Show me your passion!

If you are starting a new business, I think the key ingredient to success, more than funding, more than ideas, more than planning and strategy, is passion.

If you don’t have that you’ll never get past the grind. And, even more importantly in the early days, your passion is pretty much what you have to rely on to engage and inspire the people around you.

So what is passion? It’s like the old saying goes – I have no idea but I’ll know when I see it. That’s the key. You can’t just tell me about your passion, you’ve got to show me.

There is plenty of hype out there. People can talk up a storm and it all seems quite passionate, but then you scratch the surface and underneath it just doesn’t hold up.

  • “We are passionate about service.” But systematically put up barriers to having to speak to them.
  • “We are passionate about quality.” But there isn’t a quality system in place and the defect rates are through the roof.
  • “We are passionate about innovation.” But don’t invest in time for new ideas.
  • “We are passionate about [insert your favourite here].” But despite our words nothing we do supports it.

You have a better chance of people believing your passion if it is visible. Too many businesses start up and don’t embed whatever their passion is into the fabric of their operations. And then a few years down the track they wonder why people don’t “believe” them, why they can’t get “traction”.

It’s hard work to make your passion visible and weave it into your business. It takes time and effort and thought. But isn’t that how it should be, after all, the Latin origin of the word passion means to submit.

That’s the thing about passion, even though it’s a feeling, we willingly follow it when we see it.

There are many great “passionatas” throughout history, who led companies, countries, ideas, whole movements. They wore their passion on their sleeves and yes, they suffered for it and often died for it. We can learn much from them about the true meaning of passion.

Thankfully the stakes are not usually that high for the business down the block, but the truth remains no matter what your endeavour you’ve got to show your passion, not just talk about it.

See you next week.

Michel is an independent brand advocate dedicated to helping organisations make promises they can keep and keep the promises they make – with a strong, resilient organisation as the result. She also publishes a blog at You can follow Michel on Twitter @michelhogan.


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