Perspective

What Real Passion Often Looks Like for Entrepreneurs

Passion manifests in many ways.


Many people equate passion with a feeling.

This is a mistake.

You won't always feel your passion, but that doesn't mean it's gone. Passion manifests itself in many ways: sometimes loud and outgoing, sometimes quiet and cautious, sometimes optimistic and relaxed, sometimes skeptical and stressed.

Passion is what makes you get out of bed in the morning. Passion makes your eyes light up about a topic, it makes your brain turn with new ideas. Some days it includes all things new and exciting. Other days it includes nothing more than the mundane routine of responsibility. It won't always mean going full speed as if you had just downed a case of Red Bull.

A car gets the best mileage not when it's accelerating, but when it is driving at a steady pace. Don't worry if you're not fired up or feeling like a cheerleader all the time. It doesn't mean your passion has fizzled, it just means you're focused on the long road ahead.


Originally published March 2010

The Frienemy Market

You can’t do great work if you’re being pulled down.

Photo by    Cameron Clark

Photo by Cameron Clark


In my travels as a speaker and wedding business consultant, I've found that local wedding markets can be described in one of two ways:

  1. A market where some groups of wedding pros are truly friends with each other, seek to collaborate, and let the other groups live and let live

  2. A frienemy market

A frienemy market is exactly what it sounds like: most of the wedding professionals pretend to like each other, but in actuality can't stand one another. "I love your idea!" they'll crow, with their fingers crossed behind their back. They never share real ideas for fear that you'll steal them, even if you've never stolen anything in your life. They'll dismiss your accomplishments as no big deal, even if they are a very big deal and will try to guilt-trip you into thinking that you shouldn't be so proud of whatever it is you may be celebrating.

As a professional speaker, it's pretty easy to tell which markets are which. During the conference cocktail hour in both types of markets everyone is best friends, posing for Instagram, and making small talk about each other's kids. During the Q+A sessions however, people in a frienemy market will ask very few questions but deluge the speaker with questions via email afterward. When other speakers and I exchange notes, the markets this happens in are always the same.

It's also worth noting that the markets with the least creative ideas, the least innovation, who harp the most about the “good old days” – but who also have the most ego – are frienemy markets.

Frienemy markets produce mediocrity. If you're in a market like this, develop some Teflon-like skin and do whatever you can to not get sucked into the trap. You can't do great work if you're being pulled back down with every decision you make.


Originally published July 2012

When Business Isn't Fair

It's rarely talent alone that lands the job.

Photo at Bridal Fashion Week by    Cameron Clark

Photo at Bridal Fashion Week by Cameron Clark

If I ever write a memoir, I'm going to call it, "My Baggage Comes As a Matching Set and My Pity Parties Are Catered." While I have a dream job, I've definitely cracked open the Ben & Jerry's on more than one occasion. Sometimes it's been because of my own mistakes or errors in judgment. Other times it was because of decisions that were completely out of my hands.

I know I'm not the only one who's faced situations like this.

Not all planners, venue coordinators, retailers, magazine and blog editors, or conference producers have good taste. And some simply just don't know what they don't know. Sad, but true.

If you are counting on someone in a "gatekeeper" role to always see that your photographs/films/cakes/designs/insights/products are legitimately better in technical quality/taste/actual facts/materials, you will, at times, wind up disappointed and mystified.

Talent still matters in the long run, obviously. Never stop learning and pushing yourself to be better. But also, marketing matters. Networking matters. Being a team player matters. Being pleasant to be around for 8-18 hours a day matters.

You can be all these things, and sometimes you will still lose a wedding to a photographer with 100k Instagram followers who is charging twice what you are because of their popularity but whose photos are just plain bad. The saying "everybody wants what everybody wants" is true and sometimes that includes the wedding industry pros who are supposed to have better taste as well as advanced knowledge and insight into what you do.

It's rarely talent alone that lands the job, as seemingly unfair as that may be. Don't allow that to make you cynical. Throw yourself a pity party for 20 minutes and then get back to work.


Originally published September 2018