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The First Step to Becoming an Entrepreneur

Your life’s profession should be derived from your deepest passions.

This is why the first step to becoming an entrepreneur is to define passion and then locate yours.

The modern West has romanticized the word passion.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines it as “a strong feeling of enthusiasm for something or about doing something”; we typically use it to describe only things that we experience positively.

We think of passions as those things that excite you or put a twinkle in your eyes or a bounce in your step. We may have a strong emotion about child abuse, but we wouldn’t say we are passionate about it. Yet, even while we’ve romanticized this word, we’ve also diluted it.

We claim to be passionate about dark chocolate and ultimate Frisbee while at the same time declaring ourselves passionate about parenting our children.

I, too, had an incomplete understanding of the word passion, until I decided to research its meaning and history. What I discovered surprised me.

The English word passion derives from the Latin passio, which means “suffering.” Even one of the predominant Greek precursors for passion is linked with suffering.

This doesn’t mean that our passions should make us miserable or lead to our early demise. But it does challenge the candy-coated definitions many of us have come to accept.

Our passions involve the things we love, but they are also much more than that.

Passions are those things that we love so much we are willing to suffer for them.

It’s important to remember that passion is not suffering for suffering’s sake. It’s suffering for the sake of something we love.

Why does this matter? Because if passion is just what makes you happy, you’ll quit doing it when it becomes too tough or too risky, when you’re abandoned or mocked.

If you don’t care about something enough to endure pain, it is probably not worth pursuing.

So what do you love so much that you’re willing to do it even if it hurts you? Even if it kills you?

This is the foundation of your life’s work. This is the heartbeat of your calling. This is the soil from which your start-up grows.

It’s one thing to suffer for the sake of suffering, but an entirely different thing to suffer for the sake of a vision.

The former makes you a victim while the latter makes you a victor.

Entrepreneurs must be willing to discover—and pay a price—to uncover their life’s most passionate mission.

Most entrepreneurs know what their purpose is, but they can’t put it into exact words in a concise sentence or two. As a result, their lives and businesses lack clarity and focus.

That’s why we start with a purpose statement.

So here is mine: I want to help people find their calling, recognize what is truly important, and love their family in ways that grow connection and trust. The drafting process shouldn’t be a quick one.

Spend time brainstorming, write it out a few times, come back to it a couple of days later, and then refine it. Make sure to use plain English.

Here’s a good test: if you can’t use it in a casual conversation with a friend, then it’s probably too complex.

Resist the temptation to skip this step or cut corners. Having a clear and motivating purpose statement is critical to this journey. If you falter at the start, you’ll probably stumble before you finish.

Dale Partridge

Dale Partridge is the founder and editor in chief of UnlearnChurch.org, a Wall Street Journal bestselling author, and biblical house-church planter. With over 500,000 followers on social media and 500,000 monthly readers of his blog, Dale is a provocative influencer on the topics of church, family, manhood, and marriage. He is a trusted advisor to a variety of Christian publications and his work has been featured on Fox News, NBC, Christianity Today, Today, Good Morning America, Faithwire.com, and Huffington Post. Dale and his wife reside with their three children on their farm in Central Oregon.

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