By Francisco J Colayco
You might recall my advice about choosing a business that is best suited for you. One main factor is the need for “passion” for the kind of business you choose. As time passes, I begin to see more and more how the word “passion” can be misinterpreted or misunderstood. Let’s look at this further by understanding some ways you can determine your passion. Remember that you are looking for a passion that can also be your business.
You can ask yourself the following questions. You will surely have a long list and you will not know everything in one sitting. It will take days, even weeks and months. Keep a diary. Take notes and review what you have written each time you add an entry. Maybe, you will cross out some items as you come to know yourself more each time.
What is it that you really love to do and are you any good at it?
Let’s take the example of cooking. Let’s say you love to cook and are happy doing it. People say the food you cook really looks and tastes good. Let’s assume that cooking is your passion.
If you succeed in doing it, will you be proud of yourself?
In the case of cooking, each time you are able to make a special dish you are particularly proud of yourself. You practice so often so as not to make any mistakes. Your self-pride increases as you continue your love for cooking. Here, we can assume that cooking is your passion.
How about if you do something which is the complete opposite? Will your chosen activity destroy your self-pride and cause you extreme embarrassment?
Still in the case of cooking, when you prepare a dish that is really bad, do you say it is because you are not practicing enough? Or does it really cause you extreme embarrassment because your level of expertise clearly is far too low from where it should be?
If your standard for excellence is low and you thus allow yourself to accept major lapses in your skill, then perhaps, cooking is not your passion.
What is it that motivates you to do something over and over again and not be tired of doing it?
In the case of cooking, will you be tired of doing the same dish over and over again? If you will become tired of repetitiously doing what you love, perhaps, it is not a passion but just a hobby. A hobby is an activity you like doing in leisure; only when it suits you.
Let us continue with the questions you can ask yourself to determine what your real passion is, as a basis for putting up a business. Now, time to think about the other things that relate to what you think your “passion” is –
- Look at the things that you actually hate to do – your “anti-passion”
For example, you don’t really like to go to the market because you don’t like the smell of raw meat and the chaos. Or you don’t have much patience to wait and you want results quickly. In such case, can you really make cooking your business? Surely, finding the best ingredients at the right price is crucial in any cooking business. Preparing these ingredients before actual cooking is even more important and more often, requires a lot of time. Patience is a must in becoming a culinary expert. You have to accept that some dishes are best cooked on a very low fire and very very slowly.
- Is what you call your passion actually just your hobby?
In the cooking example, to make it a business, you need to continuously do the same things over and over again. Passion is an intense desire and enthusiasm for something. It is almost like you will “die” if you don’t do it.
On the other hand, a hobby is just something you love to do when you want to do it. I know of people who love to cook and who feel empty if they are not able to cook a dish, even for the day. They practically want to live in their kitchen. They have every right to label cooking as their passion.
- How much time and effort did you invest on your passion?
As an aspiring chef, do you analyze cook books and practice what you learned? Did you go out of your way to find a mentor to teach you? Are you constantly talking to people about it to learn more? You feel that as long as you are trying, even if you fail at times, you still feel a sense of pride because you did it and learned from it.
When you find the right niche in a business, you could establish a real name for yourself. Sometimes, finding the right business is a combination of several “passions.” You have to be more specific in defining exactly what you are good in.
A passion for excellence and creativity may seem to be mutually exclusive. Excellence demands precision and discipline while creativity thrives on throwing out rules and thinking out of the box. And yet the most successful chefs are the best examples of precise cooking techniques applied in creating new recipes with previously unheard of combinations of meat, fruit, herbs and vegetables.
The challenge then is really for you to discover your passions and find a way to combine them in developing a product or service.