It’s often said that street-fighters win by passion. But business streetfighters can’t win on this alone. Passion is overplayed in our careers these days. “Follow your passion” isn’t good advice.
Throughout America, we have a heavy push to monetize our passion such that what we love or enjoy is socially required to create a business around it. “Just follow your passion,” as if everything else will fall into place.
The cliché has grown into an entitlement attitude for adolescent business people to base their career decisions around. And the expectations of things going right leads to disillusionment. This is because the center of action from which a person decides on a good path isn’t only about whether it energizes them. At close range, you’ll see two other vital aspects have been overlooked: 1) what other people want and need, and 2) aptitude.
The Folly of Building a Career Focused on Self-Interest
When business/career becomes the subject matter of the creative process one begins with the question, “What path or outcome do I seek to create?” Here’s an example: one would think that because food is their passion, therefore they should create a restaurant. Or that because they love sailing they should create a sailing rental business. You get the idea. The enjoyment we get from something we often trick ourselves into the business of it. And this is where things go wrong. Just because we love sex doesn’t mean you should become a hooker!
First, having to make money at something you love or enjoy is folly. Taken too far, if you like sex, it’s not time to be a hooker. If you like food that’s one thing, but if you like opening a restaurant and want to create dining experiences for others, consider opening one. If you like scuba diving that’s one thing, but if you like teaching other people how to dive and sharing new dive sites with them in which they have rich experiences, you should open a dive shop. The “miss” here is we think our enjoyment of an activity is suitable to run the business race. Our immediate gratification is a close relative to the motivation needed to create the business, but it’s not it. This is why so often businesses fail because the entrepreneur didn’t have the enthusiasm for what the business serves the market, instead it was what felt good to yourself.
Why Businesses Built on Self-Interest Often Fail
How many times have we seen people in the food business get divided by running the business and doing what they loved in the first place? Almost 100% of the time businesses present complexities that interfere with touching the original thing that brought the business concept into a start-up in the first place. When all you have is your gratifications as motivation the minute things get tough as you get easily discouraged when things don’t feel good. Emotions then become the immediate standard reference for decisions, not inspirational energy to bring a difference to the world through the vehicle of what the business does.
This brings up different questions such as: “What is our business?” “What offerings are we excited to bring forth?” “When our audience is enriched by our help, does it matter to us?”
Bill Gates didn't make Microsoft because he loved computers, he could not NOT see a computer down the road in every house on Earth.
The question of “what does the market need?” is essential, even further are questions such as “What will I bring to the world that doesn’t exist in it yet?,” or “What would I dream of people being able to get more of?” Bill Gates didn’t make Microsoft because he loved computers, he could not NOT see a computer down the road in every house on Earth.
The most successful entrepreneurs at the very start weren’t self-focused, they were focused on the market, and serving it in such a way that they become essential to it. And all their cost of innovation and optimization go toward this end. The source of their passion is self-giving, not self-interested.
What do you love? If you love boating, don’t open a boating business. If you love the boating business, and what people gain from it, then consider what experience matters to you that could make a big impact on boaters. You must marry the passion you have with how you can serve your market best with what tools. You’re in the business of serving people who want and need things you know and do.
The Keys to Building a Successful Business
Competency is equally vital to the success equation because after putting your talents into touch with a market need and filling it, how good are you at what you do? Don’t be over-confident an “over-believer” in your ability, instead, come by yourself and your businesses limitations and strengths with a commitment to the truth-telling. Self-confidence is self-honesty. The more you know what you don’t know, the more you’ll have successful failures that lead to competency level commensurate with where you want to be.
Strength is resonance. What you’re passionate about doing is a clue to where you’ll have the energy to build competency through mistakes and learning from them. Your passion is what weathers this hurdles and setbacks to bring your competency into alignment with the desired experience or outcome you seek to create for your audience. When a Business Streetfighter is good at what they do they don’t need determination.
If you know where you’re competent, think of a further progress point you envision to level up your game and raise the bar. If you’re competent at generating 100k per month, recognize what you don’t have to double this. You can’t do everything, but just a few significant few things make you a whole lot better as a business person. Think of yourself as a business streetfighter, with a personal gift full of uncommon skill. This uncommon skill is built through taking risks and learning from your mistakes. And it comes from developing other people to bring their passion, desire, skill, and value creation in common with your aim.
Be a Streetfighter of Business
To a Streetfighter, anything outside your personal gift you either delegate, automate or negate it. This is so vital to surpassing a four-year start-up milestone to…1) increase your ability to maintain your enthusiasm, and 2) being essential to your market continuously. No exceptions. Being the best at what you do is doing this profitably, not just this, but obscenely profitable. Being profitable is a priority because this oxygenates your ability to stay true to your desire, skills, and focus. Profit pays for your purpose. You must be good at what you do and profitable to continue serving your market competently.
If you’re not tough on yourself about where to spend your time, you’re risking failure. Business Street-fighters see their shortcomings, starting seeing these in your team, as well as the strengths. Knowing where you actually are—self/business/team vs. where you want to be is the single best learning ally you have for making great moves going forward because you have to measure each.
Whatever your measure you can manage. Think carefully about what you’re not measuring because it tells you what isn’t getting done.
Business Streetfighters create businesses because they fall in love with what the business offers and impact it can affect in the world. They assemble competencies by knowing those of other team-mates too. They build their competencies by fueling their learning process through the relationship between knowing where they are, and where they want to be. Their profitability is the oxygen to realizing their purpose and passion for the end result, and what they measure gets done.