gritty you are if the business you're building is misaligned at the core level.


P.S. Don’t fret if your grittiness isn’t where you’d like it to be. Grit increases with age and education. I’d also add that grit increases with intentional practice: habits. And if you're as fascinated with Grit as I am, you'll love this Ted talk by grit researcher, Angela Lee Duckworth. She literally coined the term. And she's pretty gritty herself!