Passion is bullshit
This week’s episode is all about a talk I did at Ignite Philly.
Passion. Passion is described as a strong and uncontrollable emotion. An intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction.
Allow me to use it in a sentence by quoting, Busta Rhymes: Fortune, power, fame, passion for this shit you need to go, get you some.
You can be passionate about a lot of things.
You can be passionate about
- Health and wellness,
- Helping underserved communities,
- And even business.
Passion is a word that we all know very well, but I am here to tell you that passion is bullshit.
7 Years ago, I took the biggest risk of my life after feeling weighed down by discouragement.
This discouragement came from people I loved the most. Friends and family, telling me I would never make it. For years, i was afraid of taking that leap and ultimately placed myself in a dark and deep depression I didn’t know how to get out of.
Eventually I did what was in my heart, I quit my comfortable job to pursue a life of helping others.
And when I decided to move into entrepreneurship, that safety net was ripped out from under me.
My parents were let confused. My emotional support from friends was gone.
Everything, was now up to me.
But that wasn’t until I met some of the bravest, most inspiring, and hard working individuals I am proud to associate myself with because 7 years later, I stand here before you a proud business owner with a growing team of 37 people. I’d like to use this speech as a vehicle to educate others about the not so glamorous, but incredibly rewarding life of an entrepreneur.
When you first start a business you essentially begin with ZERO.
That’s you on the left. You have nothing.
In the first year (or so) of business, your spirits are high, but there will be a point where you will experience a plateau.
On these days of plateauing, you will be left with 1000’s of different emotions.
- It’s working!
- Oh crap, no it’s not. We’re going bankrupt.
- Wait. Ok. We good!
When you see this chart, you may assume that this is a weekly graph.
No, this is what goes on in my head, every 10 minutes.
Running your own business is hard. Your mental psyche is pushed to the absolute limit. There are days where you just want to quit. There are even days where you lose sight of your passion entirely. And question the reason you started in the first place.
So within this plateau,
Can you identify how passion will help you go from here to there?
Can you identify how passion is going to help you pay your bills when you can’t,
Where’s passion when you have to miss an important life event, or when a fellow team member is up for a raise but you need to pay them before you pay yourself?
From my perspective, passion, although important in the beginning of your journey will only get you to that plateau. But what will always be there to guide you during the darkest of days and allow you to experience breakthrough…is your purpose.
During my entrepreneurial journey, we were called many things and had many ideas out of passion. Ideas like an SEO automation service, or a texting app for people who are lonely (true story), and so many more.
None of the ideas or past businesses worked as well as what we do now.
In fact, I can pinpoint the exact day it all came together. The day was October 20th, 2017 when we were asked personal questions by the press that challenged us to think about our why. The next day we launched a service with the core mission to help those, who help others.
So who are we?
We are an on-demand graphic design service called Penji. We are currently based in Camden NJ, with thousands of customers who trust us worldwide as their main resource for graphic design support.
We have initiatives that help nonprofits in Philadelphia and Camden called Penji Unlimited and a new initiative called Startup Unlimited later to come in 2019. The Penji story is still growing. we aren’t an overnight success. It took us 7 years to “figure it out” and we are still figuring it out as we speak.
We are told by so many people and motivational speakers to follow your passion, but I want to challenge you to find and follow your purpose instead.
My purpose goes beyond our company.
- It lives inside of those in this picture.
- It lives in those who trust Penji.
- It lives in those who promote diversity and challenge others to be more inclusive.
Within those who have read our press mentions. and even within fellow team members who now feel comfortable enough to buy their first home.
I don’t need passion to take me where I want to go. And I don’t need passion to convince me of my purpose.
Passion will only take us so far, but purpose is the why that drives you to make everything possible.
My name is Johnathan Grzybowski. Thank you for your time and attention.