After a long and successful career in the direct selling industry, Mary Kay Ash could have easily decided to retire for good but her passion to create opportunity for women drove her to start her own company that is now 55 years strong and in nearly 40 markets around the world. At Mary Kay, we continue to honor her passion through our mission of enriching women’s lives. Offering a rewarding business opportunity for our independent beauty consultants is the most important part of our corporate strategy.
Today, “passion” often comes up in our culture around the topic of careers. People are advised to “follow their passion” when it comes to choosing a career path. My sons are passionate about baseball, like a million other kids, but there are limited jobs tied to baseball. In my opinion, telling my sons to follow their passion of baseball when deciding on a career would be terrible advice. To be an effective leader, it’s important to distinguish interests (baseball, cooking, art, etc.) from issues. Great leaders are passionate about solving issues or problems. Mary Kay didn’t start her company because she was passionate about lipstick. She was passionate about giving women an unlimited earning opportunity – something that was sorely lacking in the 1960’s.
I once met a roofer who was passionate about roofing. It wasn’t that nailing shingles to a roof under the hot Texas sun was such thrilling work, but he was passionate about providing a safe home for people. In my role as Chief Financial Officer at Mary Kay Inc., I’m passionate about continuous improvement. I passionately believe that there is always a better way to do something – to either be more efficient, more effective or maybe even both! I’m so passionate about continuous improvement that I ask every person in our finance organization to have an annual goal to find at least one way to improve. It may be shaving 30 minutes off the time it takes to create a certain spreadsheet or it may be creating a report to deliver information in a more meaningful way. It can be anything. The idea is to never stop looking for ways to improve – to improve the work you do, to improve your life at home or in your community, to improve yourself by acquiring a new skill or improving your health.
At the end of the day, it’s all about passion. As Mary Kay Ash once said, ”Nothing great is ever achieved without enthusiasm.” What are you enthusiastic or passionate about? Not what interests you, but what are you really passionate about? And how are you living out that passion?
“If what you have done yesterday still looks big to you, you have not done much today.”
Did you miss the first chapter of the series? Click here to read Mary Kay Ash's 6 Most Important Qualities - Chapter One: Imagination by Mary Kay's Chief Marketing Officer Sheryl Adkins-Green.