Letting Your Passion Shape Your Business

As summer approaches, I am thrilled to hear of so many wonderful travel plans so I think of my favorite travel guru.  A dear friend of mine Jeremy Shaw, is a trained lawyer and has a master’s degree in business administration. He spent decades in his legal career and as a telecommunications consultant. One day he looked up from his law practice and realized that he was racing through life working long hours so he could afford time and money for his true passion, traveling to Spain and Portugal to taste great wines.

Then he took the bold move and left a stable, yet unfulfilling career. He put every bit of his energy into finding unique vineyards in beautiful settings.

Jeremy’s passion didn’t just trigger the move to do something he loves. It guides him daily as well.

I am pretty sure plenty of people like wine and like to travel to beautiful places. What I don’t know is how many people would dedicate years without profit to research, document and memorize the history and character of locations to create unique and unforgettable experiences.

Often, building something great with a competitive advantage means turning down the low-hanging fruit.  It also means taking bigger risks. Jeremy did this by not catering to a mass audience and replicating a common model.

He built personal relationships with vintners by creating conversations and understanding the stories of those who create the wine.

“You can talk to the author, or you can talk to the publisher,” Jeremy says. “The publisher will sell your books; the author will tell you the story. When we travel, we don’t go to the tasting rooms, the equivalent of the bookstore, we get the story from our friend the vintner.”

Jeremy spends his time finding those stories.

My favorite story is that of Baron von Bruemmer in Casal Santa Maria near Lisbon, whose family fled to Germany when Estonia was established in 1918. After an incredibly successful career with United Bank of Switzerland and a fulfilling retirement, the former executive at 96 years old had a choice: He could buy a vineyard or he could plant grapes with a minimum three-year investment period.

He chose to plant grapes explaining, “You’re never too old for a new project.”

He celebrated his 105th birthday before dying peacefully on the incredible Casa Santa Maria.  

What is your passion and in what ways can you share it and grow your business through it before your 105th birthday?