How Changing the Way You Think of Passion in Business Can Bring You More Success
It’s not just about how much you love your job.
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Business leaders have a tendency to toss around the phrases "Love what you do!" and "Be passionate!" so much that the concepts of love and passion are hard to untangle. In fact, even gurus like Warren Buffet and Bill Gates insist that passion in the sense of sincere interest and unbridled emotion is the key to their mind-boggling success. But there is a more archaic definition of passion most entrepreneurs don't apply that, if kept at the front of your mind, might make you a better leader.
Are you willing to face the uncomfortable?
An old-school use of passion means suffering, especially if you're innocent. It's most commonly used in this sense in Christianity as a reference to the suffering Jesus Christ experienced before and during the crucifixion.
That said, religion completely aside, business isn't all lollipops. People like Elon Musk, for example, are known to put in 80 to 100 hours a week to keep their companies humming. You'll have to deal with cranky employees and deals that fall through. Experiments and models can crash hard and leave you wondering whether development will ever yield something that can capture market share. And oh, the loneliness. The very nature of being an innovator means you're forging new paths and won't have anyone else who's been where you are.
Tons of people are enthusiastic about the ideas they have. But not everyone is willing to be passionate in the sense of pushing through the uncomfortable. Not everyone will sacrifice to find answers or try. But truly successful entrepreneurs will accept a reasonable amount of pain because they understand the good or positive implications of their work. This doesn't mean they don't try to take care of themselves or are miserable all the time--like an athlete, they give themselves what they need to cope with each microscopic rip of muscle. It simply means that they love what they're doing enough not to back down when the going's tough.
So which camp are you in? Are you slinking away, or are you standing face to the brutality of the wind?
Finding your niche
It's not unusual for someone to have more than one goal they want to pursue. If you're having difficulty choosing, understanding that passion means both love and suffering might help you come to a decision. What's the concept you're willing to go through some yuck for? What's the vision you'd walk over hot coals to get to? That's your calling. That's the thing that will make you outrageously strong. Go after that one with everything you've got, because in the end, the consequence of strength is joy.