February 6, 2008

Too much passion?

Today's Entrepreneurial Thought Leader speaker was Christine Benninger, the president of the Humane Society of Silicon Valley. She brought up an interesting point... When they hire people they need to make sure that they are not TOO passionate about animals. If they are too passionate, then they will do anything to promote their own agenda and are not good team players. This got me thinking, can one be too passionate in other areas? I think so.

Sometimes you can be so passionate about a cause, a business, or a person that you become irrational. It is important to balance your passions with meaningful data. For example, when picking a career, it is just as important to tap into your passions as it is to understand your skills, and the market for those skills. For example, if you are passionate about something, such as music, but you are not a great musician, then it doesn't make sense to try to support yourself as a rock star. Alternatively, you can be a great fan of music and enjoy it on the side; or you can tap into our business skills and become a music promoter, getting the thrill of being around musicians and contributing in the ways that play to your strengths.

On the other extreme, if you do something that plays to your strengths, but does not resonate with your passions, then you have an equally negative outcome. People in jobs like these feel drained by the day-to-day grind. The key is to find the overlap of your passions, your skills, and the market. That is the sweet spot! So, passion is a great motivator... but it needs to be mixed with an equal measure of reality.

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