The American Dream is built around exactly that: a dream.

Dreams do come true, and all success-stories begin with them. They begin with a guy or gal who has an idea—an idea that will change the world, leave an impact, and make them money. This is how businesses across the globe form, and they all ignite from a dream. 

As such, dreams are fantastic.

But dreams can also turn into a nightmare.

 

The Passion vs Purpose Paradox

The problem with a dream is, it’s often vague at best. When was the last time you woke up from a dream with a clear  and real understanding of what happened? The same applies with your daydreams. You fantasize about fame and fortune, and maybe you have an idea about how to achieve it. You have an idea for a business, a product or service or book that will change the world.

Fantastic. But how real is it? Or more specifically, how can you turn this dream into reality?

This is the problem.

Many dreams are borne out of a passion. You love to write, so you figure you will write books. Or maybe you love photography, so you will become a renowned photographer or videographer. Other dreams ignite from a purpose. You spot a hole in the market, and you’re the one who can fill it. You see someone else make a success in an industry, and you figure you can do the same. Opposite ends of the coin, but both offer danger. Because if you build a business on passion, it’s important you ensure it has purpose.  Do people  want the books you write? Do people need your photography? Whereas if you build a business on purpose, it’s vital you have at least some sort of passion for it. There may be a hole in the market, but are you the right person to fill it?

The truth is, a business needs a mixture of passion and purpose.

Or as my buddy Dave Conrey says, “Passion alone isn’t enough. You need to balance this with real purpose in order to find success.”

Passion Alone Isn’t Enough

As Dave says, passion alone isn’t enough.

A business without passion is a sad business indeed—and one set up to fail in the long term. Building a business is tough, and it provides a journey of ups and downs. As the founder, you need passion. Without it, you won’t have the motivation to push through adversity. You also won’t stand out simply creating a business that just does enough in the long term. These businesses never last. But building your business on passion is not enough either. It needs purpose. Without it, you don’t have a business, you have an expensive and time consuming hobby.

My friend Claud Williams found this out the hard way when he created his photography business at university. He loved life behind the camera, and he was good at it. His small one-man business grew. People hired him. He was busy and as the months ticked by, he got busier still. In fact, he got so busy he fell out of love with the camera. He dreaded stepping behind it.  You see, Claud wanted to start his own business, and because he had a passion for the camera, he figured becoming a photographer was a good idea. But there was no purpose, no long-term vision.

As such, Claud became disillusioned and stuck in a rut. He realised that although he had a passion for the camera, he had started a business with no purpose. It provided a service to his clients, sure, but there was no grander purpose. 

How to Balance Your Passion with Purpose

Claud no longer runs his photography business. Does his passion for the camera remain? Sure. But shooting photos or video isn’t his purpose. It is not his calling. Today, Claud runs Dream Nation: a company that empowers today’s young, hungry, and creative leaders through beautifully designed events and media. In Dream Nation, Claud has a business with purpose that drives both himself and those he serves. He has a business that he is passionate about. He gets to be creative. He gets to work with inspiring people. He gets to do a lot of the things that drove him behind the camera in the first place, only this time he balances it with a purpose.

No disillusionment. No lethargy. No going through the motions.

Passion + Purpose = Success! Click To Tweet

This makes sense to Claud. It may not make sense to you. But what’s important for you to take away from this article is that the balance between passion and purpose does exist. It may not be obvious. You may need to take a step back from what you’re doing.  But it does exist, and it is your duty to figure it out. Passion alone is never enough. A business with nothing but purpose isn’t the answer, either.

You need both.

You make your rules, and you get to figure out your own balance and make it work for you. I’ve figured out my own by listening and learning from others. I take inspiration from the likes of Claud and see the possibilities and opportunities unravel before me.

I hope you do the same, and if you too would like to learn from the mistakes of others so you don’t have to make them yourself, you may want to register for this free course I’ve built for you.Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.

Matthew Turner

Matthew Turner is the author of The Successful Mistake: How 163 of The World’s Greatest Entrepreneurs Transform Failure Into Success. After interviewing 163 authority figures, Matthew’s unearthed how successful people overcome failure and adversity, to not only ensure they don’t ruin their livelihood, but craft their greatest idea out of it. To grab your free & exclusive paperback copy of the book, visit successfulmistake.com/influencive