Passion is a phrase that’s bandied around in entrepreneurial circles.
Discover your passion.
Follow your passion.
Live your passion.
Profit from your passion.
Build a business around your passion.
I’ve spoken those cute-sounding phrases myself several times.
In conversation with a serial software and blogging success story, Dave Chesson, recently he mentioned how much he hated such enticing expressions. Passion, he reminded me, comes from Latin root pati-, meaning suffering, or enduring.
Passion: From Late Latin passionem (nominative passio) “suffering, enduring,” from past-participle stem of Latin pati “to endure, undergo, experience, that which must be endured.”
Mel Gibson did not title his blockbuster movie, “The Passion of the Christ”, for no reason.
It wasn’t called, “The excitement of the Christ” or “The Obsessive Hobby of the Christ”, “The Things That Christ Really Likes To Do”.
Just because you’re passionate about something doesn’t guarantee success. Excitement and enthusiasm alone will not cut the rug when the pressure is on. And just because you are passionate about something doesn’t necessarily mean you can build a successful business pursuing it.
Yet we hear it all the time.
Another turn of phrase that’s often heard…
“If I can do this, anyone can do it!”
On a purely practical level, this may be true. Sure, we can press the same sequence of buttons.
However, experience shows that one marketer might run a certain promotion, set up a sales funnel, or run a webinar series, with startling results. Another person then jumps in and turns all the same handles, presses all the same buttons, and even says the same words, with decidedly different outcomes.
It’s not just what a man makes that makes the difference. It’s the making of the man!
Just because Elon Musk can blast a rocket into space, doesn’t mean I can.
Just because Pedro Adao can rack up 8 fat figures from online challenges he runs does not mean I will see the same results.
I don’t have the same experience, abilities, connections, confidence. A host of factors I could excuse myself with. And these facts are not self depreciating, just honest. If you cannot gracefully accept who and where you are right now, how do you imagine you’ll become the person you one day will be?
But the real determiner is simply this. I am not Elon. I am not Pedro. I am David Lee Martin.
Quite frankly, I don’t want to be those fine folks!
God did not make me a carbon copy. He made me, me. He made you, you.
“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10 KJV)
His plans are no less impressive for you than anyone else. Plans to prosper you, to give you a vibrant hope, and a fruitful future. But it will be a future and hope in keeping with your personality.
That’s why it’s essential to work on yourself. Grow yourself. Encourage, embolden, educate, and edify yourself. Respect yourself, and do all you can to develop and use your gifts. Staring out of the window observing what everyone else is doing is not going to get you where you want to be.
Turn and look in the mirror, and appreciate what you see!
Understand that you are shaped by God for a purpose bigger than you can presently embody and seek to become the man or woman He needs you to be in order to fulfil His perfect plan for your life.
The Scriptures do say that “God is no respecter of persons” but this is spoken with reference to His righteousness. It doesn’t mean what He’s done for one He’ll do for another. God’s plan for your life is as real and true as it is for anyone else, but not identical.
Israel were God’s chosen people. Through miraculous intervention they were freed from slavery, patiently provided for and protected through 40 long years in the wilderness, brought gloriously into their promised land, and shaped by covenant for centuries to be the perfect people to birth Messiah.
No other nation was shaped to carry such responsibility.
They were shaped by suffering just as much as by covenant and care.
The same I believe is true for you and me.
God shapes the person we are through the things that we suffer. Passion molds our character and moves us to act despite the challenges we face along the way.
So let me warn you, entrepreneurial endeavors are not all glitter and glory. There’s many a night of tears before joy breaks out in the morning.
Why do I say all of this? Because I don’t want you stepping into the arena with rose-tinted spectacles expecting your journey to one without pain, and questions, and self-doubt, and fear, and fumbling, and failure. They come as a guaranteed part of the package.
Yes, the rewards are worth the risk, but you really do need to know who you are and be ready for God to build resilience into your spirit if you mean to step into building a business around your personality and passions. It will take more than just a fancy website and a little charisma.
Business is life. It takes heart, and not just an ‘inch-deep desire’ kind of passion to build successfully.
Be prepared to suffer for the things you want to make. To go through some gruelling examinations of your own limitations and mindsets. To stare failure in the face as well as embrace success.
At core just because someone else has done something successfully does not mean you can too. Because the person who has done that something has a history. They have been formed by their experiences, their mindsets have been shaped, their beliefs have been forged in many a fire.
Don’t take this as a discouragement. I’m not saying you cannot accomplish your dreams. I’m merely pointing out that character undergirds all our endeavors.
The building work often takes place inwardly as we step into our destiny. It’s a journey. We discover in the doing, and some of those discoveries will not be comfortable.
Be prepared to suffer along the way, knowing that God rewards the diligent.
Understand that faith has to be coupled with patience in order to possess the promise.
“That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.” (Hebrews 6:12 KJV)
There root of the word patience? You guessed it, that Latin word for suffering, “pati”.
The King James is not joking when it describes the fruit of patience as longsuffering.
The decision to be an entrepreneur may usher you quickly and seamlessly into a life of untold riches. Sheesh, if the sales pages delivered on just 5% of their promises we’d all be rolling in the island sands sipping Pina-Coladas. Nothing is impossible.
But please don’t be disappointed if your dream of financial freedom and far-reaching fruit doesn’t happen overnight.
The making of a man or woman by the hand of God is not a quick turn of the wheel.
Allow patience to have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.
“Be assured and understand that the trial and proving of your faith bring out endurance and steadfastness and patience. But let endurance and steadfastness and patience have full play and do a thorough work, so that you may be [people] perfectly and fully developed [with no defects], lacking in nothing.” (James 1:3–4 AMP)
If these words are not what you want to hear, or you choke on the idea that suffering is part of the parcel, leave now. It will save you a great deal of pain and disillusionment down the line.
Millions of people hop from one shiny object to the next, spend decades of their life shoveling money on course after course, product after product, promise after promise, and round the same wilderness mountain again and again, in the vain hope that’s there’s an easy painless pathway to prosperity.
There may well be, but rarely have I seen it, especially when someone is genuinely wanting to build a business around their own particular area of passionate expertise or personality.
It is possible, and I’m walking this out myself alongside many others, but not without pain. Not without some sleepless nights. Not without the hard yards figuring out what works and what doesn’t.
The rewards are worth fighting for, but those rewards are not just monetary. The real reward is becoming the person God needs you to be in order to fulfil the great purpose that He has placed you on the planet for.
You are in the business of becoming. God is making the man or woman you are called to be. From that foundation, your business will be built.