Your passion and your purpose do not have to be in a startup business.

“If you don’t love what you do you won’t do it with much conviction or passion.”
-soccer player Mia Hamm.

This week the title is have a passion for profitability. Why do I say that? I constantly see these entrepreneur shows on TV where they are telling people make passion your business. Unfortunately I don’t agree with that, and I know that goes against what a lot of people say. Let me tell you why. I absolutely love to play golf. I don’t how I’d make money in it. If you were to ask me what I’d like to do for the next four hours on a gorgeous day, I would say I would want to play golf. Let me see my choices. Does that mean I want to become a teaching pro and quit my current occupation? Does that mean I open up a driving range or invest in a Topgolf franchise. Do I partner in a golf course?

I’m thinking through all these things. My next passion is tennis. I surely can’t figure out how I’d make any money in tennis. Do you see a pattern here? My passions, the things I really like to do, are not necessarily occupationally related. I want to say that because your passion, which is a strong and barely controllable emotion,  something that really excites you, may not be employable. And it may not be a good business idea.

I was in a seminar not too long ago where everybody was encouraged to find their passion and then to make it an occupation.  I’m watching people have these great almost spiritual conversation moments getting ready to quit their jobs that they’ve been on for twenty years, and go start a business. Someone says, “Well I love guitar and I want to teach guitar and that’s all I ever want to do.” So I’m going to quit my twenty-two years on the police force with retirement and all these other benefits.  I’m curious how that’s going to go across when that person goes home and tells their spouse that. Or other people get up and say, “I love landscaping and planting flowers,” and this just keeps going on and on. I’m sitting in this room thinking, are you kidding me?

These stories are not going to end well. I want to get up in the room and say, just so you guys know, one out of every two businesses fail really quickly. By the way, nine out of ten will fail within the next ten years. So give up a good job to potentially lose everything. That doesn’t make sense to me. But we’re told to chase your passion. We’re told all these statistics about how many people don’t like their job. I think we need to look at this differently; we need to look at passion differently and we need to add another word next to passion. Maybe that’s purpose.

What is passion?

Passion means you love doing it.  It’s something you love doing, it comes easy to you and you’d probably do it for free. There lies the problem. Most of these people are going to get a chance and they are going to do it for free. Others tell you that you’re good at it. It’s one of those things where if you could just do this one thing you would do it all day every day. Does that necessarily make a great formula for a startup? I don’t think so. Let me tell you what no one tells you; you may not be able to do your passion for a living. And nor is there a business opportunity for this currently in your area that would be profitable to the point of sustaining you and your family.

There’s this brief window and we’ve all heard of the great entrepreneurs who were all under the age of twenty-five and lived in their parent’s basement, didn’t need any money and lived off ramen noodles. But then there is the rest of the real world that is being asked to give up an employment to start a business in their area of passion.

Alternatives to Following Your Passion

There could be a lot of ways to pursue your passion. Maybe with some creativity the job you have could give you the flexibility (time) to pursue your passion. Let’s say you love adventure sports. Does that mean you start an adventure business? Possibly, at a certain period in your life. But you may not be in that period where it is all that good of an idea. Maybe one of your children is getting ready to go off to college or you have a wedding a year from now. You can’t make a selfish decision at certain periods in your life.  You just can’t. You don’t have that as an option. Maybe you take your current position and restructure or renegotiate it so that it gives you the time to pursue your passions. Maybe you go to the person you work for and ask, would there be any way that I could restructure this to a four day week? Is there any way I could work from home a couple days a week?  If you present something creative to them and you’ve shown that you’re worthy you’d be shocked at what you may get, especially in these times. Start looking at your current employment as the engine to pursue your passions. I don’t think you should give up on a decent paying job with benefits without first trying to restructure it in a way that is beneficial to you.

Investing in a Business

Maybe you invest in a management run business. This is one where you’re not spending forty to sixty hours within the business. This is very common with franchise opportunities. Maybe you partner as an investor within a business, still keeping your highly paid position. I’m not telling you to have a job and absolutely hate it, I’m telling you to be careful what you leave. If you’re really good at something and your employee seems to compensate you accordingly you don’t always walk away from that. You leverage it so that you can do what you really want to do instead of doing the one big thing that you’re being pushed or told to do. That one big thing is to give everything up, cash out and go start a business even though you’ve never run a business before and nine out of ten businesses fail. I know that sounds like the opposite of what I should be saying because I’m the guy who talks about equipping entrepreneurs for success. But I’m also the guy who doesn’t want you to lose everything. And even in my seminars, I’m constantly telling people, it’s probably not the right time. Or I give them a list of things to get squared away before they move into starting a business.

What is Purpose?

I talked about passion, but what about purpose? Remember Rick Warren’s book the Purpose Driven Life? It was the number one bestselling nonfiction book in the last fifteen years. We all have passions, things that we really like to do and excite us. I shared what mine were. But there is also purpose. And my passion and my purpose are two different things. My purpose is, if I could just do one thing to make the world a better place what am I skilled and gifted to do? That’s your purpose.

Let’s go down a different street right now. We went down the passion street and I shared with you how you can fulfill that a little without completely disrupting your life. But you can also pursue your purpose within your occupational field in that, maybe it allows you to give generously. See, one person has a very limited footprint as to what they can give time wise. But having some success financially can allow you to give money in such a way that many people can do things. If you’re broke it’s kind of hard to pursue your purpose. Again, look at your purpose and ask yourself, within my current employment, can I pursue my purpose? Does it give me the freedom and/or the resources (finances)?

Maybe it gives you a skill set. Example: my wife’s a nurse. She has a great job at a local hospital here. Now, she would love to work with crisis-oriented nursing such as relief for tornadoes and hurricanes. But she’s negotiated her position at work to the point where she works two days a week so that she has plenty of time to pursue some endeavors that really fuel her purpose. Now she can volunteer for red cross to be available for things like that.

My point is that you don’t always have to give up your employment to have your passion or to pursue your purpose. Think really long about this. You can still invest in companies and there are a lot of ways to do this.

Today’s lesson was probably different than you ever thought. Have a passion for profitability in that, if you’re making money and you’re doing okay, don’t necessarily scrap that to pursue poverty. Poverty is not going to allow you to pursue your passion and probably not your purpose either.