The Folly of ‘Following Your Passion’ In Business

June 17, 2011  |  

(Black Enterprise) — During Oprah’s final show a few weeks ago she masterfully distilled and delivered 25 years of hard-earned wisdom in a few power-packed segments.  I attended a viewing party (at the Four Seasons where she lodges when she travels to Atlanta) to hear what she had to say.  As she talked throughout the hour, I blinked my eyes repeatedly to keep from becoming a hot pink puddle of tears in my cute little summer dress. I was misty-eyed for a few reasons–mostly because I was so inspired.  She shared many thoughts that were absolutely profound.  As an entrepreneur I believe she made one distinction in particular that needs to be clearly understood.  While discussing the fact that everyone has a purpose she said, “You have to make a living, I understand that.”  She went on to say, “Everybody has a calling.  Mine aligned with my profession, my job. Not everybody gets paid for it, but everybody is called,” she said.  Oprah had just offered a thought that challenges one of the most popular bits of entrepreneurial advice.  How many times have you heard, “If you follow your passion in business the money will follow?” It has been repeated so often that it is now thought to be a business truism; but I’m here to tell you that it is often misleading and in some cases flat out wrong.

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