Passion is critical for maintaining a successful business. Passion has carried me through the dead of night, when I was convinced there was no dawn—from the death of one business due to a catastrophic fire to the rise of a new one. It’s fueled me for daily living as the CEO of my own startup, Thin Air Energy.
Without passion, and a singular focus on that passion, I’d never have been able to develop my company, products or vision. Passion fuels the whole machine—and as contrary as it may seem, entrepreneurs can harness the current state of our world to hone and grow that passion. Here are three reasons why:
1. Crisis cuts the noise.
Imagine you’re in an accidental, near-death situation—maybe hanging from the edge of a cliff. You’re automatically going to focus. Everything unrelated to solving your immediate crisis fades to the background. In that moment, you aren’t thinking about a single trivial thing: you’re laser-focused on your goal.
I’m certainly not using this analogy to refer to COVID-19 as an illness; I’m referring to the fear from a business perspective. This pandemic raises scary questions: Will consumers still purchase my products? Is my product relevant now? How can I market my product when the news cycle is consumed by a pandemic?
That fear eliminates distractions and forces us to focus, channeling our entrepreneurial passion into new avenues for success.
2. When our collective circumstances change, new markets emerge.
COVID-19 is undoubtedly a global crisis. It’s also a once-in-generations opportunity to find new markets. An earthquake has rocked the business landscape: old opportunities are gone, but if you’re paying attention and willing to pivot, you’ll find that new ones have replaced them. Funnel your focus into making smart shifts in your business.
Gig economy? It’s still here, but it has been mutated. Leveraged opportunities? Not as likely, given the death of certain kinds of debt. New product and service opportunities? All around, in abundance. How we live our lives has changed, and with an open mind and a passion for finding smart solutions, how you achieve success in business can change, too.
3. In leaner times, passion and focus fuel success.
Seismic shifts in the global economy require steadfast focus and passion to navigate. The simple truth is you’re going to need to be passionate about your goals to ensure your business survives this. The shift comes in where you’re applying that passion: it might not be to the same business model or product that you started out with. Your passion needs to be aimed toward seeking success in new, agile ways—adapting your area of focus to what makes sense in the current market.
As we continue to navigate this unbelievable year, be mindful and accepting of everything that rolls your way. Keep your ear to the ground and your finger on the pulse of what’s succeeding in this brave, new landscape. Voraciously consume information from as many sources as you can. Focus on finding the solve that makes sense.
We all know that expression: A stopped clock is right twice a day. Information flow is loaded with fallacies, but there are always nuggets of truth to be gleaned. Look hard to find them. Place them together. Focus and ask yourself: “If this is true, then what are the changes in human behavior, and how can I use an understanding of those to help both humanity and my business?”
As a parting thought, I’d like to bring this down to a human level and acknowledge that, of course, it’s not always possible to hold onto your passion for something. We aren’t superheroes, we’re human beings. In those moments, passion needs to morph into resolve. I find my resolve through the mantra fake it until you make it. Be like a duck: calm above water and paddling like crazy below to get where you need to go.
And, importantly, don’t forget to lean on your network of helpers. This may be family, friends or trusted associates. It’s okay to tell them your passion is flagging. It’s okay to acknowledge that you’re human, and potentially scared, and need help getting that passion back. Falling off the horse doesn’t matter so much. What matters is that you get back on.