-- EMPLOYEE RESOURCES: ENTREPRENEURSHIP --
How To Find Your Passion
Who we are and where we want to go ultimately determines what we do and how much we are able to accomplish doing it. An entrepreneur who lives with purpose will ultimately win the entrepreneurial game because purpose is the most powerful motivator when creating a startup. Plus, you’d be stupid to start something for any pursuit besides happiness…
Let’s get this lesson started with a story.
One morning a King walks out of his palace and encounters a beggar, “What do you want?” the King asks. The beggar laughingly says, “You ask as though you can fulfill my desire!” Offended, the King replies, “Of course I can. What is it? The beggar warns, “Think twice before you promise anything.” Now, the beggar was no ordinary beggar but the King’s past-life master, who had promised in their former life to come and awaken the King at some unidentified time. The King, not recognizing his old friend, insisted, “I will fulfill anything you ask, for I am a very powerful king who can fulfill any desire.” The beggar said, “It is a simple desire. Can you fill this begging bowl?” “Of course!” said the King, and he instructed his vizier to “Fill the man’s begging bowl with money.” The vizier did, but when the money was poured into the bowl, it disappeared. So he poured more and more, but the moment he did, it would disappear. The begging bowl remained empty. Word spread throughout the kingdom, and a huge crowd gathered. The prestige and power of the king were at stake, so he told his vizier, “If my kingdom is to be lost, I am ready to lose it, but I cannot be defeated by this beggar.” He continued to empty his wealth into the bowl. Diamonds, pearls, emeralds. His treasury was becoming empty. And yet the begging bowl seemed bottomless. Everything put into it immediately disappeared. Finally,
as the crowd stood in utter silence, the King dropped at the beggar’s feet and admitted defeat. “You are victorious, but before you go, fulfill my curiosity. What is the secret of this begging bowl? The beggar humbly replied, “There is no secret. It is simply made up of human desire.”
Before you start down the path of entrepreneurship, be aware that one of entrepreneurs’ biggest challenges is avoiding the beggar’s bowl, a bottomless pit of desire continually searching for the next thing that will create happiness. Starting a company that makes you loads of money, fortune, and fame won’t lead to happiness… what leads to happiness is the fulfillment of purpose.
As an entrepreneur, if you lack a big picture view, you can easily fall into serial success seeking, when what you really want is to become more engaged in what you do and find ways to make your life more meaningful. A recent study interviewed individuals that were/are considering the pursuit of an entrepreneurial venture (key word is “considering” a venture). The “future” entrepreneurs were asked four questions, and these were the most common answers.
Question #1: How much money do you want to earn from your business?
Answer: I don’t know. A couple million dollars.
Question #2: How did you pick that number?
Answer: I don’t know.
Question #3: What is your definition of a financially wealthy person?
Answer: Someone worth a million dollars or more.
Question #4: How did you pick that number?
Answer: It sounds like a lot.
Now remember, these answers weren’t every persons response, but they were the most common answers given to these four questions. You may be asking, “Why does this matter to me and entrepreneurship?” For one specific reason. This line of questioning proves if these individuals moved forward with starting a business, they would never become happier or know when to stop or which direction to focus on. In other words, an entrepreneur will never know when they have enough money, and can never be financially wealthy without a purpose.
The purpose driven conversation above may seem superficial and worthless. You might even write it off and ignore this lesson all together. DON’T. Purpose is the ultimate source of personal strength because it creates your unwavering strength as an entrepreneur to persevere. The ability to create extraordinary results hinges on your ability to understand what matters most to you and taking the daily steps and actions that align with what matters. A definitive purpose for your life leads to clarity, which leads to more conviction in one direction, which leads to faster decision making. Faster decision making commonly leads to better decisions, which leads to a more innovative culture and bigger success. Did you follow all that? Essentially, purpose and passion are the two things some of the greatest leaders in the world possess and it’s something you want to possess as well!
Let’s get into the nitty gritty of how you can discover your passion. Discovering your passion is no easy task. For some people, it seems to come so easily, and for others, it seems much harder. Either way, it’s out there for each and every person, and every early entrepreneur should strive to discover their passion before jumping into their first venture.
The first part of figuring out what you’re passionate about is exploring the activities your passionate about. Spend a moment making a list identifying the activities that make you excited to get out of bed in the morning. Now use this list to complete a short exercise.
Did you create a list? We recommend having a minimum of 10 activities listed… Now, follow these next steps to decrease the list.
With the list in hand, ask yourself the following question: “If I had to choose between the first activity and the second activity, which activity do I enjoy doing more?” If you can’t decide, close your eyes and imagine a life where the first activity consumes your entire work week and the second activity does not exist. Now envision the opposite. Which activity can you more easily live without?
If you are still struggling to decide, devote some exploration time to each activity. Spend an entire work day (start at 8 a.m. and end at 4 p.m.) participating in activity number one without spending any time doing activity number two. Then do the opposite the following day, spending all day participating in activity number two and not touching activity number one.
Once completing these activities, you should have your final answer on whether you can live without activity one or activity two. When you have your final answer, circle that activity and cross out the losing activity. Then compare the winning activity to the third activity on your list using the same format described above.
Complete this exercise over and over again until you’ve made it through all of your listed activities. When you complete the loop, you should have one final activity/passion circled. Write that activity down on a separate sheet of paper and label it #1; this is your number one passion. Take a moment to breath… Now rewrite your activity list excluding your #1 passion that you wrote on a separate sheet of paper. With this list, you will repeat the process four more times until you have created a list of your top five passions on a separate sheet of paper.
Discovering your true talents isn’t necessarily something that should be decided by yourself. When discovering your strengths, it’s important that you let someone else do all the work. Here’s one strategy we recommend:
- Ask a friend, family member, coworker, or mentor to sit down with you and try this exercise (we’ll refer to this individual as a “friend” moving forward).
- Ask your friend to name three of your greatest strengths.
- Tell that friend about your top passion and ask him or her to explain an imaginary story of your life based on the top passion and the three strengths named by your friend in step 2. For example, your friend may say, “You’re organized, analytical, and personable, and you’re extremely passionate about golfing. Thus, I imagine you running a Golf Pro Shop, where you deal directly with customers looking to purchase golf attire, organize the store accordingly with the most popular products up front and the less popular products in the back, and have the responsibility of tracking and purchasing inventory.”
- Take a moment or two to imagine and discuss this fantasy in greater detail. Consider all of the things you like about the fantasy (“I love golf, golf products, and analyzing inventory trends!”) and what you dislike about the fantasy (“I’d never want to physically organize inventory or work behind the counter as a salesperson”).
- Now have your friend recreate the story with slight changes based on your feedback. For example, “Alright, so you still work at a Golf Pro Shop but you are the Club House Manager. You still analyze and purchase inventory, work at the golf course, and decide what products go where, BUT you no longer work at the counter… You now manage the sales staff and provide them direction to improve their sales performances.”
- Go back and forth until the story feels right. Word of advice: Your friend may suggest scenarios that you don’t immediately like, but don’t put a stop to their suggestion until they complete the entire scenario. This is about creating a situation that plays to your strengths, and you are biased when it comes to deciding what those strengths are. Therefore, be sure to roll with the punches and explore several scenarios.
- Stop when you are completely comfortable with the story. Once you hit that point of satisfaction, you’ve officially shaped your favorite passion into a realistic goal and outlined what you like and dislike doing within that passion.
Incentives will play a large role in how passions are pursued. Take time to analyze what motivates you and how your motivations will affect your pursuit of happiness. List those motivations and then decide how realistic pursuing the scenario you found in the previous step truly is. Here are a few common motivations:
Reward Based Motivation: This is a type of motivation that allows you to perform better when you know you will receive a reward (money, present, etc.) once a specific goal is achieved. The better the reward, the stronger the motivation will be to complete the task.
Fear Based Motivation: Fear often has negative connotations. However, in this specific scenario fear refers to someone needing to complete a task in order to care for his or her family or the general public. The motivation to complete a task comes from the fear of failure.
Achievement Based Motivation: Those driven to earn a new title are commonly motivated by achievements. People motivated by achievement focus on reaching a goal for the sake of feeling a personal sense of achievement.
Power Based Motivation: These people complete tasks to become more powerful. It may sound bad, but many of the ultra-successful are driven by the opportunity to gain additional power.
Affiliation Motivation: Some people are motivated through compliments, connecting with powerful people, and working directly with people who make powerful decisions.
Competence Motivation: Have you always wanted to be better, improve, and outperform others in an attempt to be your best self? If so, competence motivation is you. This is especially helpful when you want to learn new skills.There are many more motivations, but we are assuming that you didn’t prepare yourself mentally to read a novel.
There are many more motivations, but we are assuming that you didn’t prepare yourself mentally to read a novel.
Analyze the goal you created in Step 2 and decide if that goal is realistic. After discovering your motivation style, does the goal still match the incentives you need to be successful? If it’s not well-aligned, take some time and go back to Step 1 and look at your second and third favorite passions on the list. Revisit Step 2 and decide if one of those passions aligns better.
Even if your goal doesn’t align, don’t stress out. It doesn’t mean you can’t pursue it. It just means you are going to have adjust the scenario you created in Step 2 to more accurately fit what motivates you. Once you do this, be sure to restate your goal on a piece of paper with the proper modifications made to enhance your motivation.
Discovering your passion isn’t a science—you may discover that you are already chasing your proposed “passion” but have found it unfulfilling up to this point. Whatever the outcome, always focus on taking advantage of the path that gives you energy, optimizes your unique skillsets, and fulfills your passion in life.
You can never take too much time identifying your passion so… This lesson isn’t done. Click into the topics below and you will get access to a SDS Test that helps identify your passions. It’s going to take some time and dedication. Put in the work. I mean, we had to pull some major strings to get you access to a passion discovery test that commonly cost thousands of dollars. Take advantage of it!