We all want to have that type of job, the job that we love. After all, the average person in the U.S. today will spend over 45 years, or almost 94,000 hours, working at his or her job. This assumes that the average person puts in “just” a 40-hour work week, although many of us put in more hours than that.
So how is it that when some people speak about their “job”, they exhibit a real love for what they do, while many people dread going to work every day? I would sum it up in one word: Passion.
Do you spring out of bed each morning excited about the prospect of what today will bring? Do you relish in the challenges that are presented to you every day? Do you look forward to the exciting challenges that tomorrow will offer?
Most people would say emphatically, “NO!” However, some of us do not just enjoy what we do each day at work. Instead, we have a passion for what we do. To those of us who love our careers, work is not “making a living”. Instead, we choose every day to “feed the passion”, and it is evident to others that we love our chosen profession. It is the passion for our work that makes the challenges and pressures so much easier to bear.
Successful entrepreneurs are this way. They love what they do. They cannot wait to get to work, and they often spend longer hours at work than their counterparts in the corporate world. When they speak about what they do, about the products and services that their company offers, they are not timid, and their passion shows.
However, entrepreneurs are not average. Entrepreneurs must tolerate risk and uncertainty, live with very limited resources and deal with challenges much more so than those in the corporate world. Yet, how stable, how certain, how clear is a career in the corporate world these days?
Entrepreneurs often have a higher energy level and a stronger work ethic. When others get exhausted, entrepreneurs kick into overdrive. They are able to work 60 hours, 80 hours, sometimes up to 100 hours a week. They can sustain that kind of demanding schedule for weeks or even months. Entrepreneurs have to love what they do in order to be able to sustain such a challenging pace.
Many successful entrepreneurs developed a plan when they were younger, often when in high school or even middle school. They listened to their “inner voice”, which guided them with their educational choices and career selection. The success they enjoy today is most likely not due to lucky circumstances, but to a passion, a vision and a plan.
I did not devise a career plan in high school. Instead, I listened to what others said that I should do. My teachers, counselors and school peers suggested that since I was good at math and science, I should go into engineering school. Engineers had good career paths, and they were paid handsomely for their work. So I tried that my first year in college; however, I was miserable. My classes were a struggle, and I dreaded each day.
At that point, I began to listen to my inner voice. After one year in engineering school, I dropped out. Not knowing what I wanted to do, I worked for about 18 months, saved up enough money to go to another university, and enrolled in various classes to fulfill my undergraduate requirements. Then I tried a few business classes. Suddenly, everything made sense, and I felt comfortable with myself and my future career. I had found my passion.
After 10 years, I returned to Bellarmine University to obtain an MBA. That decision was not because someone told me that I needed an MBA to further my career, but because I wanted to learn more about management and marketing. Also, I enjoy reading case studies about what has made entrepreneurs successful.
While working on my MBA, I was fortunate enough to hold a graduate assistant position at the Bellarmine Small Business Development Center (SBDC). Imagine that — I was being paid to listen to others talk about their dreams and help them formulate their business plans! That opportunity opened up a whole new world for me. After working as a marketing manager for a mid-size manufacturing company, and a four-year stint in retail management for a multi-billion dollar conglomerate, I was fortunate enough to oversee the Greater Louisville SBDC for seven years. I worked with aspiring entrepreneurs who were developing plans to follow their dream. Talk about passion on steroids!
Now, in my work for TKT & Associates, Inc., I help entrepreneurs who are “stuck in neutral” get their businesses into high gear. More than ever before, I love what I do and am surrounded by other professionals at TKT & Associates, Inc. who share that same kind of passion for their work.
I have two college-age sons, and my wife and I have told them for many years to follow their passion and their dreams, not the money. Money is important, but happiness is more important. Moreover, the passion that people experience in their careers often leads to financial success.
Sharing the passion with your family, employees, advisors and customers is very important. Passion for a mission is contagious, but only if you share that vision. If your company has a culture of passion for the mission, it will show in all you do.
If you can achieve that, you will attract others who also love what they do. Suddenly, you will become a magnet for other talented people who have a passion for their careers. A network will develop, and people in the network will feed off the energy that each of them produces. So, if you have not done so yet, find your passion, love what you do, and you will never have to work another day in your life.