By John Follis, Founder of The Marketing Show
While at a networking event the other night I observed as conservative men in conservative suits exchanged their conservative business cards and conservative conversation. I was then drawn to a young Asian woman in a colorful outfit who's face lit up when I asked her what she did. She was a graphic designer with a passion for Japanese comic art. Whenever I prepared to gracefully depart she'd pull out another sample of her work and present it with such enthusiasm that it was impossible not to listen a few more minutes. Although I could see little business potential she was by far the most interesting person at the event.
It's not hard to figure out who loves their work and who doesn't. Those who love their work exude a very positive, attractive energy. And those who don't exude something quite the opposite -- a negativity which often takes the form of rude behavior, arrogance, or just plain boredom. A passionate person is also a powerful person. I'll never forget a comment from ad guru Tom McElligott who was once asked about his secret for his high success rate in selling his edgy creative work to clients. "It's not about selling,'" explained McElligott, "it's about passion. Clients can tell if you truly believe in what you're presenting, or not."
In the new book entitled, "How They Achieved: Stories of Personal Achievement and Business Success," twenty-one of the country's most successful CEO's, entrepreneurs, and visionaries are interviewed about their path to the top. Some, as you would expect, knew early on exactly what they wanted to achieve. Others, surprisingly, didn't. All, however, shared one powerful characteristic: passion. They were all involved with things they loved doing. According to former PepsiCo CEO, Don Kendall, "if you're not excited as hell about what you're doing, you'd better find something else. There's no way you're going to be successful if you're not excited about what you're doing." John Sculley, former CEO of both PepsiCo and Apple says, "I never really cared about making a lot of money. I was more concerned about doing things that were interesting -- things that would make a difference." Adds Robert Mondavi of Mondavi Vineyard, "You must be passionate about what you do if you want to succeed and live a happy life. Find a job you love, and you'll never have to work a day in your life." After hearing testimonies like these is it any surprise that these people are successful?
Whenever I meet new people I'm curious about what they do. But I'm also curious about what they love. Rather than just ask the expected, "So, what do you do?" I often ask; "So, what's your passion?" Try it sometime and see what happens. Those unfortunate souls who have no passion in their life will look at you oddly, mumble something, and then probably get another drink. Those with passion, on the otherhand, will light up and eagerly share their joy of traveling, or gourmet cooking, or salsa dancing, or whatever it is they love doing. And, like the woman at the networking event, a few lucky people will actually talk about their work.