Many experts in a variety of fields have said that passion is the key to success. It’s easy to see when you listen to interviews with people who have built empires, like Elon Musk and Richard Branson, but there’s more to the story. Although it’s a necessary ingredient, passion doesn’t guarantee a project’s success. However, without it, you won’t get far.
What is passion?
If you look in the dictionary for the definition of passion, you’ll find simplicity: “a strong and barely controllable emotion.” If you dive a little deeper, you’ll find passion defined as the emotion that gives you “boundless energy, intense, almost single-minded focus, and the willpower to overcome even the most daunting obstacles.”
The latter description is exactly what passion for running a business looks like.
Why does passion drive success?
Passion drives success because it’s the element that keeps you going when you want to quit. When running a business, you’ll encounter numerous challenges, some of which will make you wonder why you launched in the first place. If you aren’t passionate enough to push through these challenges, you’ll end up folding.
Passion also naturally encourages you to put more time and energy into your business. When you’re passionate, you’re less likely to procrastinate on important matters.
Can you develop it?
What if you’re running a business you aren’t passionate about? Can you cultivate passion? Yes and no. You can create it, but it requires intense discipline and the ability to do things you don’t enjoy, sometimes for extended periods until you reach your goal. In this case, you’d be passionate about succeeding, which works equally well.
There are two general opinions about passion as it relates to success. The first position says that when you pursue an existing passion, you’re more likely to be successful. The second position says that you can bring passion to anything you create, even if you aren’t passionate to start with. In both cases, it is the driving force, even though it’s cultivated differently.
When you look at some companies, you can see how they turned their passion into a successful business. Sparks Rowing, for example, was created by a passionate rower who interned with the German national team, assisted the US team, and coached at a few colleges before becoming a coach and recruiter at Yale. Had the creator not been personally invested in the sport of rowing, the company might not have become as successful as they are today.
Other projects are launched based on profitability first and the business owners create the passion and drive to make it successful. This works as long as it can be maintained.
It doesn’t matter if passion comes naturally or if it’s artificially created. The drive to do something matters. Although, naturally having it does make it easier.
Does it ever backfire?
When looking at businesses created by just one person, passion is an asset that contributes to success. However, the presence of multiple people can complicate things. According to study results published by Harvard Business Review, “diversity of passion among individual team members has a negative relationship with team performance, due to conflicting emotions and identities within the team.” The same study found that “high diversity in passion is more harmful during the later stages of venture development.”
In this case, it backfired because all people involved weren’t on the same page. It makes sense to conclude that a shared vision is equally important.
Passion doesn’t create automatic success, but it’s a primary ingredient
No matter how you slice it, you can’t have a successful business without passion. Passion is profitable. It doesn’t matter whether you launch with it or develop it out of necessity. All that matters is that you remain driven by a force that compels you to succeed by meeting your goals and tackling challenges head-on.
If you’re feeling less than inspired by running your business and you can’t seem to muster the drive to keep going, consider starting a different project where you can develop an unrelenting passion for running.
The difference will be like night and day.