Every once and a while I read something online that makes me want to blow trumpets, wave flags and basically stand atop the highest soapbox I can find and …
… blow bubbles.
Oh wait, that’s not really what you would expect from me now, is it? Riiight, you expect substance. Even from a rant.
I remember many years – reading the Huffington Post published Les McKeown’s Stop Trying to Find Your Passion and Get to Work I was beyond giddy. Maybe it’s because I know Les’ work and how intelligent, generous, real and passionate he really is.
Maybe it’s because I crave to hear business speak that isn’t laden with high fructose corn syrup.
Or maybe the article made me feel vindicated for all the bullshit advice I’ve taken and yes, even shared with others, over the years about how to really succeed in business.
For the definition of “success in business” has become rather skewed, but especially amongst us solopreneur types who need more than Profit and Loss statements to light a fire under us when things get mucky.
Les explains that it requires competence–not passion–to succeed in business, stating that wildly successful entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs or Richard Branson “are successful because they’re brilliantly competent, not because they’re passionate.”
Anyone who’s read Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers would probably agree. Success in business requires us to get in the trenches and do the work, to deliver real value, to get a little better each and every day.
Yes, WHY you do what you do is important, and knowing your why definitely supports rapport building in your marketing.
Hell, copywriters can riff all day on that stuff. But when it comes right down to it, you’ve no business asking for the sale if all you can promise is passion.
And offering to help others connect to their passion in the name of growing their business? You’d better be certain that promise justifies the associated price tag in the eyes of your prospect.
Put in your 10,000 hours first and maybe people will care about what really does light a fire under you.
Not that this would be a boon to your business either. It just means your talk is no longer cheap (and someone will probably write a book about you).
The online business sector is brimming with solopreneurs pitching passion to other solopreneurs, and sometimes not much else.
Sure, there’s always value buried in the offer somewhere. Tools, templates, tips and tricks abound. Often though you can find what you need to know in a good book or by talking (briefly) to a smart advisor and then get on with things.
We need to rebalance branding (passion) with hard deliverables (competence).
We’re ALL looking for ways to bring more passion to our lives and our businesses. We’re human.
That’s what makes business and marketing so fascinating. No two entrepreneurs will cook it the same way. But I’d argue that there’s too much dessert being sold and not enough main dish selections.
In truth, passion isn’t the sustaining ingredient we’ve been sold anyway. To use a crude example, passion in my marriage is important but passion alone does not a marriage make. Most days my husband and I are more concerned with meaning, contribution, and purpose.
It’s a hard sell to sell hard work, which is why we don’t hear a lot about it from people trying to sell us stuff.
Maybe though, just maybe, a good lot of you are happy to roll up your sleeves and dig in to the hard work of building a profitable business, a business that’s fuelled by a fundamentally basic passion to deliver real, hard value for the money, every single time.
What’s your right balance between passion and competence? Leave a comment below.