Fanatics change the world. Some for the better and some for the worse but they change it nonetheless. Tesla, Edison, Andrew Carnegie, William Wallace, Henry Ford, Elon Musk, Albert Einstein, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Karl Marx, Hitler and Osama Bin Laden just to name a few of both.
You may have a fanatical obsession for what you do in your business. You may have the next product that will turn the world on its head. You may spend day and night developing this product or idea and let nothing distract you. You sacrifice everything oftentimes to the detriment of your own personal life and relationships.
Isn’t this bad? Shouldn’t you have work/life balance? Shouldn’t you just “slow down” a little bit? Is it really that important? No one else is obsessed like you are so why try so hard?
If you have that fanatic bent you have probably heard those questions more than once. What does that do to you when you hear them? If you’re a true fanatic you never hear them because you’re not open to hearing them even if you’re being screamed at. Fanatics get a bad rap most of the time and some deservedly so, like Hitler and Osama Bin Laden. But the good ones, they are the world changers, the ones that stop at nothing to achieve their goals. They work tirelessly year after year in pursuit of their vision. This is no easy task. We all can get excited for something and that excitement may last a week or a few month's.
Then when things get tough and don’t go our way we seem to back off and start to make excuses why we didn’t stick with it. Things like “I tried, it just wasn’t possible.” Or “ I ran out of money.” Then there’s always “I couldn’t get anyone to believe in what I wanted to do.” These are the words of the non fanatics, the quitters, not the whatever it takes fanatics. There’s no template that makes up a fanatic. I wish it were that easy. It truly is something that stirs in a person's soul. It’s an ingrained vision of an outcome that cannot be erased. It truly is every waking moment and when they sleep, they dream about it, endlessly.
That is the power of fanaticism and it can work to your advantage. I’m not suggesting that you should become a fanatic (ok maybe I am a little) but I mean in a good way. If you’re blessed with a fanatic personality you need to harness it and make it work for you.
The first thing is to recognize this is who you are. Next is to recognize some of the limits this personality can have on your ability to grow your business. That ability to focus (be a fanatic) can actually cause you to ignore some basic functions of the day to day business and that can put your dreams at risk.
Fanatics are usually strong innovators. They love to be “in the lab”. They aren’t driven by monetary gains. They’d rather not deal with people and just focus on the innovative work at hand. If it’s not 100% moving them towards their goal they’re not interested. The problem with this is from a business standpoint things don’t get done to keep the business functioning. The day to day needs of any business have got to be addressed or the doors will close quickly. You need to understand that to make your vision come true you’re going to need the vehicle to keep financing and exposing your ideas to the general public. That vehicle is your business.
You need to spend time on setting up methods to grow your business at the same time you are developing or improving your product or service. You may need assistance with this and don’t be afraid to get it. Your goal is to bring your vision to the world and no one does that alone. Don’t rush into just getting anyone who promises you the moon. Do your due diligence and make sure you’re getting the value you’re paying for and that they will actually accomplish what they are claiming.
They need to develop the operating systems for your business. The real, everyday work needs to be done to run any business and it has to be duplicatable. New hires need to grasp and understand what is exactly expected of them and how to implement it. If you can’t get the basics handled quickly the complicated will never run smoothly. If you are too focused on your “lab work” you’ll more than likely lose your business. Someone can embezzle from you. They can just milk the job positions and not perform their duties. Payables and receivables can be ignored driving up tremendous debt and credit issues and sales could be flat.
The beginning will be the most difficult but once things are set up with your basics covered you can be free to develop your vision to its fullest. You still will need to revisit these issues and re adjust as the company grows and demands change but that’s a far cry from suffering going under from neglect.
There’s nothing wrong with being a fanatic. Just know the pitfalls and shortcomings of this personality so you can overcome them. With the right help in your business you’ll be able to grow your business AND change the world!