Home Pastors Articles for Pastors Why Success Takes More Than Passion

Why Success Takes More Than Passion

Everyone talks about “passion” these days, and truthfully, it’s a wonderful thing. It’s always better to be emotionally plugged into projects and excited about the possibilities. But these days, it seems that people talk about passion a lot, but they don’t see the importance of preparation. For instance, you’d be amazed at the number of people who call our office hoping I can introduce them to a literary agent—except for the small fact that they haven’t actually written a book yet. The other day someone asked me to introduce him to a movie studio executive so he could pitch his idea, but the caller has never actually worked in the movie industry, written a screenplay or known anything about the business.

I literally get hundreds of calls from people who want to speak at conferences. But they’ve never volunteered at a conference, met the people in the background, or taken the time to learn by speaking at smaller, less important events. Others want to teach at a university but haven’t taken the time to get a graduate degree. The list goes on and on …

Surgeons don’t get into an operating room without the tough work of medical school. Cops don’t get to carry a badge without the right training. Even real estate agents need a license. But when it comes to what seem like more “creative” endeavors, people assume that passion is enough.

Here’s the bottom line:

Watching a lot of TV doesn’t qualify you to produce a new reality show.
Attending conferences doesn’t qualify you to be a keynote speaker.
The feeling that you’re called to lead a church doesn’t necessarily mean you’re qualified to do it.

So, my advice? Do the work. Prepare. Do your homework, classwork or apprenticeship. The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll be ready.

Want to teach college? Start working on the appropriate graduate degree.
Want to speak at conferences? Do the time. Get involved. Volunteer behind the scenes.
Want to publish? Start a blog, produce magazine articles or write a book manuscript.
Want to make a movie? Write a script, become an intern, get a job in Hollywood or raise the money.
Want to be a ministry leader? Do the background work. Lead a smaller church ministry. Get involved. Work with people in need. Take theology classes.

There are no shortcuts. Passion is great—but coupled with preparation, there is no limit to what you can accomplish.

Now—get to work!  

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Phil Cooke is the founder and CEO of Cooke Media Group in Los Angeles (CookeMediaGroup.com) where his team helps church, ministry, and nonprofit organizations engage the culture more effectively through media. He's a filmmaker, media consultant, and author of "Unique: Telling Your Story in the Age of Brands and Social Media."