MORE THAN PASSION
Are there factors to consider before committing to a career path? This is a question I have asked many times on my journey as a corporate executive and on the one as an entrepreneur. I would say that nothing is cast in stone and each man must go with what makes him feel fulfilled and puts food on his table. Can one turn their passion into their career? The term ‘passion’ in this article will be understood as a feeling of happiness and excitement about something one does usually not for income. However, an application of that positive drive and enthusiasm with a strategic set of skills can set us up for success. Many of us ask ourselves, if it’s possible. Can you earn a living by pursuing your passion? Would it still be your passion if you had to do it every day to make money? Are you truly passionate and are you ready to be a leader or an entrepreneur? Is the thing you are passionate about related to a skill that you have, that you want to develop, and that is needed in the market?
In order to be successful at being a passionate entrepreneur, you need more than passion to make it. You need substantial depth and knowledge in the business you are pursuing. You need a lot of skills in your toolbox, from sales and marketing, through to finance, leadership, administration, and more. In addition to all these essential skillsets, one seriously needs to be able to communicate.
Whether you need to convince investors of the merits of your idea or influence customers to purchase your products or services, communication skills are vital to success in a number of ways. The essence of communication is to get your audience to appreciate where you are coming from and when you are going. Connectivity during communication is building rapport, which is defined as total responsiveness on the side of both parties during an engagement. The showcase of connectivity begins with the exhibition of the appropriate body gestures during your interaction and not just the use of fancy words. In communicating, you have to do so with purpose. In communicating, you should look to influence and persuade.
Influence or persuasion is not a matter of dictation. It is communicating in such a way that, people understand and trust you to lead the way and make good choices. It is a collaborative effort; a problem-solving effort where you expand your perspective and new opportunities to advance a relationship. When your goal is to persuade someone, do not focus on how you can get them to do something. Instead, focus on what the other person’s goals and objectives are and how you can help get them there. Do not be afraid to ask the needed questions to get more insight or information about the possible options that could make your product or service better. Comfort is really the enemy of innovation, so do not get comfortable! The need to solve a problem and your ability to find one is the measure of the relevance of your business.
Another key skill you must possess is that of growth. One of the hallmarks of every great entrepreneur is the ability to make the most of what he has. No matter how small you start, you need to take a step with what you have in your hands. If you are able to find a means of multiplying what you currently have, making advancements in your business which reflect as growth would be much easier.
Growing your business requires that you grow as an individual as well. Do you have the temperament to face the obstacles that come with taking the leap? Are you patient and tolerant? Do you easily throw in the towel at the sight of the slightest road block? You truly cannot give what you do not have. It is up to you to inspire yourself, influence yourself and impact yourself. The process of growth may require that you set for yourself tough goals and push beyond boundaries. It may require that you do things to surprise your own abilities and inspire your mind to achieve more. Each day, you must ask yourself, “What can I do today to inspire myself, influence my craft and impact my environment?”
Lastly, you must be bold with your behavior. Your behavior and your character affect your relationships and your craft. Your business goes as far as your relationships and your delivery. If you cannot dive in deep and form solid relationships, you will fail at engaging your network and making an impact. To develop and be bold with your behavior, you must stay conscious of the things you say, the way you work and the people you lead. To develop and be bold as well, you must be honest with yourself about the shortcomings and the possible effects they could have on your business venture. Being able to tackle the loop holes about yourself will give you the endurance and confidence you need to do same for your business. Do not forget that you are a reflection of your enterprise.
Passion will keep you going in any venture, but your ability to learn and apply the necessary soft skills is what will sustain your business. It is important that you do not take for granted the acquisition and application of the needed hard and soft skills required to drive a business.