We’ve suffered through more than a few bad years of a worsening economy. While things have leveled off a bit in the past two years, it’s hardly “good times” for most Americans (and much of the rest of the world is actually even worse off, especially many of our friends in European nations like Greece, Spain and Ireland).
And while there’s a lot of bleakness on the horizon, there’s also some rays of hope.
I was watching 60 Minutes last night and a repeat story came on from March about the turn-around of Chrysler at the hands of super-CEO Sergio Marchionne. Here’s a guy that really challenges your current beliefs of what it means to be a workaholic. When he’s not working at Chrysler, according to the story, he turns around and flies back to Turin, Italy to take care of Fiat.
He saved 54,000 Chrysler jobs (with the help of our government) and has said he’s since added more than 9,000 new ones.
As a small business owner — like most small business owners around the world — I’m at my job 24/7/365. We don’t get “days off” and even the weekends are just another set of work days. Today I was at my desk by 6:00 am and took my lunch break at 11. It’s a holiday here in the U.S., but you wouldn’t know it around here.
But I do it because I love it! I am insanely passionate about the value of good mental health — of knowing who you are, what you’re good at, and what you’re not. Of not being satisfied with just being your stagnant self, but instead always looking for little ways that can help improve your life and your relationship with others.
I’m a fan of Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares because it so clearly shows the psychological toll of stress, responsibility and financial burdens that running just a single restaurant can have on its owners and chef. Without passion for what you do, however, you’re just churning out mediocre stuff. Stuff that anyone could produce. Stuff that will never distinguish you in the world.
These people who lose their passion are stagnating. They’re no longer moving forward — they’re simply treading water in life. (Or, in some cases, slowly drowning.)
Not everyone can be passionate about their jobs. For many people, it’s simply a way of making a living, paying the bills, helping to raise a family.
If you’re lucky enough to be your own boss, however, it can be one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences of your life — as long as you keep your passion for it alive.
We can’t all be like Chrysler’s CEO Sergio Marchionne, but we can all appreciate that there are people out there like him who really know what it takes to drive success.