Passion Is Not Enough

On May 12, 2010, in Business, by John Tree

Passion is a wonderful human emotion. Passion has been the driving force behind much of world’s progress throughout history, dating all the way back to the beginning of recorded history. Passion has been the cause of wars, and triumph, and victory. It’s also caused havoc, suffering, and death. Innumerable people have been killed in the name of one passion or another, whether it be religious, political, racial, etc. You get the idea here: passion is a tool, as sharp as a surgeon’s scalpel, that can be used for both good and bad, depending on who is wielding the blade.

In business, and in particular, amongst Entrepreneurs, there’s a general sense that in order to succeed, you just need to be passionate about what you choose to do. I’ve talked about this with a lot of business people, from very senior corporate executives, to small business owners, to those who have failed in business and are now not working. And the general consensus is that people need passion. A common belief is that passion is the key ingredient in the “recipe” of business success.

I’ve met so many Entrepreneurs who believe that because they are so passionate about what they want to do, they simply cannot fail. Many of them have a framed print on their wall that usually depicts some inspiring image like a bald eagle, or a ship at sea, and the caption: “Belief fuels passion, and passion rarely fails.” These Entrepreneurs mistakenly believe that if they just bring more of their incredible energy, passion, and enthusiasm to their business, they’ll be able to overcome any obstacle through the shear strength of their willpower.

And then there are those timid souls who sit on the sidelines, and observe the train wreck and carnage that was somebody’s business that just failed, and casually comment that the owner just didn’t have enough passion. Are you kidding me? That owner probably worked himself/herself into the ground, gasping for air up until the very last moment. They probably have bloody knuckles from the fight, combined with intense sleep deprivation, stress, and ulcers, not to mention a depleted bank account, broken dreams, and despair. And I doubt that failed Entrepreneur is sitting around saying “Gee, if only I’d had just a little more passion…”

So to all the people who think that passion cannot fail, I would advise you to look around at the littered landscape of failed businesses and ask yourself why did those businesses fail? Ask yourself if you believe these failures wouldn’t have happened if only those failed Entrepreneurs had more passion. If only they would have tried harder… Do you really believe that? Of course not.

So there must be something more to business success that just finding something you’re passionate about and jumping in with both feet and running really fast! Certainly, as said in the very first paragraph, passion is a wonderful emotion and can contribute greatly to success in any endeavor. But passion alone is not enough, and if that’s your only tool in the business toolbox, you are most likely on your way to joining the many other passionate Entrepreneurs who lost big as they pursued their dreams. Because unfortunately, the fact is that most new businesses are going to fail in the first 12 months. That’s not meant to discourage you, it just is what it is. But you can do something about it: get yourself the skills and training you need to beat the odds. Combine your passion with the right skills and training, and now some truly great things are possible.

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