That passion stuff — and why it is important for construction marketing

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victoria falls
That’s me, at Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe. I had the opportunity last summer to return, after more than three decades, to where I achieved my first dream.

These observations are unscientific (and certainly not backed by formal survey data) but I will go out on the limb and suggest you are reading the Construction Marketing Ideas blog for one of three reasons:

  1. You are desperate, in crisis, wondering “how am I going to find enough clients to survive?”
  2. You are looking for the answer to a specific question, presumably because you have a specific marketing problem/challenge to solve; or
  3. You really are interested (passionate) in marketing or, if you are the business owner, really care about your business and all of its important aspects.

(If none of these three categories apply, please comment, anonymously if you prefer, or email me at buckshon@constructionmarketingideas.com with the real reason you are reading this blog. I’ve been wrong many times in the past.)

This posting, I’ll focus on the passion stuff — the intrinsic, internal motivation that drives us to succeed, sometimes against daunting odds. Passion is really good when it correlates with natural talent in high-demand vocation. (If you are passionate about becoming a novelist but can’t write very well, you will have an uphill battle making a living.) We can argue that the ideal business ensures virtually all employees are doing work where they can combine their individual passions with talents — their strengths — as Marcus Buckingham advocates.

These thoughts and concepts seem totally obvious to me, duh, because I’m one of the lucky individuals who knew from an early age that writing/journalism (with an international focus) and business are among my passions. However, what if you don’t fit into this “know my direction” security?

This quora.com question — and insightful answer — may provide some clues:

An obviously intelligent and thoughtful young person asked the question:  “What should I do about my early life crisis?”

I’m beginning to realize that I live a hollow life.

I’m a third year in college with a major in biology. I only chose that major because i had to decide and it seemed like the broadest/safest choice out there. Up to this point, I’ve felt this void in my life increasing as I started to become immersed around people who were starting to find their direction in life. However, I put off answering this question with a vicious cycle.

I would play games until a deadline was extremely close. Then, I would cram to complete the deadline just in time. Then, after it was over, I would tell myself that I would do some thinking about my life after I took a break (playing more games). But I would play games or mess around too much and before I knew it, a deadline was near. All this resulting in a huge waste of time and no time to think.

Sorry if I’m rambling.

To get to the point, I’ve gotten fed up with myself. I uninstalled all my games and if anything, this reinforced my point.

I find myself at a loss for what to do. I’m not interested in anything with a passion, and it scares the shit out of me. The only way I can justify myself being in this major is that I have a vague interest in science, yet I never do any learning on my own time. I guess it’s because I have no passion.

I’m not sure what I’m doing anymore. I don’t know why I’m here. I don’t know what I want out of college. I don’t know what to do from here. I don’t know how to change my life so that I can live a life where i don’t have to question if what I’m doing is right. I should just know.

I’m very lost. Sometimes, I just wish an all knowing entity would just tell me what to do so that I could just do that and not worry about if I’m doing the right thing. Most people don’t know really know what to say.

I’m hoping the Quora community has some advice or steps that I could follow. Anything would be amazing. Thanks so much guys.

I thought . . . wow. Sure I’ve had early and mid-life and (now) later-life crises, but nothing like this. By the time I graduated from university, I knew exactly what I wanted to do and was well on my way to achieving the goal: I would be a journalist/newspaper writer and foreign correspondent.  (Stretch goals for a guy who had barely no social functioning skills — but I had managed to defy the odds and obtain a summer job on a major city daily newspaper and would, a few years later, go further and indeed live out the Rhodesia/Zimbabwe war as an expatriate correspondent.)

But obviously not everyone is like me. And Marcus Geduld seems to have nailed this guy’s question with an insightful answer.   You can read the whole response — and several others — on Quora.com, but I’ll excerpt the key things here.

Here’s a secret: there are four types of people in the world:

1. People who, from an early age, know exactly what they want to do and are still doing it in their 50s and 60s. My friend Meggin is like that. In elementary school, she was already writing. By high school, she had written several novels. Now she’s the best-selling author of “The Princess Diaries.” It’s incredible because it’s so rare. A tiny percentile of people are like her. You’re not like her; I’m not either. Get over it.

2. People who, from an early age, think they know what they want to do. They often have big surprises in their 40s, realizing they don’t actually enjoy what they’ve committed to. Many of the apparently-directed people you see are in this group. You’re feeling lost now. They’ll go through what you’re going through later, but it will be much more complicated, because they’ll have husbands, wives, kids, and mortgages. So as nuts as it seems, you’re lucky.

3. People who don’t care about big goals. They know how to follow rules (e.g. do the homework, study for the test, do what the boss demands) and the enjoy dotting I’s and crossing T’s. They coast.

4. People like you who are lost.

Most young people are in that final category. Some hide it better than others. Some even hide it from themselves. Do your peers all seem more confident and directed than you? They’re not. Most of them are faking it or just aren’t as introspective as you are. Talk to them in 20 years and they’ll tell you how frightened and confused they were back when they were in college. So the first thing to realize is that feeling lost is part of being a 20-something.

To be honest, it’s part of being a 40-something, but those of us who don’t have midlife crises tend to embrace it. I enjoy being lost, because it allows me to be surprised. I prefer to have life hit me than to hit life. Anything could happen!

I cannot advocate a simple answer, or concept, that will bring passion to you if you lack it.  The argument, though, is we all have strengths, and where we can discern the combination of talent and interest (passion) we should focus our energies, and in our businesses, ensure that most if not all of our employees, contractors and suppliers combine these qualities in our work.

We then have both the competence to be competitive and the confidence and determination to be persistent when things don’t go so well; we can set our goals with some confidence and reach them.

Maybe the best answer I can give to this question is to redefine “lost” — if the initiative/activity brings you to the point where you truly can lose yourself in a timeless expression of joy, you are probably on the road to fulfilling your passion.  Other readers observe the original poster truly gets lost in video games. Maybe, indeed, that is his passion.

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