The early baby-boomers will probably be a little shocked to realise that the iconic Beatles’ song ‘All You Need Is Love’ first hit the airwaves about 45 years ago. It’s a great theme and the idealists among us would like it to be true for both our personal and working lives. However, hard-headed business people know that love and passion for the job have to be tempered with more than a little realism. We can love what we do and do it with passion, but a strong dash of realism and a bucketful of effort is essential for success.
Richard Branson, the epitome of passion plus realism, once said ‘If you’re doing things you’re passionate about, the hard work will come naturally.’ Together, passion and hard work are the driving force behind entrepreneurial success. It really is a wonderful thing to be doing business in something that you love. Do you look forward to going to work every day? Does your day fly by in a flash?
Daniel Isenberg, however, advocates caution. In a recent Business Review blog, he advised entrepreneurs to leave their passion in the bedroom. ‘When you’re launching your venture, let nothing stand in the way of sober, hard-headed, objective assessment.’ Of course, he does not advocate relinquishing passion altogether, but is suggesting that passion should not be permitted to intrude on business fundamentals. Your passion for your ideas must not blind you to the realities of business, particularly if you are just starting your own venture.
The current business climate does not allow business, particularly new business, to be powered by emotion. The basic business fundamentals require more care and nurturing than ever before. Even the most flamboyant and publicity-hungry entrepreneur must use some of their passion for establishing robust and appropriate systems, ensuring training and support, installing and maintaining up to date technology, building good management and infrastructure and encouraging dynamic networking. When both passion and sound business practice are properly balanced, it means that one aspect is unlikely to get in the way of the other.
Business success is built on sound building blocks. Passion may be the impetus, but it can’t operate alone. As Branson says, ‘If you can indulge your passion, life will be far more interesting than if you are just working. You’ll work harder at it and you’ll know more about it.’ But then he goes on to say, ‘First you must go out and educate yourself on whatever it is that you’ve decided to do – know more about kite-surfing than anyone else. That’s where the work comes in.’
Branson knows that passion by itself is not enough. We have all seen enough of him to realise that he has the working balance just right. Those who describe him as ‘lucky’ are wrong. As Thomas Jefferson once said, ‘I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.’
Branson’s spectacular success has been driven by passion and hard work – lots of it.
I’d love to hear what your experience has been…