Lovin’ It – Part 1

Question: You’ve written before about passion. How do I find my passion?

Answer: I’ve said previously that most people go through life and work at a job. Fewer of us pursue a career. And even fewer yet actually live a passion. To be truly successful entrepreneurs living a passion is requisite. But there are plenty of very rich entrepreneurs who are miserable, so what gives? I’m defining success to be much more than just money. A truly successful entrepreneur has success in relationships, in health, in philanthropy, in hobbies, in intellect, in spirituality and in emotion.

Passion is multi-dimensional. I submit that living a passion is more than just our chosen profession. It’s about reaching the conclusion that life is all about more . . . not less. And it’s not just more of one thing but more of many. A fundamental question to be asked is, “What are we excluding from our lives?” Kindling and sustaining passion is difficult if we’re one-dimensional and our lives are out of balance. We may experience bursts of energy and creativity, and we may have moments of euphoria when we achieve that upon which we focused. But then what happens? More often than not we crash and burn. Then we may yo-yo back and forth between the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.

Here’s my story. Early in my adult life I was pursuing a career. I move out of the “working a job” phase pretty quickly. Our business was growing and I threw myself into building it. There were plenty of 18-hour days plus weekends and holidays. In fact, I actually took pride in working 100-hour weeks. I read nothing but business books and thought about little else than what was happening in my company. I was the poster boy for being one-dimensional. No, I wasn’t unhappy but there was always a gnawing feeling that something was missing.

Living my passion did not come through an epiphany but was gradual over time. I loved what I did professionally but realized that burnout was unavoidable if I didn’t change my ways. Over the years my life became more balanced, and that in turn stoked the passion. What I’ve learned is that passion is much more than just loving my profession. The balance of physical, emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and relationships in addition to our profession has a multiplier effect. I love being creative in my businesses. I love the philanthropic endeavors that my wife and I pursue. I love mentoring and coaching others – the list of the things I love to do goes on and on. And the cumulative effect of all of these “loves” is what becomes passion for me.

Make sure to read my next installment in which I’ll add the other ingredient necessary to discover our passion.

This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.

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What to Do?

Question: Lately I’ve been faced with some tough decisions. I struggle in this department. How can I make this easier?

Answer: Entrepreneurs by definition have to make a lot of hard decisions. Do we add a new product line or not? Should we raise our prices? Should we fire a client? Can we afford to buy a new piece of expensive equipment? All of these decisions are weighty for a reason. They could have adverse consequences if we’re wrong about what we decide.

Life is full of tough calls. Whether in our business or personal lives one factor that makes decisions hard is a little thing called emotion. The more we can eliminate emotion from our decision making process, the more likely we will be to turn the tough call into the right call. Without emotion we can then turn to a factual approach in this process.

Something that has worked for me over the years has been the use of a decision tree. When I have to make a complex or difficult decision I draw one or more lines down the page. At the top of each column I write a decision that I could make to address a particular situation. There might be two or three possibilities – maybe even more. From each decision I draw lines with boxes underneath. We all know that when decisions are made there are consequences. These boxes contain the consequences. By laying out all of the decisions and the various potential consequences I am able to assess the probability of outcomes and determine which yield the best result with the lowest risk. Doing this insures that emotion remains on the sideline.

Some people say, “Follow your gut instincts.” So you may ask, isn’t gut instinct an emotion? Actually gut instinct is the result of experience. There’s no such thing as pure gut instinct that isn’t based on some level of experience. And this experience can be developed by making decisions over and over utilizing facts and decision trees. Eventually you just know what to decide because you’ve done it so many times. But a strong factual foundation was laid early on.

We can all make the tough decisions with ease when we take the emotion out of the equation. By turning to an examination of the facts we are able to logically figure out what steps to take. And after we do this long and often enough, we develop strong instincts that enable us to act quickly and decisively.

This blog is being written in tandem with my book, “An Entrepreneur’s Words to Live By,” available on Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle (My Book), as well as being available in all of the other major eBook formats.

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