The ROI Of Passion

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follow your passionEarlier this week, Whitney Johnson wrote a blog for Harvard Business Review titled “Always, Always, Always Show Up.” Whitney is co-founder of Rose Park Advisers and Author of the book Dare-Dream-Do: Remarkable Things Happen When You Dare to Dream. In her blog, she talks about the importance of having dreams and pursuing them, and makes the point that while the outcomes might not always match your expectations, it’s important to continue pursuing the things that matter to you.


At the heart of what Whitney is talking about is passion.

There’s a difference between wanting something and being really passionate about it. Many times, people who want something are willing to go for it, but get disillusioned and give up when they don’t at first succeed. It is the people who are truly passionate that are willing to continue pursuing their dreams in the face of adversity, disappointment and even failure. The concept of pursuing your passion and persevering in the face of adversity is something that most parents try to teach their children. The kids who get it tend to be the star athletes, the gifted musicians, and the National Merit Scholars. They learn early that if you want something badly enough, you’ve got to work hard at it even when it doesn’t feel like you are succeeding, and they know they are in it for the long haul.


It is this same passion that drives some of the most successful entrepreneurs. After all, entrepreneurship is a notoriously risky business. According to the U.S.  Small Business Administration, approximately 1/3 of all new businesses fail within the first two years and more than half fail in the first five years. Those are 50/50 odds! Not great when you’re talking about investing a lot of money, hard work, and two or more years of your life. Given the data, it’s a wonder anyone goes into business for themselves. Incredibly, more than 12% of the US population will start a new business each year, leading to more than 300,000 new companies annually. Some will succeed and some, as we’ve just seen, will fail. It is my belief that those who succeed will do so in part because of the degree of passion they bring to their dream of owning a business.


Here at Tolman & Wiker, we are in the business of helping our clients to manage risk. Every year, we talk with hundreds of business owners and review their business models and strategic plans. One of the things I’ve come to appreciate is that risk is more than just a numbers game. It’s easy to calculate the value of a business’s assets and insure against things like fire or property damage. Anyone can do that. Analyzing and quantifying  the risks a business faces – including strategic risks – is a real art form. Crafting and implementing customized risk management solutions hinges in part on the degree of passion and engagement that the owner brings to the business.


Put simply, there is great ROI in passion.

As Whitney Johnson states in her blog, “Dreaming is at the heart of disruption.  Whether we want to disrupt an industry or our personal status quo, in order to make that terrifying leap from one learning curve to the next, we must dream.  The good news is that the causal mechanism for achieving our dreams is always, always, always showing up:  and as we show up, our future will too.”


Image credit: rnl / 123RF Stock Photo


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