Rich Mulholland has had one of the more an entrepreneurial careers of all the Paper Napkin Wisdom contributors. He started out as a roadie for bands like Iron Maiden, Def Leppard, and Bon Jovi and eventually realized that there was a lack of energy in the industry during the winter months in South Africa.
Driven by his entrepreneurial spirit, he took the initiative to adapt the “rock show” model to corporate clients. He started out by dressing up corporate speeches and presentations with pyrotechnics and grand theatrics, but quickly realized that he was solving the wrong problem: he needed to work on the presentations themselves, rather than the theatrics surrounding them. This was a result of the intense hatred that Rich (and really, all of us) had for boring presentations - it is also the motivation for his contribution to Paper Napkin Wisdom: "“We all need to fall in hate with something.”
An oft-cited quote from Ghandi says that if you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life. According to Rich, however, this is antithetical to the entrepreneurial motivation: entrepreneurs tend to look at things we hate in the world and say “we can fix it." The entrepreneurial spirit, in Rich's mind, arises from a passion about something so frustrating that the desire to change it becomes overwhelming. This desire ultimately spawns two ways to approach a solution as an entrepreneur: fix a problem or fill a gap.
Contrary to Ghandi's perspective, if you end up doing what you love, your passion will become your job, and cease to be something you love. Rich's approach, on the other hand, has allowed him to separate life effectively - hobbies, loves, passions don’t get in the way of work and vice versa. He has become empowered to explore both avenues of himself - work and life - independently and learn dual channels of lessons. The resulting philosophy: “love how you do what you do." It is much easier to be passionate about something that frustrates you; call it an itch to be scratched.
Looking back to Rich's origins in the music industry, we see the true motivations for an entrepreneur: for any market that lacks an expert, whomever puts their hand up first and says “pick me” is the expert by default. Unfortunately, most entrepreneurs are so busy running their businesses that they aren't open to spotting a problem when it arises. "Being busy" has become a status symbol; a hallmark for success.
Having the capacity to solve the dilemmas of entrepreneurial businesses requires a freedom from "being busy"; a commitment to balance. If we think of our business as a support structure for our personal lives - having a better life means taking the time to do the things you enjoy and spend time with people you love. Once you reframe what success means, it is much easier - and you are more empowered - to prioritize.