I’ll start this blog by being upfront and admitting I don’t have the answers to the questions I pose.
But they’re worth posing. Worth your giving serious thought. They get at the heart of what many believe will make the difference between success and failure in running your business.
In a word: passion.
Passion for your business.
In my recent interview with Eytan Benoussan, founder and CEO of NorthOne, he points to passion as being the very best at what you do. What I like about his thought is that he doesn’t just hang the word passion out there all by its lonely self. He defines it as “passion for being the best” and cites Nike as an example.
This is very much in line with the principal set out in one of my favorite books “From Good to Great.” Companies that make that leap have this in common: a passion for being the best at what they do. Their focus is on their core business. They don’t go off in different directions acquiring different businesses that are tangentially connected to their core business.
If they’re in the hotel business, they don’t acquire car rental companies that could work off their hotel guest audience. They seek only to be better at serving their guests. The result is market domination.
Where does passion originate?
One question I have is where that passion originates. Eytan defines it as coming from his family background. He didn’t spring from a banking or financial industry. His family environment was small businesses. Growing up he observed the many hats a small business owner would have to wear, one of which included handling the full load of financial responsibilities.
Eytan saw the burden and had a hunger to find a solution. He nurtured this hunger over many years. Eventually his years at Mckinsey, where he handled financial issues for large corporations, brought him face to face with new regulations that opened windows of opportunity for small businesses.
The seed for his passion was nurtured early.
So, question one – is this the norm? What happens if nothing spurred your hunger? I would put my money on that if you randomly stopped someone on the street and asked him why he started his business he’d say to make money. Earn an income to support his family. Put away enough for retirement.
Is the desire, the hunger to earn more a passion that drives success? Does it drive the hunger to be the best?
Sustaining that passion for business.
The second question I’m pondering is how do you sustain that passion?
As any CEO will tell you, along with the perks come the endless headaches, the 24/7 intensity, the crushing challenges popping up about every other week, if not every other day.
Is the passion sustained by the hunger to be the CEO? Is there something more meaningful?
Eytan, his partner and their excellent team at NorthOne have achieved remarkable things. But I have no doubt there was a price to pay. Personal sacrifices to be made. There is always a trade-off.
I said up front I don’t have the answers. But asking often puts the mind to work more deeply and triggers a thought.
A clear purpose.
Let me put this on the table. When Eytan says passion, he means purpose. Eytan from day one had a clear purpose: to help small businesses with their financial needs. He didn’t set out to be a banker. He set out to help small businesses. He didn’t fall in love with the banking industry. He fell in love with the possibilities that the financial industry, with new regulations, would benefit new businesses.
The answers to my questions? Purpose can come at any stage of life. Purpose transcends hardships, personal sacrifice. Purpose gives deeper meaning to why you go to the office every day. It’s a sweet nectar that revives and sustains your drive.
Read Eytan’s interview and you’ll discover how through purpose you can make positive changes in the world around you. And in yourself.