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Do You Have A Grand Passion?

Passion comes from desire, a longing to work at something you are excited about, something you are good at and something you ache to always get back to.

No-one else might consider it a big thing and it doesn’t matter because it’s a big thing for you.

Passion is about emotion, feeling something within you ignited and set ablaze. Passion gives you a thirst or a hunger to act, to do and keep doing that thing you enjoy. By doing it more, learning the intricacies and peculiarities of your passion, enhancing your knowledge and going deeper into the subject, you find you want to do it even more. There’s such a fire in your belly when you do it and simply thinking about it gives you a great amount of satisfaction.

But what happens when the joys of your passion become the pains in your life? If you consider the people in your life who like golf, they maybe play once or twice a week, once a month or even just a couple of times a year, maybe just when the sun shines or they have a Friday afternoon off. They may watch it on the television when it’s on. But liking is not passion!

However they choose to engage with the sport, they enjoy it but they are not passionate about it in the way those who play every day, for hours every day, no matter what are. And that’s what makes expertise, skill and reward.

In business, most of us start out because we have a passion for what we do, and we want to share it with others. Sadly sometimes the pressures of business make us lose sight of why we started in the first place and that is what I want to share with you today.

This is a story about a man called Alastair who started out in business as a plumber. He was a likeable chap and well known in his neighbourhood. It helped that he was a very good plumber too and got a lot of work from recommendations and word of mouth.

He watched his boss and often thought ‘I can do that myself’. Alastair thought all he would need was his own van and a phone – there didn’t seem to be much more to it.

Now we all know good plumbers are hard to find and there is a real shortage in the market, and Alastair had a fair commute to his work and decided that if he could find clients closer to home, that would be an added bonus for him, especially as he

was an honest man with no intention of going onto direct competition with his boss.

He decided to go for it, and here’s where Alastair was smart. He didn’t go for it alone. He asked for my help. We did some work together to help with his client pipeline management, we defined his business model and equipped with his new work phone and his new branded van, Alastair was ready to get stuck in.

Checking in with Alastair, he told me he was what many business owners would call lucky. The jobs came in and his working day got longer and longer as his reputation for good work and reliability grew quickly.

Alastair found his time off was getting shorter and shorter and his excitement for his plumbing work started to wane. He would come home at night, eat, sleep and get back out to work first thing the next day, every day.

And we know many people out working all day every day just like Alastair. When the going gets tough, the tough keep going. But it’s not always the best answer.

It was time to take a step back and look at what options were available.

There are a number of choices for a business at this stage. For some, it would be to take on extra help, employ someone to deal with the administration end of things, maybe get an apprentice or look for other good plumbers and expand the business to meet the growing demands of customers.

I asked Alastair to remind both himself and me why he started up in business in the first place. He said:

‘I trained as a plumber, when I fix a broken toilet for someone, they love that, a broken toilet needs fixing. When I put in a central heating system in I’m giving people comfort in their homes, homes are better with heat. I keep things flowing, like gas and water but really I put a smile on people’s faces and some money in my pocket too. One of my regular clients calls me the local hero! She tells everyone about me, that’s nice. I like making things better for people, but I also want to make things better for my family, one of the things I was looking forward to was spending more time with them, the reality is that they hardly see me.’

By reconnecting with that initial passion for plumbing as well as his personal reasons for starting to work on his own, Alastair was able to take his business forward in a way that would serve him and his clients best.

Alastair didn’t want to grow any bigger as a business because he’d lose his relationship with his customers, he loved working face to face with them. He felt that neither he nor his clients wanted to lose that. Once we knew exactly what Alastair wanted from his business it was simple to redefine his business systems. We put some admin help in place so he could focus on plumbing and he was able to reconnect with what he loved doing.

There are lots of different options in business, it’s a very personal thing for many of us. It’s easy for us to get drawn in to other people’s ideas of what we should do, to get swamped by the business demands and be ruled by all that. Yet when we take a step back we see the whole picture much more clearly, and can then make decisions and implement changes that suits us.

I always say that our businesses are a way to get what we want in life; remembering to stay connected to your passion, your purpose, and the real reason why you started will make sure you keep loving what you do and why you do it.

When things need to change, take as much time as you need to think it through and remember when things need to change, often you need to change too.

And always stay with your passion, it’s what made you start and it’s what will keep you going when it gets tough.

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