By: Harrison Kratz, a Special to Overdrive
Drive and Passion, Passion and Drive. Either way you say it, these are two of the main qualities that every entrepreneur; regardless of age, or experience must have. That being said, I think we are looking at the correlation between the two incorrectly. Many have just gone along their journey towards entrepreneurial or even career success thinking drive and passion are the same thing. Heck, a month ago, I wouldn’t have been able to distinguish the two in terms of what makes an entrepreneur tick. That was until I read “The Monk and the Riddle” by Randy Komisar, a Silicon Valley Entrepreneur, Investor, and Virtual CEO. The book is a great read and I highly suggest reading it if you haven’t already.
As much as the book has stuck with me, it is the passage when Komisar talks about the difference between passion and drive that has specifically left a significant impact. He explains that drive is what motivates us to excel and strive while doing something we HAVE to do. There’s obviously nothing wrong with working hard because you feel you have to, but is that what should define an entrepreneur? He went on to say that passion is what pulls you towards a project or cause, regardless of your current situation or feeling. Passion is something you can’t fight and really can’t create. It’s what creates the drive that we have to have towards to succeed with our ventures.
I think we have to start looking at passion and drive not as interchangeable qualities, but more as a cause and effect when it comes to the entrepreneurial spirit. To truly succeed, its imperative that an entrepreneur follows a passion. It could be towards a cause or a new project, but passion is key. Passion is what keeps you pressing forward into the late hours of the morning or wills you to wake up at 4 a.m. to catch your flight or travel for a meeting. As an entrepreneur, there is no substitute for passion. Passion is what separates us from the non-entrepreneurs. They may have the drive to excel and be the best in their position, but they lack the passion for a project to see it through at all costs. Passion may lead to failure, don’t get me wrong. But what entrepreneur hasn’t failed at one point or another? If you fail following your passion, it will not because there was a lack of effort or dedication.
If you follow drive first, chances are your venture(s) are a means to an end. Drive could mean that you are hell bent on being successful now, so you can pursue your passions in life. I must say, I think that is misguided. Drive should be an effect of passion. Don’t follow a project because you have to, follow a project because you feel it. No matter what, you feel something that few others, if anyone, will ever understand.
While writing this post, I was asked on Twitter, how do you do it all? I’ve been asked that question dozens of times over the past couple weeks and frankly I don’t have a special answer or way of going about it… I guess my best answer is that I am simply following my passion. My passion has created a drive in me that just keeps me going no matter how low or high I get. I may be busy, but I really can’t say I’m consumed by work. I am simply wrapped in a passion that I have no intent on breaking away from. I’m better for it, and I know there are hundreds, if not thousands of entrepreneurs who feel the same way.
Passion and Drive, not Drive and Passion; It’s what every entrepreneur needs to succeed. Do not follow a project because your drive tells you that you have to do so to be successful. I don’t know many entrepreneurs who found true success by starting something knowing it was simply a means to an end. Follow a venture because you’re passionate about it. Success and failure is part of the game, but your passion won’t waver based on the highs and lows. Rather, your passion will keep you looking forward to not only succeed, but to embrace and love every second of it.