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If Passion Isn’t Enough, What’s the Secret to Success


If Passion Isn’t Enough, What’s the Secret to Success

In 2011 Pentatonix, an a capella powerhouse, came onto the music scene when they won Season 3 of the American reality TV contest, The Sing-Off.

Since their TV win, Pentatonix has won two Grammys and is on their second world tour – selling out venues from St. Louis to Sydney to Seoul. Most people would agree, they have definitely figured out the secret to success that eludes so many.

They made it look easy. Grab your friends, go on TV (or hit it big on Social Media), create a gangbusters career.

They did what so many of us want professionally… to have that big project, the big break, the big article or big book that takes us from the shadows into the spotlight. Wouldn’t it make life and work so much easier to do the one thing that changes everything and not worry about all the other crap? Unfortunately, that’s a fairytale.

The release of Pitch Perfect in 2012 made a capella cool but let’s face it, beyond Pentatonix, it’s tough to rattle off famous a capella groups. How did Pentatonix do it if the fairytale isn’t real? What was their secret to success? I mean, there are about a bazillion insanely talented singers out there. Clearly, talent and passion are not enough.

If Passion Isn’t Enough, What’s the Secret to Success?

Recently, my son and I went to the Pentatonix show in Brisbane Australia. As a special treat for both of us, I also sprang for a VIP experience to go to their soundcheck and participate in a group Q & A session.

During the Q&A, one of the women in the crowd asked: “What advice to do you have for aspiring singers?”

A few of the group members had some solid answers:

“Don’t worry too much about your completion. Know what makes you special.”

Yup. Makes sense.

“Find your niche.”

Absolutely. Despite what we all want, nobody has “everyone” as their target customer.

Sounds like familiar advice, right?

That’s when the brilliant and talented Kevin (“K.O.”), shared the #1 secret to success (in my opinion, of course).

“It’s not enough to follow your passion. You have to be an entrepreneur. We’re on this stage today because it’s our business.”


It’s the secret to success that most people miss. Fact is, it shouldn’t be a secret at all. Passion matters but passion alone won’t pay the bills. The key is to take your passion with you as you create a thriving business.

I’ve worked with coaches who love coaching, they’re passionate about it, and can barely pay their utilities. They’d rather be coaching than working on their business.

I’ve coached writers who want more time for their craft and are downright annoyed when it comes to promotion.

I’ve mentored managers within organizations who just want to do great work and would rather pull their hair out than engage in office politics or go to a conference or networking event.

I’ve facilitated workshops to help mid-level executives pull themselves out of out of their day to day work and move from daily doing to a business growth mindset.

I’ve advised professionals who did incredible work, were always heads down and insanely focused. They were also torn apart when they were passed over for promotion for the person who also did great work AND self-promotion.

It’s that age-old battle between working IN your business vs. ON your business.


Bottom Line:

If you want to dance with success…. you’ve got to cha-cha with your business, not only your skill set, sweet spot or passion.

Love that I had a blast with my son, went to a concert, rocked out to some great music, saw a fabulous show, and also got a reminder of what it took to get there up on that stage. Better concert memento than a t-shirt. Thanks, Kevin!

Never forget: No matter how it looks from the outside, success isn’t created thanks to a single moment but all the things that happen before and after too.

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