I love music. I was raised in a family that you could not go anywhere without the radio on. To this day anywhere I am, at home, the office, in the car…music! You could say I am passionate about it. As a matter of fact,I perform in a band locally and we play the good stuff. I grew up listening to the Eagles, Journey, Toto, Hall and Oates and even a little Earth Wind and Fire! Every time we get ready to play a gig, I get fired up…I can’t help it, I just love it.
You may ask “why so passionate about music?” A good question. Here’s why: It takes me back to great memories. I remember: the song that played on the summer night I got my first car; the song that was popular when I met my wife and even the song that was playing when I proposed! Now please hear this…I am not saying that I have to go back to the good ole days to experience joy, not at all…life is pretty great now but nonetheless, there is just something great about the “feeling” I get when playing the oldies. Music has had an huge impact on the person I am today…hold on, I’m getting to the point.
Music inspires and motivates me. Imagine how ineffective critical movie scenes would be without music. The scene where the Notre Dame football team lifts Rudy on their shoulders and carries him off the field in victory would not have the same impact without the song that accompanies it. I could go on and on but here is the point. Ready?
As I was preparing to get ready for another performance I asked myself: “as a business owner, how can I bring the same passion I have for music into my business every day?’ If you are like me, this is a valid question. How many times have we found ourselves on the other side of passion when it comes to our daily business routine?
So with that said, I want to digress from my normal writing style and not talk about activity, prospecting, business development, service and referrals because I hope many of you are like me and are well aware of the impact each of these have on your business. I want to speak to the entrepreneur in you and ask you to take a good, long look at the approach of how you run your business and more importantly why your business, good or bad looks and operates like it does RIGHT NOW and address the one clear way I have personally discovered to bring that same passion for what I love to loving what I do for a living!
If you are personally in charge of business results, you are an entrepreneur. Whether you created, signed up or took over and existing enterprise; if you are responsible for the daily activities, performance and profit of what you do…you are an entrepreneur. I understand that the true definition of this term specifically adheres to someone who develops a process or a start-up, however Dictionary.com defines an entrepreneur as someone who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business usually with great RISK! I hope you caught that and it registers loud and clear with you! That one definition alone enlightened me to the discovery that fueled the same passion for my business as the music I love. While not as easy to achieve as it is for music, I had to come to the realization that I had to have a stake in the game, I had to love it enough to OWN it!
The key to bringing passion to your workplace is as simple as your answer to this question. Do you love what you do enough to care for and nurture it to make certain it thrives and not merely survives and, do you take real joy in success and experience real pain in difficult times strongly enough to correct any inconsistencies or disappointments? If you own it, if it really matters, passion follows.
Let me speak a moment on “loving what you do”. This does not mean everything is perfect, and life is just one big party, NO! We all know it does not work like that. We love our kids, family, friends yet many times they may aggravate or even disappoint us yet that does not mean we stop loving them…same with our business, it will never be perfect but because we care and believe so much in it (love it) and have a personal, significant stake in the outcome, we do all we can to make it the best it can be! Let me say it again, it has to mean something personally!
So how can we impact our entrepreneurial approach to help fuel the passion in our business? It starts with a personal view of how we became the entrepreneur we are today and will be tomorrow. I have discovered four factors that influence our approach to ownership or entrepreneurship as follows.
Traits: A characteristic unique to an individual. Traits are the qualities that make you…you! They include being ambitious, dependable, competitive and compassionate. Traits can be inherited or acquired and are developed and influenced by those you associate with. Which brings an important question…what kind of people do your surround yourself with? Positive, negative, doers or downers etc. What traits do you possess that influence your approach to entrepreneurship?
Habits: An acquired behavior pattern. Habits are the things you do on auto-pilot. They are developed over time and very, very hard to break. Great habits include getting to work early, always being on time, great preparation. Bad habits include procrastination, worrying and living in fear. What about you…what habits have you developed that determine your approach to entrepreneurship?
Defining Moments: An event or series of events so significant that after their occurrence life is forever changed. These moments shape our lives yet to come. There are many examples here, getting married, having a child, experiencing a loss of a loved one. From a business perspective, why you chose the career you did, the people you go into business with, developing a state of the art product or putting your eggs into one basket and taking your business over the proverbial cliff! Regardless of your defining moments, the key is what you learn from them and the actions you take? This leads to the final influencing factor…our decisions.
Decisions: Our choices implemented that determine outcomes. The choices we make are clear and transparent. They are the reason we are where we are today! Your business looks and runs like it does because of your decisions. The key is how you come to them? For example, are you quick to decide or methodical? Do you seek counsel, willing to learn from others or wing it all alone? How and when do you evaluate performance, how do you treat customers, how do you handle conflicts? The entrepreneur you are and will be is directly impacted by how and why you make decisions the way you do!
These four influencing factors are critical for each of us to personally understand because we are so uniquely different. When you evaluate them, you can get a better understanding of why your passion for what you do is where it is. I challenge each of you to take the time to evaluate each of them and their applications.
Here is my closing point. I hope each of us consistently remind ourselves that we have been given a BIG opportunity to do something great! We are blessed to run and operate our own business. I find many times we take this for granted. I know times may be tough but where else would you have the ability to be in control of your own destiny, perhaps specialize in something, work with like-minded folks, make a difference, have unlimited income potential, choose your own career path and create your own lifestyle for you and those you love (there is that word again)…and on and on. It’s time to rethink and retake ownership of work and of opportunity; to nurture it into all it can be. The only way I have found to accomplish this is to passionately pursue what we do because we love it and we love it because we own it!
Best wishes for great success to the entrepreneur in each you. Passionately pursue all that you do!