3 Reasons to Follow Your Instincts Not Passion

04/20/2015 06:23 pm ET | Updated Jun 20, 2015

Chalene Johnson didn't start out as an outgoing, energetic fitness guru with millions of fans who can keep pace with some of the most elite athletes. She was a struggling paralegal with aspirations to attend law school and worked part-time to earn additional money as a fitness trainer with a lot more passion than talent.

Facing rejection in fitness, Chalene decided to double down on her efforts learning the industry, techniques and routines and over time improved her skills. In a short period of time she figured out that the old way of doing things wasn't working and hacked a new system that soon turned into a fitness and consulting empire.


Here are 3 take-away business lessons:

1. Being an Entrepreneur is in the DNA
In my humble opinion, nature vs nurture debate aside, I believe being an entrepreneur (or not) is in our DNA. One indicator is that (as Chris Guillebeau confirmed to me) "entrepreneurs would rather work 80 hours for themselves to avoid working even 1 hour for someone else."

Another sign of whether or not you're an entrepreneur is how long you can sustain living the lifestyle. For example, how do you perform under pressure? Do you feel like giving up when faced with uncertainty, risk, rejection and failure? Clearly Chalene has the chops to make it on her own and build businesses.

2. Follow Your Instincts Not Passion
Best-selling author and outspoken entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk would tell you not to waste time working on your weaknesses but to instead focus on your talents.

In Chalene's case it's clear that she didn't have talent at first and failed. But instead of spending too much time trying to get better and focusing on making weaknesses strong, she followed her instincts and identified problems with the process. She then found a hack and created a brand new way of doing things, accelerated-learning style, which got better results faster. Boom!

3. Simplify. Refine. Rinse. Repeat.
When you watch the video episode you'll hear Chalene talk about a time when she was so busy and overwhelmed that it was taking over her life. At times she literally felt like she couldn't breathe. One day she broke down and confessed to her husband that, despite the money and success, she couldn't handle the volume of work she had created for herself. She rethought her priorities and started selling off businesses and pairing down projects. By simplifying and refining the things that truly made her happy and made money she rediscovered the secret to success.

Watch this full episode with the incomparable Chalene Johnson as we go with her Behind the Brand.

Tweet me with questions or comments @BryanElliott or check out behind the scenes pics and other stuff I'm doing on Instagram.