You Don’t Choose your Passions; Your Passions Choose you

“Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm" - Winston Churchill
We are not what we do. We can be moms while we teach, students while we deliver packages, and sons or daughters while we sell houses from 9 to 5 and perform at a comedy club afterward. Thankfully, humans have been blessed with many different interests and aspects. We are multidimensional, each of us with a life as complex as that of our neighbor. The mundane things we do daily are usually regarded, if at all, as just one of the many threads in the tapestry of our lives. If you are an entrepreneur, the weaving that your tapestry follows become even more intricate. Entrepreneurs are a breed with the will, strength, and audacity to start a venture from scratch and the vision to take it to the next level. These people have chosen to create, walk, and lead a path that is driven by a passion and that requires, above all, focus, determination, constant learning, and resilience.
Jeff Bezos once said, “You don’t choose your passions; your passions choose you,” and for entrepreneurs, nothing could be truer. They have a particular calling that manifests itself as something they love to do or in the form of an idea that is so strong, so loud, and so clear that they make it the center of their lives. Passion, for entrepreneurs, is like fuel. It feeds and guides their vision, steering their work, efforts, and decision-making in the right direction. Passion for entrepreneurs is like oxygen. There is no real entrepreneurship, nor entrepreneur, without it. That passion comes hand in hand with an extraordinary focus.
Entrepreneurs have a laser-precise vision of what they want to accomplish and how they intend to get there. But there is another majorly important aspect of being in focus when you are an entrepreneur. It is not just about keeping their passion and their goals at the zenith of their attention. For them, focus also means being able to discern when to say yes and when to say no. Saying yes and saying no are not the same, and they are both equally crucial. Saying yes to one good idea will automatically mean they will have to say no to a thousand other good ones that will come along the way. Understanding and keeping this in mind in every step they take becomes an essential for survival and a subsequent ingredient in the recipe for success. Knowing when and to what to say yes and no come as two different and complemental things. Choosing wisely and carefully is vital.
That focus gets strictly tested when it faces the brutal reality of scarce resources that most entrepreneurs are forced to endure. That reality requires them to get involved in all aspects of their venture because they cannot afford a team of experts to manage the different elements for them. Entrepreneurs end up having to wear many different hats, metaphorically speaking, which results in several learning opportunities that, although they are part of their passion, are not at its core. The downside of this is the additional effort required and stress brought upon them. The upside is a well-informed and complete view of their business, with a variety of perspectives. Their day-to-day reality, one of constant interaction with the full scope of their business environment, exposes them to continuous hands-on learning. And to this day, that approach is still the best way to learn. This is how entrepreneurs become absolute experts of what they do.
Just like there is no day without night, passion and focus are incomplete without determination. For entrepreneurs, the concept of determination requires a lot more than just the persistence of going after a goal. One of the best examples of this is Colonel Sanders with his KFC story. He was 65 years old and had been rejected 1,009 times before securing his first partnership. For entrepreneurs like Colonel Sanders, determination is not just about overcoming failure. It is also about coming to terms with the fact that the path they are creating and have decided to walk will be challenging and will likely require several deviations and adaptations because success is about seeing beyond one’s mistakes and stubbornness. For entrepreneurs, determination is not about sticking indefinitely to a path; it means sticking to the vision of greatness they make for themselves.
In a world full of uncertainties, entrepreneurs choose to walk a path paved by ambiguity. To lead that journey, they support all their strengths over a seemingly infinite supply of resilience. This allows them to adapt quickly and effectively to situations involving stress, adversity, and change. Entrepreneurs become masters at overcoming hardships because how they deal with them can determine their success. Resilience is the secret weapon that gives them the ability to meet challenging situations with courage and flexibility, allowing them to confront, cope, and manage failure. They do this not only to overcome it, but because by overcoming it they understand how to turn it into a success. Entrepreneurs understand that whatever they do, it must keep taking them forward. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal — it is the courage to continue that counts,” – Winston Churchill.
Every single aspect we just mentioned is challenging for anyone. But if you are a fashion entrepreneur, you are also obligated to face a series of additional challenges that, although not exclusive to the fashion sector, are considerably unique, making this industry stand out from the rest in its hardships and complexity. Fashion entrepreneurs must recreate their magic at least twice a year while delivering collections that captivate, connect, follow current trends, are aesthetically pleasing, and provide a voice and function to the wearer. In addition to that, each collection must satisfy the customer in terms of quality, responsibility, and hopefully, sustainability. And on top of that, fashion entrepreneurs do this while keeping up with constant social and technological developments. All these different aspects are critical for a fashion entrepreneur to be successful. It is almost as if fashion entrepreneurs are a renaissance type of beings that must combine and balance so many different, and sometimes opposite, aspects and challenges. It is not an easy path. It is one of successes, failures, complexities, and many difficulties. Perhaps the catchphrase for every fashion entrepreneur should be what was said by Winston Churchill. I do not doubt that those who have not heard it before have surely experienced it. We are not what we do. We are not just one thing, because we are all complex and intricate beings. We are the sum of so many different elements with several dimensions. To many, what they do is just a job; a means to an end; a profession. But I must admit that after writing this article, I wholeheartedly believe you are not what you do, unless you are an entrepreneur.