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    Your Business Can Provide the Life You Want – Lessons from Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos
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    Your Business Can Provide the Life You Want – Lessons from Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos

    July 2011

    I think all of us at this point have at least heard of Zappos, the on-line retailer that just sold to  Most of us that are CEOs or advise CEOs have now heard of Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos, and that there is a life lesson to be learned from the Zappos story.

    I think a few of us are actually familiar with the story and are trying to figure out how to incorporate these lessons into our business life and personal life.  My partner, Dale, and I fit into this last camp, as I've been studying the company and have read the book, my business partner had the opportunity to hear Tony Hsieh speak at a recent EO conference.

    As a business, we just finished our own strategic planning retreat where we focused on the vision of the company, associated strategies, tactics, etc. We did the traditional SWOT analysis – just like you should do in any planning session. However, in this session we took a unique track – what are we all passionate about as a leadership team? This is the additional question that we asked ourselves during our session, based in some part of the attached interview on the CEO network (warning – you do have to register but it is free) - Tony Hsieh Interview.

    What the heck does this have to do with accounting and running a business? Everything!

    I am now firmly convinced that understanding your passion – as defined by Tony Hsieh, is accomplished by asking yourself "what would you be happy doing for the next ten years and would be passionate about even if you weren't getting paid?"

    Understanding your passion, as it relates to your business, revolves around two basic questions – these are my questions based on observing our clients that are truly, truly happy with their entrepreneurial decisions:

    1. What am I passionate about doing as a career?
    2. What am I passionate about doing?

    You may look at the questions as one and the same but they are not. If you are really lucky, you will love what you do and will make a good living at it. In my case, I really love to help people. I really hate tax returns, however, I am able to get over hating tax returns based on the fact that I am really passionate about helping people increase their wealth and I am fortunate enough to do that more often than I have to look at tax returns.

    If, however, you are not necessarily passionate about what you do, your business needs to fund what you actually are passionate about (a sport, a charitable cause, or some other life purpose). Otherwise it is very difficult to get out of bed in the morning each and every day and grind it out. I see this in my clients every day. Those that have a passion are getting out of bed happy. Those that are going to a job they can't quit are just grinding it out – this camp should either pursue a passion outside of the business or should consider something different with their lives altogether.

    So – do you know what your passion is?

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