Posted: Tue 20th Nov 2018
Ever wondered what makes someone so passionate about their business that they have the desire and energy to work on it 24/7? Do you want to enjoy that kind of excitement in your own work?
Gil Kahana, co-founder of funky socks brand Chatty Feet, discusses passion and how to turn it into your life's purpose.
What we mean by passion
Have you heard the sentence 'just follow your passion' but still don't know how to make any sense of it? Or was it 'do what you love'?
Some people seem like they were just born with it. When they talk about their business you just can't comprehend the things they get done in a week. How do they have so much passion and seem like they never get bored?
You aspire to do more but whenever you try to progress your idea, you just can't find the energy to move forward. It feels as if you're trying to move a mountain.
But what does passion really mean?
Develop deep feelings
Passion is a sneaky thing, a bit like love. You can't just decide you're going to love something or have passion for it. It's only after you start learning more about a subject you can begin to develop these feelings.
Occasionally it starts with observing a problem; like that time in the winter of 1902, when Mary Anderson saw the driver of a trolley car with both his windows open because he was struggling to keep the windscreen clear of sleet.
She came up with the idea for the windshield wiper blade. It would be fair to assume that she got the passion to solve this problem because she saw the impact it had on people's lives.
Get annoyed about something
That just goes to show that a good source for finding your passion is getting annoyed with a problem!
Tina Roth Eisenberg, aka SwissMiss, has a great rule; if she keeps on complaining about something she has to stop and actually do something about it.
That's exactly what happened after she got annoyed with the design aesthetics of temporary tattoos that her daughter got at a kids' party. Her temporary tattoos brand Tatly is now sold in over 1,000 stores in over 40 countries.
The next time you get annoyed with something, rather than complain about it, stop for a moment and think about how you could fix it.
Some innovative ideas are rejected at first
"There is no reason anyone would want a computer in their home," said Ken Olsen, the founder of Digital Equipment Corporation in 1977.
The band Daft Punk got their name from a negative review that described their music as 'daft punky trash'.
Certain ideas are so innovative that they create a distraction field in people's reality and, in order to cope, they have to dismiss them.
While the positive feedback is sweet, the negative comments have their own importance because they challenge you to consider the perspective of others when searching for your passion.
Don't get too comfortable
Being too comfortable can numb us. It's no surprise that some people took the decision to bring their idea to life after hitting 'rock bottom'. J.K Rowling became a jobless single parent and felt like she was a failure on an epic scale before she came up with the idea for Harry Potter.
This in no way means you need to have the same experience to get things going but it does show us that when you have nothing to lose, you're more likely to put your heart into following your real passion.
Be a cautious optimistic
Let's imagine you're a shipmaster. If you're going to be obsessed with danger, the ship won't move. If you only think about your destination without being careful, you might hit a rock.
Use your experience and knowledge to keep a positive flow of thoughts but still consider the risks of the unknown. Being a cautious optimistic will hopefully get you to a beautiful island somewhere.
Still wondering 'where is my passion?'
When was the last time you felt appreciated and valued? People can identify our behavioural patterns as they get to know us. If you were lucky, one of your parents or teachers may have mentioned your unique strength when you were a child.
Even if they didn't, that doesn't mean you can't identify your own skills as an adult.
Our passion can live within us for many years before we decide to make it our profession. Just because you didn't find it as a child, doesn't mean there isn't a passion within you.
Keep business separate
Some of the things we're passionate about are simply hobbies and they should stay that way; something that fills your leisure time and brings you joy.
Whether your passion can become a business idea is a much more complicated question that goes beyond the scope of this article but as a rule of thumb, if your passion can bring value to many you're heading in the right direction to turn it into a business.
Do something about it
Humans are social beings and love recognition from others. The moment you start telling people about your idea, you create expectations.
Soon they'll start asking if you've made any progress. Do nothing and they'll think you're just full of ideas; all talk and no action. Show them progress and they will support you along the way and help to drive your idea forward.
Is thinking about your passion making you eager to find an answer?
Start by recognising the types of things you enjoy doing that make people around you happy. Some people make a team of players stronger in sports, others create unforgettable experiences by cooking delicious food and some even manage to find a cure for a disease.
When people acknowledge the contribution of your work in their lives it gives you a better reason to wake up in the morning and the energy to keep on doing the things you're passionate about.
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