Every so often something happens that brings into question long, and sometimes closely held beliefs. One of those happened this morning.
An important topic, one that has—I thought—defined who I am and the way I work, was turned on its head. Yesterday I purchased and downloaded Scott Adams’ (of Dilbert fame) audio book: How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big, and was listening to it on my morning run. He uses humor, as you’d expect. What I didn’t expect was that, in talking about success, he would throw out—with the ‘bath water’—a something I had long embraced as key element of success.
So what does Mr. Adams throw out? Passion. Over the years I’ve believed in, and written a lot about, passion, and how it’s crucial to success. I’ve written about being a passionate leader and how successful leaders possess a deep passion for their work. I’ve written about being a passionate product manager, how they need to be passionate for their products to do well and succeed. The importance of passion in your company culture. Sufficeth to say that passion—in my experience—is key to success in any endeavor.
Then I listed to chapter 3 in Adams’ book, where he ends by saying “Energy is good. Passion is [BS]” (last word modified for my PG audience). He says that passion ends up being very important for people who are highly successful, but for most people it gets them excited for a short while and then ends up being more of a detriment.
So where do I go from here? As I’ve thought about what ‘passion’ is for me (literally just in the last few hours), I’ve come to realize, that for me, the biggest drivers of success are: desire, hard work and perseverence. Whether the three together equal ‘passion’ I’m not sure. But they drive me and keep me going, creating and moving forward.
What drives your success? Please leave a comment about what keeps you going, and what role passion plays in your accomplishment.
The Product Management Perspective: Since I’ve been doing product management for more than 14 years, there are many things that have factored in to my products’ success (and failures). As I’m sure you could guess, the big three for PM are the same as stated above: desire, hard work and perseverance.