Entrepreneurs often come to me with a burning question: “In the early stages, with hardly any data, how can you tell if a company is a worthwhile investment?”
I always say, “Look for two things: a sizable market and an entrepreneur with unshakeable passion.”
They’ll ask, “The market, sure, but how do you gauge passion? Aren’t all founders passionate about their ventures?”
That’s when I realized, the passion I seek isn’t the kind you’d typically think of. We often picture passion as an unending enthusiasm for something, an activity you can talk about non-stop and never tire of. But this ‘focused passion’ can be drained by many unforeseeable factors. I’m looking for something deeper – a core desire tied to the very essence of personal fulfillment, which I like to call ‘fundamental passion.’
This understanding comes from my own journey. In the quest for my career, everyone advised me to pursue my passions. But at the time, I couldn’t pinpoint what that passion was. All I knew was my deep-seated desire: to take charge of my own time and to toil for my own goals, every minute of every day!
This profound yearning became my guiding ‘fundamental passion,’ propelling me to amass resources and energy, embarking on an entrepreneurial journey, and eventually founding a venture capital firm. Though my roles have shifted and the challenges were many, remembering that I’m striving for the liberty of my own time always rekindles my passion, pushing me to tackle any task with vigor.
Yet, I’ve observed some individuals lose their passion over the years, even in careers they once loved, leading to a troubling question: “Isn’t this what I used to enjoy?”
In my view, it’s not the job itself that dulls passion but the manner of work, the environment, the people, and the hurdles we face – often things out of our hands.
The same goes for entrepreneurial passion, which can diminish after endless challenges. Once an entrepreneur hits burnout, they may not have enough drive to push through to the pivotal moment, and that’s a common pitfall for many early-stage startups.
When you’re struggling to find the spark, obsessing over “what can reignite my passion?” might only heighten the anxiety. Instead, consider redirecting your attention to your ‘fundamental passion’ and discover a renewed source of steadfastness.
I’m sharing these thoughts with the hope that they might ignite a renewed passion in you and unleash your untapped potential!