This may seem like a simple question, and most people can tell you what they love doing. However, at Business Startup. everyone seems to look for their “why”, and an increasing number of people are discovering that, in reality, people are no longer doing what they love.
The reason for this varies with each individual, and people may not even realise this is happening to them. It’s often not through lack of feedback, and embarrassingly it may be easier for others to see potential issues, but you may dismiss feedback as not relevant to you. Until the issue becomes a problem, then what will you do?
Whatever you are doing now, it is good enough for you. Everyone is a good leader, until there is a problem, just like everyone is a good parent, until there is a problem. In both cases, there is no shortage of advice, so why wait until there is an emergency to look at options. If there’s a fire, you just look for your nearest exit. However, what you choose to do next could still be a life of death decision.
In business, this is where people become vulnerable to abuse. Even from people that have the best intentions. If you hear the words “here’s what you need to do…”, and a cue that there are problems that you may not be aware of, this is where you have to decide if it really is the problem you need to solve, right now.
Your first thought may be “DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO”, and their response may be “BUT I’M JUST TRYING TO HELP”. We will attempt to explain throughout this book the causes and ways to overcome falling out of love with what you do.
For every 5 people that make it to the summit of Mt Everest, 1 person dies trying. People don’t die on Everest from trying to get to the top, they die because they can’t get back down.
With these odds, you would think it would be enough to stop people from trying. However, people have a positivity bias. They know they could die, and that’s the risk you take, but this feedback is not relevant to them as “they” are convinced they will be one of the 5 who will make it to the top… but what comes next?
In Business, less than 5% are successful, so for every 1 that makes it to the summit, 24 die trying. It is not a relatively quick death like on Everest, so what is so attractive about Business Startup?
The first response you normally get to this question is people want to do what they love. If this was true, why would people give up on what they love? Wouldn’t people do it for no money? Some people do and remain in the 24 out 25 businesses that are not considered successful.
It may be the case that people know when to quit, they just don’t know how, and feel like they are giving up on their dream. But a dream is just plan, without a timeframe, so you are not quitting on your dream, just your plan. If you keep your dream alive, you can always make another plan. People seem to forget this at Business Startup
The answer may be as simple as asking the question “what do you love?”.
If you love what you do, then you are in love with your plan. Even the best-laid plans can come undone, and in 24 out of 25 businesses it seems this is what happens.
What do the other 1 out of 25 business owners love? They are in love with their dream, which has no timeframe, so plans can change. They do what they love, not love what they do. There is a big difference in this at Business Startup.
Still don’t see a difference? Let’s look at the arrangement of the words and ask, “how do you know what you don’t know?”.
Doing what you love means love is the outcome of what you do, so requires action and reflection. With repeated action, you know the feeling, and your actions become more automatic. However, this requires extra effort to start and a lot of trial and error, and may take you off in another direction from your plans, so may not seem logical or rational to some people
Love what you do starts with love, but can often end in tears as people fall out of love. It is based on plans, so time is limited for a start, but to be sustainable it requires a lot of patience with others. Wrath is a deadly sin and usually ends in collaboration. The result is often that you then still do what you love, just you end up trying to do it all on your own.
This may be your first lightbulb moment in this book, so let’s take a moment to reflect on how they first made a lightbulb. You can’t prove something that doesn’t exist, so the focus was just to produce a lightbulb that worked. Not one that worked well.
Edison’s most famous quote may be:
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
This may also be the reason 24 out of the 25 businesses keep trying. Why don’t people just focus on what 1 out of 25 businesses do that works? Ego mostly. It’s been done, but I think I can do better than that. So, people start looking at the 10,000 ways that didn’t work and look at reinventing it.
You may say that the lightbulb has been reinvented, and that is correct, but inventors under the diffusion of innovation only make up 2.5% of the population, so the odds of you doing that are even less than having a successful business.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying at Business Startup don’t focus on you and what you do, but many want-to-be inventors want to be seen as unique and may say “no one else can do what I do!”. OK, so my next question is “do you truly believe the Earth has the only life in the universe?”, and in reality, how would you know this to be true if you were not looking for life elsewhere?
So what was the 1 way they got the lightbulb to work? They put it in a bubble cut off from the outside world, focused the energy on the wire inside, and with a different atmosphere the wire didn’t burn out and kept on shining. Not bright, but at least there was light.
Edison still had to go out and find people that wanted to use his invention, in a way that suited the customer’s needs, and the rest is, as they say, history.
Fast forward a couple of hundred years and with the advances in technology in the last 20 years, it is now easier than ever to find others that love what you love. With all the information out there, and people’s opinions, the hardest part for many may be knowing what is going on inside.
Do you really know what you love, anymore?
(extract from “Sleeping your way to the top: using the empathetic leadership style”)