Do you have a passion? The kind that gets you excited and energized? The type that speaks to who you are?
One of the secrets of the most successful entrepreneurs and leaders around the world is their passion. And I’m not talking about a romantic passion--however that doesn’t hurt, but about Entrepreneurial Passion.
Best-selling author Carmine Gallo defines passion as “A positive, intense feeling that you experience something that is profoundly meaningful to you as an individual.”
Research shows that passion is critical to the success of every entrepreneur and leader, regardless of their field of expertise.
In her study, “The Nature and Experience of Entrepreneurial Passion,” Melissa Cardon along with her research colleagues found that passion plays a critical role in an entrepreneur’s success. Passion mobilizes a person’s energy and enhances their commitment to a goal. But also, “entrepreneurial passion catalyzes full-blown emotional experience, complete with an engagement of brain and body response.”
But, do you think passion alone is sufficient to reach success in life or business?
In 2012, when we relocated to California from Israel, almost everyone asked us one particular question: How did Israel become the “Start-up Nation”? People wanted to know: What is the secret of the success of so many Israeli-based start-ups? Is there a “Waze-like” fast formula that everyone in Israel uses?
In our research, we discovered that the most successful entrepreneurs and leaders, both in Israel and around the world, don’t rely on passion or willpower alone. They leap by jumping into the “no return” point and turning their passion into actions. They drop off the plan. They do whatever it takes to make their dreams come true.
So what’s their secret?
Based on extensive research of hundreds of successful entrepreneurs and leaders in Israel and throughout the world, we realized that today’s most influential ones share a unique mentality -- we’ve coined it the “Positive Chutzpah mindset.”
“Positive Chutzpah” is beyond the search for excellence, and it goes much further than just thinking outside the box or “doing it your way.” It's a mindset of “dare to do whatever it takes" ...but with an ambition to bring positive results to the global community and a passion for discovering the full potential of humanity.
Cory Booker once said,“You cannot find what you do not seek. You cannot grasp when you do not reach. Your dreams won’t come up to your front door. You have to leap if you want to soar.”
In 2001, Adam Neumann, an Israeli entrepreneur and founder of WeWork and WeLive, arrived in New York after serving in the IDF for three years. To his surprise, none of his new neighbors in his building would talk to each other while riding the elevator together. It was completely different from what he had known in Israel when his neighbors would speak to him freely about almost anything, and would even knock on his door in the middle of the night asking for a cup of sugar.
Adam and his sister, who was his roommate at the time started a sibling competition, where the one who speaks to more neighbors in the elevator would become the winner. This light-hearted elevator game later inspired Adam to envision an incredible plan. His idea was to rent 100 large offices in strategic locations around the world, divide them into smaller units, renovate them, and create a unique co-working space where individualism and sharing can co-exist. This co-working space was inspired by the model of the Israeli Kibbutz, where Neumann grew up.
He dreamt of a world where people would become a part of a communal economy where they can access all of the resources, only by giving up the ownership of them. According to Neumann’s dream, one could work individually but simultaneously benefit from the energy and support of people in the co-working space. This new concept was seen as a crazy and unreachable idea by many. However, after a long journey, Neumann and his partners made this dream come true.
Neumann didn’t let the fact that he had failed in five different business ideas previously stop him from pursuing his dream. He took his passion and determination, and acted upon it, against all the odds.
In 2010, he and his partner launched WeWork. They had no building and only a small amount of money. Most landlords feared coworking. They didn’t have credibility or credit. The young Neumann quickly learned the real estate business, and he wasn’t intimidated by the powerful people with whom he wanted business relationships.
In February 2010, WeWork opened the doors of their first building in New York. Today, the company has more than 300 co-working spaces on five continents with much more than 100,000 members. Neumann’s idea expanded past the co-working space into a co-living space called WeLive, with the first two building opening in Washington, D.C, and New York.
But, all of this would not have been possible if Neumann didn't dare to act to fulfill his dreams, in any way possible, overcoming all challenges.
We found in our international research that those who possess the mindset of “Positive Chutzpah” don’t let their ideas stay as a “theory.” They jump into the water and use their contagious enthusiasm to move forward fearlessly, and fulfill their dreams against all the odds. Their will of power is so enormous, almost like that of Wonder Woman. It allows them to break every mental or physical blockage and move forward with what seems like “superpowers.”
One can say that the “Positive Chutzpah” mindset is a spark that ignites into a burning desire of determination to act. It overcomes all challenges and rational arguments. Metaphorically, it allows one to leap over huge mountains, dive into deep oceans, walk on narrow bridges, and fight the “monsters” while overcoming every challenge along the way. And when you take all that, together with the graceful intention to make the world a better place, you get an incredible self-power that lets nothing stand in its way.
You can also use this mindset. It’s a choice you make every morning when you wake up. It’s a choice to dare to do whatever it takes and turn your passion into actions.
South African-born Canadian American billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk is an excellent example of an American entrepreneur who turns his passion into actions consistently, with a lot of “Positive Chutzpah”.
Let's take his idea for an electric car for example. In 2003 he co-founded Tesla Motors to create an affordable mass-market all-electric vehicle for mainstream consumers. Ten years later his sexy and green Tesla Model S was the third best-selling luxury car in California.
In a 2013 interview at the All Things Digital conference, he talked about some of the challenges he had to face.
People in the industry told him: “You couldn’t make a compelling electric car that was both aesthetically appealing and had long range and high performance. And even if you did all those things, people would still not buy it..." He has also been told, “you will never be able to bring it to market, you will never be able to manufacture it in volumes, and you will never be able to make a profit.” One assumption was that Tesla would need a global dealer network to distribute and sell cars.
But Elon Musk didn’t let all these challenges and naysayers put the breaks on his vision. It was quite the contrary. He “rode” them to move forward and find a better solution to make his dream come true. He was willing to go the extra mile to steer his passion from an idea into a reality. As we all know, he did so successfully.
The skill to move forward with audacity and do whatever it takes to fulfill our dreams lies in an optimistic view of life, and the belief that anything and everything is possible.
Larry Page, co-founder of Google, once said: “I’m certain that whatever challenges we take on, we can solve with a little bit of concentrated effort and some good technology. And that’s an exciting place to be. Our job is really to make the world better. We need to have more ambitious goals.”
And let's not forget that even Larry Page himself needed a lot of “Positive Chutzpah” when he first founded his legendary company, to take his company forward while disregarding the criticism and doubts from society. The tech community was super skeptical back then in June 2011 when Google announced Chromebooks. They thought it was a stupid idea. But luckily, Larry had an unstoppable determination to make his plan become a reality, regardless of any challenges.
Now, what about you? What passion could you turn into actions? Are you willing to do whatever it takes to make it come true? You will never discover how far you can reach if you won’t turn your passion into actions and move forward with them, no matter what.
“Positive Chutzpah” is the secret mindset of many of the most successful entrepreneurs and leaders of all times. However, we would like to spread this idea around the world, and inspire many people from all backgrounds and cultures to make positive changes without the fear of failure or criticism holding them back.
Ready, mindset, go!