It's not about the money


Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed
Vaclav Havel, President of the Czech Republic

What is it that motivates people?
What is it that makes us want to get out of bed in the morning and want to invest our energy in doing something?

Other than the fact that for most of us we have to, in order to put food on the table and a roof over our heads, invariably winners do it for reasons other than money. For some it is the challenge of being first, or best, or making their dream a reality, or perhaps even about building an empire. For many it is about proving their capabilities to themselves – proving they have what it takes.

Whatever we do in business, we do it for a long time. If you have a job, you can flick the switch to off at 5 pm, and walk away.If it all gets too tough you can even walk away permanently and find another job. But if it is your business, you can’t do that. You can’t flick the switch to off. And you can’t walk away – well not easily anyway. Wherever you are, the brain will be switched to on, and business will be on our minds.

Why do we do something?

For each of us the motivational factors are different, but inevitably the things we do best, with most commitment and most passion, are the things we love.

If it is simply about making money, then it won’t work. Those who are in it solely for the money are destined to ultimate failure.

The notion that we do it solely for the money (or at least what money can buy) fades rapidly at the first sign of obstacles. Whatever business we are in, there will always be problems. To get past the difficulties that inevitably arise in any business there needs to be some reason for being there that goes beyond money.

The best reason of all is passion. A passion for what we are doing that ensures sticking to the task through the inevitable obstacles.

It is about much more than survival. It is about the difference between excellence and mediocrity. It’s easy to pick out those businesses where it’s about the money – everything about them is mediocre. Simply because they don’t care enough about what they are doing – they simply care about the end result, the money. Usually the evidence also points to it being about “what’s in it for me?” or “what can I get out of it?”, rather than “what can I contribute ?”.

In contrast, are those obvious enterprises where the passion shines through in excellence. People care enough to do the simple things that show – clean the floor, replace blown light bulbs, wash vehicles and dress smartly. More than that, if you love what you do and are interested in it, and fascinated by it, the passion shows through in the quality of the work you produce, and the relationships you build with people around you. Where there is passion, where people care, are the places where people are prepared to go the extra mile.

Life is too short to want to spend all our waking hours doing something we don’t love.

So don’t.

Inevitably, when we do something we are passionate about, then our energy is greater and our enthusiasm is infectious – it transmits to customers, staff and even suppliers.

So if we start by having a dream, and being passionate about it, then as long as we retain a degree of realism, the passion will attract others.

Passion can’t be faked. You can’t pretend enthusiasm and expect it not to be transparent.

A lack of passion or commitment is as obvious as an abundance of enthusiasm. It shows through in any business as a commitment to mediocrity. If people don’t care enough (and remember – it all starts with the boss) then that “don’t care” attitude will shine through to the customer.

The SIMPLE reminder for success: Ensure that you have a passion for what you are doing. If you don’t – give it away and find something you do care about.