Passion and Purpose

There’s a tremendous amount of pressure in Boulder to be an entrepreneur. It seems like every “what do you do” conversation I’ve heard involves a startup or wishes it did.

And there’s something magical in that, isn’t there? A culture where everyone wants to do something they’re passionate about and few if any want to work for “the man” and climb the corporate ladder?

During this last Ignite Boulder you could count on one hand the number of speeches that didn’t at least mention following your instinct, taking the path less traveled, or flat out quitting your job to follow your dreams.

Of course there’s nothing wrong with all this talk of passion and entrepreneurship, but one thing that worries me is the conversations I’ve had with people who seem to want to be an entrepreneur because that’s what they think they’re supposed to do.

And I believe that’s just as wrong as people going to school and climbing the corporate ladder because that’s what they think they’re supposed to do.

I had a great conversation with a young gentleman who started a business consulting firm. He pointed out something very important: passion alone can’t accomplish much – it requires the context of purpose to be of any real value. His argument was simple and revolved around a story.

Once there was a woman (let’s call her Jan) who worked as a mortgage broker. She was good at it and was paid well enough, but she had no desire to keep going. She thought she needed to leave her job, find her passion, and start a business.

She went to a seminar on finding your passion and by the end of the weekend was feeling flustered and irritated because she couldn’t figure out what to do, what kind of company to start. She spoke with the instructor and relayed her frustration, to which he replied: continue reading…

Fear

There’s a great quote out there that goes something like “remember that fear is just an emotion. Danger is real and fear can alert you to it, but after that fear just gets in the way.”

There’s absolutely nothing wrong with being afraid. It means your brain is working. The challenge is acknowledging fear, discovering its source and purpose, and letting it go.

One of the things that allows you to move past fear is faith, and this is where many religions do a lot of good – they give you something to put your faith into that you know will do the right thing.

With that said there is another kind of faith that isn’t mutually exclusive of the first and that I would argue is even more powerful: faith in yourself. The belief that you will do your best and things will turn out in the end.

The fear of following your intuition about living a different life can be a hidden fear that acts from the shadows – whispering to you in the dark from behind thick curtains.

It can manifest in a lot of fear loops that keep you stuck where you are. “I’m not ready yet” – the desire to make this perfect or to be fully prepared; “What if I wait it out” – the belief that things will get better if you just wait a little longer; “I’ll start slow and then do it” – the (usually faulty) desire to start living your ideal life while clinging to your old one.

There are many other ways that fear manifests itself but make no mistake that it is fear. continue reading…