In our last column we discussed Passion- the passion of waking up every day and doing something you love, something you were created to do. Today we’ll touch on the Provision part of the equation. Both Passion and Provision are necessary. Whereas passion makes a huge difference in your quality of life, provision makes a huge difference in sustaining the life of your business. When we look at the business failure rate, the most obvious commonality in those failing businesses is a lack of Provision. Most often, that occurs financially, but insufficient Provision can also be intellectual, like when business leaders lack the training and knowledge required to keep their business going. It can also relate to insufficient emotional strength if you’re not able to endure challenges or burnout.
If you’re in a business that’s barely making it and feels like it could go under any given week, that is unsustainable. Passion for the business may carry you for a while, but in the end, Provision is a required piece of the puzzle for you to achieve your goals and dreams. The Provision piece is just as necessary to a fulfilling life as Passion, because it’s Provision that enables you to bring to reality the life you envisioned when you started this great adventure!
We have experienced passion without provision, and we’ve experienced provision without passion. Either scenario is terrible. Here’s our conclusion: Passion & Provision must go together. Passion without Provision is unsustainable; Provision without Passion is meaningless.
In fact, Passion can actually help provision to thrive. When people are doing their best work and contributing in a positive way to a community—whether through the arts, engineering, math, or marketing—they’re attractive and inspiring to be around. We’re drawn to people who are producing their best work, and there are often financial rewards for doing so. For that reason, we think it’s important and necessary to discuss the two concepts together.
That doesn’t mean that once you’re living into your Passion, you’ll magically become profitable. Getting to a place of sufficient provision requires strategy, understanding, and a lot of hard work.
If business leaders are going to experience thriving in their work- place, they need the peace of mind to sleep at night. If business leaders want to experience the freedom they dreamed of, they need to be able to grow beyond the plateau where they’ve gotten stuck. If business leaders want to experience fulfillment at work and at home, they need to be able to pay themselves and their employees. They need Provision.
Passion without Provision is unsustainable; Provision without Passion is meaningless.
Let’s get more specific about what we mean when we talk “provision.” What does that actually look like?
The Safety of Plenty
Imagine an ancient sailing ship getting ready to set out from its home port in England for a long trip across the Atlantic to the Caribbean. Nowadays, a ship could get a full tank of diesel in the Mediterranean and make it all the way to Florida in one stretch, but ancient sailing vessels didn’t have that power. They had to bring enough provisions on board to sustain them to the next port, and carefully plan stops along the way to restock.
These provisions were calculated and in place before the journey began. The ship’s captain would consider how many people were on board, where the ship would stop, and ultimately where the ship was headed. No matter what, it was critical to have gathered enough provisions to cover the needs of the crew from port to port if you wanted to survive. These provisions were for the day-to- day needs of the crew, so that collectively, they were equipped to pursue their end goals.
That, in a nutshell, is what we mean when we talk about provision. Provision is having the resources you need to achieve your goals. Pay attention to the last part of that sentence. Provision isn’t having just enough to break even—it’s having enough to achieve your goals.
Sufficient provision is more than just achieving the bare minimum to survive to fight another day. If a ship’s crew was so borderline with their provisions, they would have no ability to focus on anything other than getting to the next port. They wouldn’t be able to detour to avoid pirates or take advantage of a favorable wind and fly past a port town. They’d be nervous and hungry, working only to get to the next place they could restock.
Business leaders can also fall into this trap. They focus on having enough for today, enough for the next pay period, enough to cover this round of bills. But that doesn’t allow you any space or resources to pursue the bigger dreams.
Sufficient provision, on the other hand, enables you to get through today and build for the dreams of the future. You have enough provisions to be solid and stable and to know you’re safe. You can make payroll. You can pay the bills and you don’t have to lay awake, stressed out every night. You have enough provisions to meet all your needs, and extra to make sure that there is a safety margin, as well as some to give away.
That’s provision. That’s what it means to have “enough.”