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Your Dream Business

Jun 21, 2008
In a recent study, five thousand successful businesspeople were interviewed to see what traits, characteristics or attributes they shared. Not surprisingly, they varied enormously. Successful people come in all imaginable shapes, sizes, backgrounds, histories, skills sets, and personalities. There is no single "entrepreneurial type." This was as varied and colorful a group of humanity as one could imagine. But the researchers did find one trait in common: all the subjects had an intense passion for what they were doing.

There is a difference between being committed to your success and being interested in your success. If you are interested, you will do what's convenient. If you are committed, you will do whatever it takes -- and doing whatever it takes is what you need to succeed in business, no matter who or where you are. It's no longer possible (if it ever was) to get by with a half-hearted approach.

"Yes," you might say, "but let's keep this in perspective. I mean, it's not like we're trying to change the world here, right?"

Actually, it's exactly like that. The truth is, successful businesspeople are driven by the idea of changing the world around them. They want to leave their imprint.

Of course, part of that passion is financial. When you're in business, it's natural to focus on money. Money, after all, is the medium of business; it's how you measure the relative success of what you're doing. But here is something that too many businesspeople never realize and are never taught: it's difficult to be genuinely passionate about money, because money has no intrinsic character.

There are two types of income. One is monetary income, and it's great to have the comfortable or even luxurious lifestyle it can provide. But in order to be genuinely happy and fulfilled, to be truly successful, you also need a healthy flow of psychic incomee. Psychic income is the feeling that comes from the sense that your contribution matters, that you are making a positive difference in the world. There is no better feeling than knowing your life and your business have purpose and meaning. This is the ultimate goal of a successful business.

Scale and size are not the issue here; impact is. It doesn't matter whether your business is a multinational nonprofit that feeds, clothes and shelters hundreds of thousands of disadvantaged people, a printing company that makes brochures and signs, or an auto body shop that serves your neighborhood. We've seen people who are responsible for putting a little plastic piece on the end of a shoelace be passionate about what they do -- because they can visualize the safely tied shoes of children, athletes, students, fire fighters, hospital workers, the elderly . . . they can see their shoelaces having an impact on the world. From coffee shops to software giants, any business can make a contribution to other people's lives. Every time either of us has been a part of creating or building any business, for us that business has been like working on a cure for cancer. Successful businesspeople truly do want to change the world.

The United States today is buried under a staggering mountain of debt -- trillions of dollars worth. How will this country ever be able to get out from under? There is one and only one way that will ever happen: through the efforts of creative and passionate people building the businesses of their dreams.

The planet's ecology is also facing some serious threats right now. How will we ever be able to solve our worldwide energy needs without ruining the planet in the process? There is one and only one way: through the ingenuity and passion of entrepreneurs.

People like you don't just want to change the world: you are changing the world. This group of people is going to rewrite the future. It's not about governments, corporations and organizations anymore. In the twenty-first century, it's the individual man and woman passionately in pursuit of their business dreams who will have a positive, transformative impact on everyone's lives.

This article is adapted from The Answer, by John Assaraf and Murray Smith (Atria Books), and reprinted with the permission of the authors.
About the Author
John Assaraf and Murray Smith co-wrote The Answer: Grow Any Business, Achieve Financial Freedom, and Live an Extraordinary Life. Assaraf is a New York Times best selling author, and featured in The Secret. Murray is known for corporate turn around work, most notably for taking the Indian Motorcycle trademark from bankruptcy into a $300 million company. For more on The Answer and the authors, visit: Read The Answer.
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