Nov 17, 2010

Best advice for success, part 2 – Follow your passion

These days wherever I turn for inspiration, business advice or book I find word ''passion''.

Today I am featuring famous business leaders who advise us to look for passion and base our entire career and business success on it.

''I pursue what I am passionate about, whether that will make money or not.'' said Richard Branson in Entrepreneur interview.

You might say he can afford to pursue whatever he likes now, but his explanation seems to make more sense, ''Often I find that if you are really passionate and committed, you do better – and have a better chance of making the venture pay the bills.''

Do you agree now?

Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks ''listens for passion'' when interviewing people:

''If you don’t love what you’re doing with unbridled passion and enthusiasm, you’re not going to succeed when you hit obstacles. I want to see emotion.'' Schultz says and explains. ''We are in an emotional business, and I need people around me who understand that we are an emotional business and have a visceral affection for it.''

Where was this appreciation for passion and emotions when I was a student, or young engineering graduate? Everyone was talking good grades, stable jobs, (never mind those jobs mostly disappeared or moved to some other countries by the time we graduated), being rational and believed ‘’if you don’t see it or touch it – it doesn’t exist.’’

Most of my family and various experts believed ''you could always do what you love as a hobby.'' A job was a job.


Bill Ford, Executive Chairman for Ford Motors Company says that this is the best advice he ever got and concludes ''It’s hard to go wrong if that’s the advice that you follow.''

(Ford motors is ranked no. 8 in Fortune’s 500 list with a revenue of $118 billion.)

Ford says his father's advice ''to do what you're passionate about is a key to success.''

This was advice he got from his father, and this is the one he passes on to his children. He described the time he got this advice in the video. (

It might seem like obvious choice for Bill Ford (the great-grandson of both Henry Ford and Harvey Firestone) to be working for Ford, but his father challenged his choice when he said he would like to work for Ford after graduating from college.

''Why?'' was the question his father asked back then.

''What do you mean?'' asked young Ford his father over the pool table at his parents' house.

Here is the reply he got and shared with the whole world, including us.

''Don’t do it on my account or anybody else’s account. If your heart is not in it, if this isn’t what you really want do, than you are not going to be doing yourself or a company any favors. If you want to do it it’s great, if you want to do something completely different it’s fine too, but whatever you do - make sure it’s your passion.''

How about you? Do you think passion is possible or necessary at work and have you ever come close to finding it? If you are like most of us, you probably at least had a very hard time defining it. That is why I am going to make sure more on this topic and ''how to'' is coming your way soon.


  1. Hi Liliana,

    I agree that passion is a very important and complex topic.

    Tony Schwartz has this cool tip to help discover one's passion:

    "Think for a moment about the two or three qualities that you most despise when you see them in others. Next, think of their opposites. For greed, the opposite is generosity. For arrogance, it's humility. For disingenuousness, it's authenticity.

    What you can't stand is an unexpectedly powerful window into what you stand for."

  2. Hi Anna,

    pleasure to have you join the conversation. I've never come across this cool tip from Tony, but I have been standing in that ''window'' more than once. It may be good starting point.
    I suspect many of us know what they can't stand (for) and yet not sure what the next step is, where that elusive passion lives or how to make a living out of it. Let's explore this topic more and provide cool tips what to try, where to look and how - to all who believe that passion is important for success. I do.

  3. Interesting post! isn’t it?

    Thanks for sharing this.

  4. Hi Single dad,

    You are welcome. Love sharing thoughts with all of you, and getting your feedback!

    Thanks for stopping by, reading and posting a comment.


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