You Can’t Teach Passion or LOVE

Last night I watched Jon Gruden do color commentary for the Bears-Green Bay game (Da Bears!) You can’t teach what he brings. Gruden’s punctuated, erratic, out-of-the-box, pure enthusiastic, commentary comes from on thing, his love of the game! If there’s one thing I must constantly remind myself of, because frankly I don’t get it, is that you can’t teach passion or love. Gruden gets it, he loves what he does and it shows. But Gruden’s passion is a byproduct of his love and when people no longer love what they do is it any wonder why they don’t have passion for doing it?!

Earlier this year we focused heavy resources on a multilocation garden center chain. We installed demo ponds, trained staff, and helped layout their water garden departments. When spring hit we watched to see what happened. And what happened next isn’t what we hoped for, but what we’ve grown to expect. Most of the stores went on cruise control going through the motions with the corresponding results. But, and it’s a big but (no pun intended), the stores with a singular person who got passionate about the water feature category did significantly better than the stores where nobody took any ownership of the department. One is better than none, but can you only imagine what it would be like if everyone got passionate about doing what they do?! It’s not rocket science, but if you looked at how few companies, and few people, out there actually had much more than a pulse you’d think it was!

Contrast that with Andy, a Landscape Contractor, from Michigan. If there’s one thing Andy and all of his fellow Certified Aquascape Contractors have in common, it’s their passion for water features. Andy rented a Greyhound bus, and brought all of his current, and future, pond customers on a six hour round-trip journey to Aqualand’s Fall Festival last weekend. Andy invested a couple thousand dollars in “marketing” for his current and potential future customers. I have no doubt his outside-the-box approach will pay off handsomely for his business. All Andy kept saying while he was here, and after he got home, was how much “FUN” his customers were having. Funny how helping other people have FUN is not only good business but also a lot of FUN too!

If you love what you do it shows and unfortunately if you don’t that shows too. Business has been anything but easy for most of us these last few years. It is easy therefore to let the world beat you down. But doing the easy thing and shrugging your shoulders, dis-empowered by the economy and factors beyond your control, will produce the hardest thing of all, certain failure or worse, a life of mediocrity.

So try falling in love all over again with your spouse or the business you’re married to. You just might see that passion meter for doing what you’re doing grow too.

Kids LOVE frogs!