The One Thing You Need To Succeed In Business

Passion may be the only thing separating you from your competition. Do you truly have what it takes, or are you just going through the motions?
December 03, 2013

It doesn't matter what service or product you're selling. What matters is how passionate you are about that product or service.

Without that passion, you'll never approach your business with the energy it needs to thrive. You won't be able to infect your team with that spirit of dedication, or share it with potential clients. You will always lose to a competitor who does have it.

Here are four stories that illustrate the value of passion in building your business:

The Millionaire Stockbroker

Chris Gardner, The Millionaire Stockbroker

Chris Gardner, millionaire stockbroker and the inspiration for the Will Smith movie The Pursuit of Happyness, offered this business advice in a Forbes interview with columnist Carmine Gallo: "Find something you love to do so much you can't wait for the sun to rise to do it all over again." Gardner learned this lesson when he was studying to become a stockbroker while he was homeless.

The takeaway from both his story and his advice is the same: If you're doing something you absolutely love, you can handle the hardships better than you could in a less-passionate environment.

Oregon Wine Entrepreneur

Corey T. Nyman, founder of Labor Wines

Corey T. Nyman, founder of Labor Wines, grew a small wine-making hobby into a distribution network that reaches restaurants and stores in 35 states. Nyman's passion for wine is unique: Instead of the standard industry practice of buying land to grow different types of grapes in different fields, Nyman likes to discover the differences in grapes grown in a single field and use those distinctions to craft different wines.

Nyman's experience illustrates why you shouldn't worry if your passion doesn't match what everybody else is doing. Not only are there plenty of opportunities to carve out your own niche, but that niche will often have the greatest room for growth.

Nike And The Olympic Hurdler 

Liu Xiang, Chinese Olympic Hurdler

When Liu Xiang, an Olympic hurdler and one of the most beloved athletes in China, withdrew from the Beijing Olympics in 2008 due to an injury, there was a question as to whether sponsors would pull their ads featuring the popular athlete. But Nike believed in Xiang and was one of the first to step up with continued support for the athlete. Nike's passion for Liu Xiang ultimately created one of the most successful single ad campaigns in sports marketing history.

It pays to remember that passion doesn't only make you better at what you do, it gives you the courage and imagination to go against conventional wisdom to create your own success.

Legendary Motivational Speaker And Business Coach

Brian Tracy, a popular and well-known motivational speaker and business coach, often tells a story about receiving exceptionally bad service at a restaurant he once ate at. He asked the waiter if he liked his job. When the young man said no, Tracy replied, "Don't worry. You won't have it for long."

This is a cautionary example of what happens when a team member isn't passionate about his or her work. Most people are inclined to get emotionally—even passionately—involved with whatever they're doing. If your team isn't positively passionate about the work they do for you, they'll quickly become passionate about the things they dislike about their jobs. That's bad for them, bad for your customers and even worse for you.

What are some examples of how you apply the power of passion to your business? Join the conversation by sharing with us in the comments below.

Jason Brick has contributed more than 2,000 blog and magazine articles to local, regional and national publications and speaks regularly at writing and business conferences. You can find out more about Jason at

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Photos: Courtesy Chris Gardner Media, Corey T. Nyman, Getty Images