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General Articles

Growing out of Passion

Growing out of Passion: Thrive, not survive.

JuliaMaryIf you were the sole survivor of a lightening strike which killed your friends - including the person holding you - you'd already have the edge on surviving in business. Mary Anning (d.1847) to whom this happened, became the family breadwinner as a child due to family circumstances - not the lightening, it must be said.

If this were not itself extraordinary, how she created an income, was. Learning from her father, she unearthed fossils to sell on to day trippers in her home town of Lyme Regis, Southern UK, providing the family with essential income. Was this passion, luck, desperation or strategic thinking? Which of these and in what combination, leads to successful business?

Are there identifiable gender variations which make the how and why of business different for males and females? Or is the 'right place/right time' theory of success the most rational explanation as to why some enterprises sustain or thrive, where others fail?

The culprit is language - linguistics, to be precise. When is 'passion' better than 'drive' and who judges which one is more powerful in business? Thankfully, we live in enlightened times. e-motional intelligence, now a recognised force in business education, is an 'X'-factor ingredient in product or service development. Marketing and advertising specialists have known for a long time that Say's Law- supply creating its own demand - hinges on the ability to sell us images of an aspirational lifestyle. Whether we need it or cannot afford it, we want that new gadget, be it a stud in our bellies or false eyelashes for hamsters (don't laugh - it will happen).

The historic, almost universally forbidding cultural, legal and social framework for females cannot be denied, but an alternative glance at the 'different' agenda of gender is intriguing. Opportunism, luck, family background, expectations and a bit of supporting cash emerge as common themes in many success stories. If you are fortunate to have time and money and no immediate concerns about feeding yourself or your children, you can literally afford to take a lateral view of your passions, interests and ponderings and, maybe, from them navigate towards a business opportunity.

Developments and creations need time to take off, gain momentum; in other words, create their own market. Cash-flow and paying the bills are death warrants to any time-consuming innovation; the 'sudden' invention which makes its owner an over-night success is rare.

That having been said, look what Mary Anning achieved from circumstances of dire necessity. Never credited within her field, others profited from her toils. Even though she was courted by the fledgling science of palaeontology, she lived on subsistence until she died. Whether your business is an extension of your own passion or a calculated response to a market niche, perhaps the pivotal elements are the skill of engagement, credibility within your sector and not a little measure of luck. And if all else fails, don't become an old fossil - create the demand.

Thursday, 26 August 2010    Section: General Articles    Author: Julia Moore
Article tags: passion career
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