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But What If I Love Entrepreneurship?

Yesterday, I highlighted Penelope Trunk's recent condemnation of the career advice, "Do what you love." In its place she suggests that people "Do what they are." I agreed.

But I soon began to think about entrepreneurs. Many people embrace the notion of entrepreneurship in order to do what they love. They start jobs and companies in order to turn their passion into their profession.

So are they being misguided? Should they be steered away from trying to base a business on something they love?

Or should every entrepreneurship course be prefaced with Penelope’s advice, steering budding starters away from basing a concept on a love and instead basing it on who they are?

Or, by only changing one word in a tired maxim, is Penelope really just saying the same thing?

In terms of passion, we generally become passionate about things we are good at, things that stir certain emotions, and things that are worth doing, therefore making us spend a lot of time on them. I love writing, thus I spend a lot of time doing it, thus writing is a part of who I am.

I've only started one business, and it's too soon to tell if I'm really passionate about the actual starting of something. Maybe. Probably. We'll see how many more things I start. If I start a lot of things, then I'll do it because I love it. And the more I do it and spend time on it, the more a part of me it becomes. Starting things then becomes what I am.

Because passion is indispensable in starting something. You can follow Penelope's new career advice when job-hunting, but not when company-starting. You have to absolutely love and be passionate about what you're doing when starting out, or else, you may not finish.

Passion is never enough for the entrepreneur. Jeff Cornwall and I talked over coffee recently about the intersection of passion and entrepreneurship. Jeff definitely believes that passion is important, but it's equally important to make sure that there's a market for your new venture and a margin by which you can generate money. After all, you can be your own biggest fan, but if no one's buying what you're selling, you won't be able to do much of anything else.

Jeff also likens passion to Dorothy's red slippers. In the end, for Dorothy, the way to get home was there all along. And, often times, for entrepreneurs, the way to success has also been there all along – by doing what we love.

And, what both Penelope and Jeff remind us of is that ultimately, there's more to life than what we do. Life, after all, is ultimately comprised of who we are – the relationships we value, the things we care about, and the causes we believe in.

Do what you are, and if you're thinking of being an entrepreneur, make sure you love what you're about to do. The road is long and takes unexpected turns, stops and starts, so you need a passionate love of what it is you want to do to carry you all the way through.

But, by all means, don't limit what you love to only what you do. And don't limit who you are to only what you do. Life is never only about what we do, and it will always be about who we are.

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