As human beings, we’re passionate about many things; from animals, food and relationships, to sports and hobbies. There may even be a few of us who are passionate about our work. After all, isn’t the passion for different things what drives us and helps us get out of the bed every morning. For entrepreneurs, it’s only logical to have a passion for the inventions or startups; why else would one engage in such endeavors with sleepless nights and no paycheck.
Passion, like ego, may be a very common trait among entrepreneurs, and, therefore, should be limited and balanced. Instead of relying on passion alone, entrepreneurs should practice reason, purpose, and realism in order to stay focused and achieve long term goals. Passion, in the business sense, could be defined as the unbridled enthusiasm, our willingness to pounce on what’s in front of us with the full measure of our zeal, the bundle of energy that “gurus” deem as our most important asset. (Holiday 2016).
As history proves, countless entrepreneurs, authors, politicians, and business owners have fallen into this trap and managed to sink their ship before it left the harbor. They had passion but lacked everything else. The author, Ryan Holyday, gives a great analogy and defines the reality of such people; we hear what we want to hear. We do what we like doing, and despite being incredibly busy and working very hard, we accomplish very little (Holiday 2016). On the contrary, when coupled with reason, purpose, and realism, passion should help us overcome such tragedy and become successful. The purpose is a form of passion but with defined boundaries. The reason and realism should be a guide and give us perspective and a sense of detachment.
Take as an example Eleanor Roosevelt, perhaps the most important First Lady and an influential female activist who was known for her grace, dignity, and sense of direction. It took her years to become who she was known for. Instead of being driven by excitement and passion, she accomplished greatness through the process of accumulation (Holiday 2016). Similarly, the author gives an example of a famous UCLA basketball coach, John Wooden, who won ten titles in twelve years, not by passion but by developing a system for winning and working with his players to follow it. When asked to describe his former coach, a six-time NBA champion, Kareem Abdul Jabbar described coach Wooden as “not passionate” and lacking inspiration (in terms of speeches and hype). Rather, his philosophy was about being in control and doing your job and never being “passion’s slave” (Holiday 2016).
As aspiring entrepreneurs, we should learn to control our ego and passion; plan for contingencies and take smaller, attainable steps, seek guidance and surround ourselves with mentors and SMEs rather than shooting for the stars immediately without a plan an end up crashing before the take-off.
Graham Hicks, Edmonton S. “Hicks on Biz: Reason VS Passion in Business.”ProQuest, Jul 03, 2015, http://proxy195.nclive.org/login?url=https://search.proquest.com/docview/2169741751?accountid=14968.
Holiday, Ryan. Ego Is the Enemy. Portfolio, Penguin, 2016.