(This is part 3 of a 3 part series.)
In Part 1 of this series, I outlined three different options available when you take the Entrepreneurial Leap. The first one I describe is to pursue your passion. This option works well if you have 18 to 24 months to make the transition from employee to Naptime CEO. This option also assumes that you’re making some type of transition from what you are currently doing to what you plan to do in your newly launched business.
Here are the major steps you need to take to Pursue Your Passion.
1. Discover What Your Passion Is. The biggest reason people get push back against this option is because they don’t really understand what their passion is and they end up pursuing a hobby they have. Often in these situations, turning a hobby into a business kills the person’s enjoyment of the activity and they may not have the necessary skills or stamina to overcome the hurdles that you inevitably encounter when building a business. (For a look at the difference between your passion and something you love to do, read this post.)
To discover your passion, you’re really going to need to put some time and thought into understanding yourself. To begin, I always have my clients list out 50 times or things that you’ve done well and enjoyed. This should be from both your childhood and adulthood. Once you’ve done this exercise, you should begin to see some themes emerge around WHAT you were doing in those instances. Also, start identifying what about each of those instances was satisfying to you. Then list out those instances when time simply flies for you. Here you should start seeing some parallels.
When I went through this process, here were some of my words and phrases: Speaking/Presenting, Challenging/Questioning/Playing Devil’s Advocate, Planning, Teaching/Training, Motivating/Encouraging, Problem Solving, Setting and Achieving Goals, Leading, Learning Quickly.
2. How Can You Help Others? In this step, you need to identify your skill set. Go back to your original list of 50 time and draw a box around the verbs and create a separate list. I also recommend clients take the DiSC personality profile (here’s a good illustration from my friend Deb Ingino’s site) and the Strengths Finder 2.0. This step helps you understand not only how you’re wired, but how you use your strengths.
For myself, in the DiSC, I’m a Developer profile and my Strengths Finder top 5 were Futuristic, Maximizer, Significance, Relator, and Focus. Now look at some of my verbs from my 50 times list: Learned, Helped, Discovered, Spoke, Talked, Planned, Arranged, Developed, Created, Decided, Selected, Earned, Solved, Performed, Accomplished.
3. Who Should Your Market Be? There are two parts to this question. First you need to identify who you enjoy working with most. However, the second part is you need to make sure that is a profitable market. Now, go back to your 50 times list and circle the nouns in your statements so we can identify who and what you enjoy working with most.
My nouns were: People, Friends, Plans, Audiences, Schedules, Goals, Visions, Puzzles, Problems, Stories, Books, Strategies, Possibilities, Opportunities, Projects, Leaders.
4. How Does This Align With Your Core Values? The last step in this process is to identify your core values and use them as a filter to screen everything else you’ve done to this point. Some refer to this as your Heart. In this step, you need to understand what is the compelling force that drives you to do all of the above.
When I went through this exercise, I discovered that it broke my heart to see mothers in jobs they didn’t like with children they didn’t get to spend as much time with as they wanted to, seeing people who were just existing. When I wrote my Heart statement for The Naptime CEO it read “Help restore the family unit through entrepreneurship. Enable mothers to raise and be present with their children while running a professional business. Targeting mid-level corporate professional.” This was back in 2011.
Once you go through this process, you will discover what your passion is and how to build a business around it. It’s not an easy or fast process, but it is incredibly worthwhile. If you need help going through this process, contact me, I would be glad to help.