I’ve listened to several entrepreneurs, innovators and inventors talk about the need for passion as the driving force in entrepreneurship. You’d often hear that you need to love what you do; you need to be passionate about what you do because that will keep you during the windy days.
The reality however is that many of us jumped into entrepreneurship because of money, status or other external rewards. We were tired of our low social status, while the rich occupied the upper echelon in society. We were tired of poverty and the many worries that come with it. So, we decided to do something. Let’s be frank: if I told you that I make 10,000 dollars monthly by writing on this blog, you’ll probably rethink your job or career path. You’ll suddenly realise that you’ve always had a passion for writing, designing and teaching.
The truth is that most entrepreneurs didn’t have a personal purpose when they set out to establish their business. They simply looked at a problem, thought of a solution and off they went. Or they saw a business model and thought they could improve on it. Or they just discovered some abilities they possessed and quickly built a business around it. The matter of purpose came in later when they wanted to pitch their ideas with investors or ask for a loan from a bank or when they began experiencing burnout.
The Harvard Business Review conducted a study recently on the possible causes of burnout among entrepreneurs. Among other things, they tried to evaluate the relationship between passion and burnout. Two categories of entrepreneurs were identified – those with harmonious passion and those with obsessive passion. Harmonious passion was defined as entrepreneurs who are motivated by their job because it brings them a sense of satisfaction and constitutes an important part of who they are. Obsessive passion on the other hand were entrepreneurs who were motivated by the status, money and other rewards that their entrepreneurial careers brought.
According to this study, the entrepreneurs who reported high scores of obsessive passion were more likely to experience burnout than their counterparts that reported high scores of harmonious passion.
This reminds me of the article I wrote a few months ago on identifying your core purpose using the 5 Whys method. It’s good to have a strong driving force while chasing that dream. It’s important to be very focused on that goal especially when you’re setting out to build a business, career or … but you must know what drives you, and if the driving force is wrong, you should change it, because over time, you may become totally dissatisfied with the whole thing and may even quit.
Have a harmonious passion. Spend time to develop and build healthy relationships with your loved ones and colleagues. See your business as a part of you, not the whole of you. Your relationship with God has to be constantly worked on because He truly loves you and wants you to do well, besides the fact that outside Him you can do nothing and nothing makes sense outside Jesus.
When your pursuit is powered by external gains instead of achievement of purpose, you’ll find the journey to the peak quite tedious. And when you get there, you may feel so empty and dissatisfied.