When I was younger I was preoccupied with what I was going to do with my life when I got older; what I was going to be. I remember getting the advice, “Just follow your passion, everything else will fall into place.” This sounds like good advice. Who wouldn’t want to do what they are passionate about? But, is it enough?
A mentor of mine, at least through his books, is Jim Collins. For more than 25 years, Jim has been studying what makes leaders and companies great. On his webpage you can read about many of his findings – http://www.jimcollins.com/. One of his ideas, the Hedgehog Concept, not only applies to great companies and to great leaders, but also to anyone interested in living a more fulfilled and meaningful life.
The Hedgehog concept begins with:
- Following your passion, but continues to include two other elements.
- What you are (or can be) best in the world at (or at least very good at).
- What drives your resource engine? What can you do that allows you to create income?
Think of these three qualities as overlapping circles. Following the Hedgehog Concept means aiming most of your focus on the area where the three circles meet.
If you focus only on what you are passionate about without being very good at it or without the ability to create an economic basis for yourself, then you risk frustration from lack of mastery and not being able to sustain yourself in the long run.
If you only focus on what you are good at without being passionate or having a good resource engine then you risk living a boring or less fulfilled life and not being able to sustain yourself in the long run.
If you only focus on what can provide you with material wealth without passion or excellence you risk living a boring, less fulfilled life and frustration from lack of mastery.
The key says Colllins, is to find the sweet spot where the three meet and put most of your time and effort there.