Focus vs. Passion

IT Culture

It wasn’t too long ago that I felt it was my obligation to get into the public brawls with my peers over what was right and wrong, all while my friends tried to pull me back and tell me it’s not worth it. Nowadays, I feel like I’m the one doing most of the pulling because it is hard to get passionate people to pull back from what they perceive as a direct attack or just pure moral and ethical blasphemy.

Truth is, most people in this business put their all into their effort to change the world and burn out half way through it. Or they burn at 500 degrees, cool off, virtually disappear and then come back in a volcanic explosion. Nobody likes handling a live grenade.

I’m glad it never got to that point with me and the great deal of that goes to my friends Dave Sobel, Susan Bradley and Karl Palachuk. At their suggestion I started charting my day, charting my reach, charting the net benefits/losses both materially to OWN and mentally to me. How much time did I spend developing? How much marketing? How much helping others? How much pro-bono? And then in the other column, I noted how much difference it made to me, my family, my company and my community.

I encourage everyone to do the same.

The problem with passionate people is that they feed off the energy and response of others. The trick to being successful, in either commercial or community initiative, is knowing where your passion benefits the most people. With only 24 hours in a day you can only make a difference for so many people in so many places.

So crunch some numbers. Even if you make no money out of it at all. Especially if you don’t make any money out of it at all. Find out what you do that makes the world a better place for others, find out where you have a chance to impact the most people and offer your message.

If you do that, and if you only do that, we’re all a lot better off because nobody burns out. It worked for me 🙂

Update: Woops, one correction before I get beheaded. Most of the credit goes to my wife and to my son for grounding me, giving me a time out, chance to focus and giving me a chance to look at what I’m doing from outside in. I used to spend all this time at conferences, in groups, meetings, feedback groups, etc and use Vladville to vent my frustrations. I don’t know if you’ve noticed the difference but I’ve started using Vladville as more of a personal reflection on what I’m involved in and how I’m dealing/struggling/winning/failing – and judging by the feedback and emails and audience growth, it seems to be the most inspirational and valuable thing I’ve ever done for the complete strangers. So thanks to everyone above, and thank you for reading Vladville.

3 Responses to Focus vs. Passion

  1. HandyAndy says:

    Thankx for this post Vlad, for me who is already teetering on the peak of burn out mountain, it may be just the message I needed to hear to stop and do some looking from the outside in. Maybe a little reordering of priorities is in order.

  2. vlad says:

    Just have a kid.

    I know what you mean about burning out. I blame Susan for a lot of this stuff because she is just a SuperMonkey everywhere at all times and normal people just can’t do that.

    Not to mention that I don’t want to be everyones savior and I don’t want to do business with everyone. So all the pulling and dragging and bashing that comes along with being a solution provider kind of excludes me from a lot of areas that I don’t want to be in to begin with.

    Keep up the great feedback 😉


  3. Dan McCoy says:

    Vlad, Thanks. My son (you just wait…) who is 7 was in rare form this morning. He managed to get me very stressed, frustrated, angry all at once. What am I doing to unwind… reading Vladvile (oops freudian slip) and unwinding. I am calm now. My wife took him to drop the dog off at Doggie day care as we head to the beach for a few days. Thanks for the claming thots.

    I was in burn out mode 6 mos ago and hiring a full time employee was the best thing I ever did. Now heading to Nashville in few weeks to have Robin finalize my new marketing has allowed me to stay focused on marketing. Thanks again for your thots. I am not quite sure how you hold all this in yer head 🙂

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