If you’re a creative entrepreneur it should be a given that you love what you are doing. In fact it’s a must and if you don’t love it, you should stop immediately.
But love and passion are not the same thing, and they should only be coupled together between consenting adults.
Passion is probably the most badly overused word in business, but that is because passion’s inexplicable burning urge is the one thing that links everything we humans love and respect. Passion is about emotion and all the things that make your heart soar and break.
Being passionate about anything work related has not just become a terrible cliche and a bland shorthand that signals a lack of imagination, but most importantly it now sounds like a whopping fib.
I should ruddy well hope so, but aren’t we all dear — so what? Be more specific.
You need to get out more sunshine.
Hmm. Sorry, but if you’re having to say it, you’re clearly not doing it right and I don’t believe you. Not one little bit.
I met a dull bloke a while ago who told me “I’m quite a fun guy actually.” If you have to tell me you’re fun, you almost definitely aint.
If you’re really Mr Funtastic it’s plain to see, so let your passion be self-evident too.
Actions speak louder than words.
Let the things you create show your fervour. Let your work show your relentlessness, your conviction, your overwhelming and all-consuming desire to revolutionise the gas flow-rate monitoring industry.
Grab a Thesaurus, and ignore the synonyms for passion and search out more realistic and more powerful alternatives. What people really buy are expertise, conviction, style, panache, enthusiasm, excellence and the good old fashioned quality. Can you talk about any of them? Can your pictures speak a thousand better words?
Better yet, don’t gild the lily, just tell it simply and tell it honestly.
Passionate about a sustainable alternative to epoxy and carbon fibre composites?
No. Simply, ‘A new way of working with wool’.
If you have a clear and distinctive mission or know exactly why you do what you do (‘Our town is making jeans again’), then explain that, but don’t worry if what you do is like a lot of other people, just keep it very simple.
“The Break Fluid™ mission is simple. To deliver to your doorstep, the best tasting, highest quality, easy to brew coffee.” Smashing. Send me a load of that.
The reason that the classic Ronseal ad worked so well was simply because “It does exactly what it says on the tin”. They were not passionate about quick drying wood floor varnish, because no one is, but the Ronseal people did care very much that you got exactly the right product for the job.
The team at BeerBods are definitely passionate about beer, but they never say it they just give it the Ronseal treatment; ‘One beer and the story behind it, delivered for £3 a week. Love Beer? Join the club.’
Their passion comes through, unspoken but clear, in everything they do.
Lovehoney (the UK’s biggest online retailer of sex toys and other sexy business paraphernalia), probably have more right than most to use ‘passionate’ in their marketing, but they don’t.
They’ve nailed their purpose — so to speak — and simply say, “We’re the sexual happiness people. Our ‘we-just-want-you-to-be-happy’ attitude means literally that: making customers happy is what makes us smile.”
They back that talk with a very strong walk — a 365-day no-quibbles returns policy, and discreet packaging and invoicing — but most importantly in every communication they clearly look like they are having a lot of fun. Making their customers smile is exceptionally good for business and so Lovehoney are thriving.
As a French thinker put it, “We must act out passion before we can feel it.”
If you want to change the world, or if you just want to love your job, act out your passion and let it drive you and lift you. Show it in everything you do, just please don’t say it. If you’ve got it, I’ll see it.