How passionate are you about your idea, and can you make it contagious without going over the top?
Floating about in the vacuum of space, Tim Peake is probably very aware of the importance of oxygen. We need oxygen to live. It also improves life – extra oxygen is administered to treat chronic conditions, as emergency first aid and as a health therapy. However, pure oxygen can be just as lethal as none.
Anything positive can become negative in excess. Passion is no exception. Not being at all passionate about your idea is an unusual situation. I suppose you could be completely dispassionate about a statistically overwhelming money making venture, but when you’re setting up your own business it’s often tied to your emotions.
Most people have a degree of passion about their idea. Which is good – you need passion. Passion for an idea can lift it from being mediocre to viable. Passion can raise a good entrepreneur to levels of greatness. If your idea doesn’t excite you at all, you might want to rethink your idea because it really should.
Feeling passionate about your idea motivates you to take risks, to burn the midnight oil and go the extra mile. Real passion is contagious too. Put yourself in the shoes of a potential client or investor. If you’re faced with two companies offering a similar service for similar cost but one of them is genuinely excited about the project, they stand out.
As with oxygen, you need passion to survive, it can improve your life but a pure dosage can be deadly. Emotional investment can slip over into emotional over-investment, delusion, and egotism. Nor is passion a substitute for aptitude, competence or a good idea. To ensure that an overabundance of passion isn’t blinding you to reality – make sure you keep in constant touch with reality!
Don’t operate in a vacuum. Seek counsel often. Speak to trusted advisors, friends, a mentor, or all of the above. Encourage people to challenge your thinking. Constant reality checks ensure that your passion remains healthy – lighting the path forward, not clouding out inconvenient truths.
Passion is not a decoration, a luxury, or an optional extra. It’s a key element. You need to be passionate about what you do, to motivate yourself and to inspire others. It’s also just one element. Whether you’re baking a cake or building a space station, you won’t get far with just one ingredient or component. Be passionate; but make sure you’re more than just passionate.