I have heard the passion vs profit debate since I first began to study business. For years the debate has continued to rage, and for years I could see both sides of the argument. But it was only about 18 months ago that it all became clear to me. The entire debate was way off the mark!
There are a couple important points to clarify…
Firstly, you need to be clear what you are aiming for. If your purpose is ONLY to make as much money as possible, then sure, focus on profit. There are plenty of ways to make cash, and you don’t need to love what you do in order to make money. (There are way too many depressed rich people to prove this point.)
I spent several years as a therapist in Auckland. My clients were mostly wealthy businessmen in their late forties and fifties. They had the money, the house, the car, some even the new younger wife. They also had the depression and drinking problems to match.
They had gone through life chasing money, and been very successful in doing so. But they were not happy for it. With their best years behind them they had begun to question what they had been doing it all for.
However, if your priority is creating meaning in your life, and not just money, you may find the answers to the question begin to change. This is not to say you can’t make money doing something meaningful, far from it. It just means you may need to take a different approach.
Secondly, the big mistake most personal development gurus make, is to misrepresent the word ‘passion’. Many of these gurus give the impression that passion is the same thing as enjoyment. It is not.
Passion actually comes from the latin word Passio, meaning to suffer. In more modern definitions it means intense emotion or desire. When understood in this context you can see the importance of passion within business.
Because I have yet to meet a succesful business owner who did not suffer at some point during the creation of their business!
It is not just business though. Imagine any sports star (or successful actor, musician, etc). It is their passion for their chosen field that enables them to endure the suffering and sacrifice required to reach the top of their game.
You could of course be simply passionate about making money. Many people are. This means they have an intense desire to make money, and are willing to suffer or make sacrifices in the process.
The problem is that, when we are driven by money as the primary objective, we are worshiping a false god. We lack real purpose.
Sure, we may have a purpose underneath the money. Perhaps paying the mortgage, sending your kids to school, paying for your parents hospital bills, or even saving for that vacation. But there is no deeper purpose in the majority of your waking day – the way in which you make that money.
Many people I speak to simply fail to feel any passion towards their work life whatsoever. Is this really anyway to spend the bulk of our waking hours?
A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business – Henry FordAs Henry Ford put it, “A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business”.
But it does not have to be this way. You see passion can be FOUND IN purpose.
When you find and connect with a big enough purpose, passion will flow in abundance. This does not mean you will suddenly love every minute of every day, but you will find more meaning in life. You will also be willing to make sacrifices and to suffer in order to achieve your larger purpose.
With a purpose beyond money we give meaning to the journey, and not just the currency that pays the way.
It was this concept that lead to the 5Ps of Priority that I taught in my book, ‘Create, Automate, Accelerate‘. In short they were: Purpose, Passion, People, Place, and Profit.
Find your purpose and you will find your passion. Find your passion and you will inspire the right people. Know where the right people are and you will find your place. In the right place you can find many ways to generate a profit.
For me this meant going back to the drawing board. Yup, I decided to take a new path in life, and devote myself to purpose first.
After giving it careful consideration, I could think of no greater purpose than to help save the world. Focusing on massive crisis that humanity faces gets me emotional. That emotion is the fuel for my passion.
No, I am not so arrogant or deluded to believe I can save the world. No individual can. But we can all save a bit of it. And if we all do that, together we can save all of it.
It’s funny… almost immediately after committing to this mission the right people began to show in my life. The cool part is they resonated with my purpose, and were inspired by my passion. I started to find my place.
I already have a plan for profit, with multiple streams of revenue currently being built. The first though (simply due to simplicity of setup), is a way for me to work more closely with other like minded business owners. I have decided to work with six clients in a blended role of consultant, coach and mentor.
SocialpreneurTV is a great way to reach, inspire, and help large numbers of people as part of the greater mission. But to really maximise impact I want to work more closely, one on one, with entrepreneurs and businesses owners; and to help them realize the dream of living with purpose, passion, and profit.
(If you are interested to work with me you can check out the information page here.)
What I really want to ask you though is really this… What greater purpose are you building your business for? What is it about that purpose that gets you emotional and makes you passionate? And, how are you monetizing your purpose and passion in a way that delivers value to others?