I am not alone in this venture. I have a business partner in New Year Publishing who navigates most of the choppiest waters. I work with a group of motivated professional speakers in NYP Speakers who are committed to developing a community of peers. My wife has been on board, and continues to support the business and unpredictable travel schedule (as well as running the Children's Division of New Year Publishing). And my kids seem to understand the process of being self-employed... with the sacrifices and rewards that come with the journey (they don't like my travel, but like that I can drive them to school, gymnastics and karate more often!).
The other day I told my wife I had never been this happy in my entire career. She reminded me of two jobs where I had this much passion. I was excited to go to work everyday and I was in the zone - making things happen and living success. In both of those jobs I had bosses who gave me the goal, a budget, and then got out of my way. I was allowed to oversee my marketing / business development programs without micro-management. In the end I was happy, and I delivered more than expected by my employers.
I did not always have this level of autonomy and trust in every job that I had. Most of my career I felt adrift. I was trying hard (and still getting things done), but could not get the "flow" going. A person can fake it all along the way, but they have to look at themselves in the mirror everyday. No passion sucks, and it makes your job suck too!
I see the connection now between my love for what I am doing now and those two jobs were I was on fire. It was when I was allowed to be an entrepreneur (or intrepreneur, as the case may be) that I was able to kick butt. When you are slaying dragons and winning battles there is nothing that can stop your attitude from souring to the top.
The more I coach and consult with professionals I discover that many people are stuck in jobs for which they have no passion at all. They feel trapped by the paycheck and yet have no idea what else they would do but work for a company.
A recruiter told me recently that it is predicted that as much as 25% (or more) of all employees would welcome the opportunity to change jobs. However, the economy has kept most people in the same place for a long time. Once the job market opens up it is predicted that it will not be the unemployed who will take the first wave of open jobs, but those who already have jobs that are desperate to move on.
Think about that if you own a company. Over 1/4 of your employees are hoping to leave as soon as they see a shiny object out the window. This domino effect will surprise many companies, leaving important holes in their roster.
I wonder if most bosses can cultivate the necessary passion inside the hearts of their employees? It is hard. There are so many competing priorities inside a business. The boss and the employee do not always have the same goals. It is so easy, regardless of if you work for yourself or if you work for someone else, to get caught in the daily routine and lose sight of way passion matters in the first place.
I read a blog post by Andy Sack (a venture capitalist in Seattle) where he wrote about why passion is vital in a start up. His five points were:
- The ability to continually motivate and re-invent: By definition, founder's don't have all the answers. They are in a learning mode. They are learning what customers wants, how they're going to charge, how they'll scale, etc. They are often crude implementations of what they aspire to be and as such, founders inevitably will have to overcome rough patches and patches where they don't know what the right answer is. Enter passion. Passion makes overcoming this lack of answers possible and fun.
- The willingness to work longer hours than the average person.
- The energy to sell customers, employees, and investors possible. It allows you to overcome all the "no's" you'll hear day in and day out.
- The will to take feedback on limitations of yourself and your corporation and actually do something about it.
- The desire to persevere and persist when the going gets tough.
"In a nutshell, passion is the word people use to attach to all the emotional aspects of founding a team that require energy, inventiveness, and fun to overcome."That is where I find myself. Even after attending a five day industry conference, giving eight presentations in two weeks, traveling all over the country, and trying to keep up with all the emails and other projects.... I still look forward to waking up tomorrow (Monday) and hitting the ground running looking for new opportunities, promoting the NYP Speakers and Authors, and finding a way to contribute to all that I encounter.
Have A Great Day.
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