I’m an avid “60 Minutes” fan despite being under the age of 50. A couple of weeks ago, Anderson Cooper interviewed Dave Grohl of the band Foo Fighters. Within the first two minutes of the interview, Dave Grohl said something that grabbed my attention.
In the opening segment, there is video showing the Foo Fighters rocking out to a sold-out Wembley Stadium in London. Anderson Cooper’s voice is heard over the imagery, saying that Dave Grohl has never used money as a motivation during the band’s rise from nothing to a global brand.
The segment then opens showing Cooper and Grohl sitting across from each other and the interview picks up with Dave saying, “The reward for playing music should be playing music.”
“Isn’t that easy to say for someone that is incredibly successful?”
“It’s really easy for me to say, but that’s the way I felt before any of this happened. I wasn’t doing it so that this would happen. I was doing it because I loved it.
“And you still love to play?”
“Dude, yeah … A LOT.”
I sincerely believe in what Grohl said and I think it’s a huge element to accomplishing goals without getting totally burned out. Everyone needs to dream, but focusing exclusively on money can be a creativity and passion killer (the two elements needed for massive success).
Enjoy the journey, master the craft and the result comes to you. This may sound completely Zen, but there is truth to this philosophy. Steve Jobs was less concerned with becoming a millionaire than he was with creating the best possible product, with a ferocious attention to detail. Trying to hurry a natural learning process for financial gain doesn’t necessarily result in greatness. You may be successful, but the journey will probably be a lot less enjoyable. I love that Grohl and his fellow Foos were committed to their craft first. The money took care of itself just as it did with Jobs and Apple.
The worst insult a band (or a company) can be given is to be labeled “sold out.” To sell out means to have gotten comfortable, rest on laurels and lose the passion that allowed success to occur in the first place. Being sold out is the first step to a company’s demise.
Look at the most successful companies in the skydiving industry today: Performance Designs, Larsen and Brusgaard, Airtec (Cypres) and Cookie to name a few. These organizations are industry leaders because their roots are based in excellence by being driven to create. Their development was fueled by passion and drive. The challenge for all of these companies today is to stay at the top by focusing on what got them there in the first place, while balancing the stressors that come with growth and financial success. The downfall for many companies is having great success and losing their way by trying to hold on to all they had gained during their most creative time. It’s a paradox.
There’s no cutting corners to growth within an industry, but the companies that are driven to make better products or deliver a better service experience are the ones that rise to the top. Financial success is a derivative of the attention to detail.
If you’re thinking of starting a business whether it be a DZ or something else, don’t lose the passion and enjoy the journey!
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