This week’s newsletter answers the question, “Does following your passion equal success?” If you’re struggling for air, stuck in comparison, or lost in your head wondering if you should keep going, this newsletter is for you.
This month’s theme is all about the heart - “WOW, hearts for February….how original” - Modified quote from The Devil Wears Prada…
But seriously, being an entrepreneur takes something. You know that, and I know that. This week, I want to tackle the ever-persistent question: Does following your passion equal success? It's a topic filled with drama, advice to follow your heart, and the idea that doing what you love will automatically lead to success. But here's the catch—success isn't one-size-fits-all.
Success, for many, is often defined by external factors like money, income, and possessions. But success isn't solely financial. What if we looked at success in a different way? One without all the pressure…
Let's debunk the myth of overnight success. High-profile individuals like Bill Gates and Oprah achieved success through a combination of passion, hard work, and being in the right place at the right time. It's not just about luck—it's about luck AND seizing opportunities.
I highly recommend reading Malcolm Gladwell’s book “Outliers.” He talks about this concept specifically. They were not only at the right place at the right time, but he also talks about the “10,000-Hour Rule.” He suggests it takes about 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in the field you work in.
So, what’s the difference between you, me, Oprah, and Bill Gates? In Oprah’s words, “I believe luck is preparation meeting opportunity. If you hadn’t been prepared when the opportunity came along, you wouldn’t have been lucky.”
In Gladwell’s book, he reminds us that while you can get lucky, you must possess the skills and mindset to capitalize on the opportunities for success. Another book I love is Angela Duckworth's book, "Grit," which delves into the difference between natural talent and hard work.
Now, let's address something personal. February also carries emotional weight for me due to a traumatic event involving my father. Five years ago, he was in a horrific motorcycle accident - in which he made a full recovery. However, this led to my diagnosis of severe PTSD. Mental health is crucial, and if you ever find yourself struggling, don't hesitate to seek help. You're not alone, and deciding to reach out for help is the first step to success in recovery.
We aren’t just entrepreneurs, we are people, and sh*t happens in our lives. This is exactly why we need other factors and definitions of success besides just numbers.
"Passion for your work is a little bit of discovery, followed by a lot of development, and then a lifetime of deepening," a quote from Duckworkth’s book “Grit”.
The Passion Paradox
I’m sure you’ve heard the story or even watched the Netflix show about Adam Neumann and his company, WeWork. As an entrepreneur, you may even have worked at one of their offices for a day. WeWork rapidly expanded and gained a reputation as a flexible workspace innovator, that attracted entrepreneurs like us and freelancers. They served beer and wine at the office y’all. At one point they were valued at around $44 Billion as a company - think about it….an office space company that’s worth $44 B’s. Sorry, what?
This is where I’m talking luck meets opportunity and skill. Not passion equals success.
Between Neumann’s chaotic management style, insane spending habits on extravagance, and lack of adaptability the brand - WeWork took a huge hit, and as of October 2023, is filing bankruptcy.
A New Definition of Passion and Success
Then, there’s Sarah Blakely - I’m obsessed with her. She’s my “WWSBD” - I’ll leave that for another newsletter…
Sarah Blakely is the founder and creator of Spanx. Success in the fashion and undergarment industry is defined as brand visibility, revenue, and adherence to conventional beauty standards. Clears throat… Kim Kardashian couldn’t have built Skims without Spanx. She’s said numerous times that she would buy Spanx and cut them to fit the dress she was wearing and eventually, she created her brand.
Sarah Blakely started the conversation of challenging societal norms and prioritizing the impact of women’s confidence. And oh by the way, Sarah Blakely sold a majority stake of Spanx to the private equity firm Blackstone, which put her at billionaire status. She also advocated for an all-female team and board to continue to run the company. Though Skims is worth more, Spanx is an insanely successful company not just because of what she built and her current finances, but because of her continued efforts in raising the voices of other women.
Take a Reality Inventory
3 Actionable Ways to Re-define Success: Ask, Celebrate, & Reflect
- How do you currently define success, and is there someone you are trying to emulate “success-wise?” …and why?
- Create a new definition of success without financial or monetary terms.
- This week celebrate a minimum of 1 small win each day. Whether you made your bed, sent that email, not lost your sh*t on someone, or completed that big task from your to-do list.
Reflect on yourself:
- Give yourself time to reflect. Use the mantra: I am already successful. Or, reflect on the question, “What if I am already successful, right now?” …what comes up for you?
This whole concept, I won’t lie, is hard AF for me. It’s a daily struggle, a daily practice, a daily success, and a daily failure. The comparison feels like it’s ingrained in me, and I’ve done a lot of work to start to peel it back, but I continued to get slapped in the face with it. Each day I continue to move forward with a renewed perspective on success.
Take action on your mindset and redefine success on your terms, celebrate your victories, and stay focused on your path. Be ready to be courageous, because luck will land and you will be able to seize the opportunity waiting for you.