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Passion Vs Expertise?

I have been in the financial world for the past decade and have a good understanding of how things work there. Not perfect but good enough to go around.

Along the way, I've gained interest and started building startups that focus on travel and Mental Health, nothing to do with my background.

There's been some call-outs by folks to partner up for fintech projects and it's strange, though I'm aware of the problems that can be solved in this space, I find myself gravitating away. I consider finance as part of my day job which I'm relatively solid at, but not something I'm completely passionate about.

So far, I've not been that successful with the travel and Health projects but it might be due to a journey of learning, adjustment and pivoting.

At this soul searching junction, I find myself asking if I should really move into fintech instead.

24 Replies

Tom Cunniff
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Tom Cunniff Entrepreneur • Advisor
Founder at Cunniff Consulting, B2B Brand Consultancy
Passion is almost always overrated; expertise is generally underrated.

IMO you should work where you can add the most value.

Ideally, unite your expertise with passion. Find an ugly problem in FinTech that is super PAINFUL for everybody who encounters it, and then get passionate about fixing it.

Maybe you're not passionate about FinTech because you're focused on problems that aren't that exciting. Pick a dragon worth slaying :-)
Markus Siebeneick
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Markus Siebeneick Entrepreneur
Helping Dev & QA Teams Achieve CI/CD Through Test Automation at Sauce Labs
Passion does have its place. You are more likely to do better work when you are passionate about what you are doing.

Many people will say to follow your dreams and what you are passionate about. However, it may not be possible for you based on responsibilities you have in your personal life. IE. Would working in FinTech be a means to an end while you try to grow a passion project so that it can support you.

Interestingly enough, not all passions make for good careers. I love to travel, but if travel was my career, I would lose my love of travel as what makes it special would be lost in many ways.
Michael Lipson
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Michael Lipson Entrepreneur
Executive Coach & Strategic Consultant
Bernard, I love this convo! I believe the path for many, assuming our most basic needs are met, is to stair step from seeking pleasure to passion to purpose. He's my story, to illustrate: When I was younger I worked my way into investment banking, focused on making a bunch of $$, and generated a lot of pleasure - and it was GREAT. For a while... Then I saw that the job didn't totally feed me. It didn't align w/me at a deeper level including my values - such creativity, adventure, human connection and more. (Maybe this is what's going on for you presently? Now back to me..) I wanted to be more passionate at work and in my life, so followed this desire which led me to doing start-ups. this was a bit like jumping off a cliff - leaving my high paid, seemingly secure world for a very speculative yet more exciting one. I did find more passion and was happier working harder, even though I was initially making less money, though the possibility of making more fueled me too. I did this work for quite some time (literally a few hundred start-ups in some capacity.) Over time, building start-ups for the sake of equity value creation and exits became less energizing. Once again, I discovered it wasn't as aligned w/what deeply mattered to me as it once did. In reflection, I see I was grappling w/"purpose" - aka "what am I here for?" I've come to see what lights me up most is helping people become more and more inspired and ALIVE in their lives, including in their work worlds. That's led me to the next chapter - focusing on helping people (vs businesses) succeed and making each client's work a place for them and their colleagues to really come ALIVE (which I've come to discover generally rates profits too.) We all get to choose how we navigate our lives, and what a life well lived looks like. Change invites risk. And opportunity. I took the risk and it worked out. Others have and it hasn't. And others have not taken the risk and sit wondering if they should have, and/or should they still. The path isn't always easy nor obvious - but it is vitally important - cuz all we have this this life of ours to live out the best we can. I think it's fantastic your re-evaluating and being curious about what lay ahead. Good luck!
Alejandro Cremades
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CoFounder & Executive Chairman at Onevest
Take my case as an example. I was an attorney in NYC involved with international arbitration. However, my real passion was on building things and decided to launch a startup completely unrelated in a different sector.

Overall, there was a very big steep learning curve and it was not easy now that I look back. A ton of fires and shitty days at the beginning but the passion is what has kept me moving up until today.

Even if you have the expertise in fintech, starting a company from the ground up is VERY difficult (9 out of 10 fail). Remember, companies fail not because the founder runs out of money but because the founder runs out of energy. The passion will be there to push you towards realizing your vision and not the expertise even tho having it is important.

When you are passionate about what you do you don't work a day in your life :)
Mark Beliczky
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Mark Beliczky Entrepreneur
The Carlyle Group
From my experience -- follow your new-discovered passion and with a passion. Similar to entrepreneurs, it is the passion that distinguishes and takes one into uncharted waters where others would typically not explore. I am not suggesting sailing headlong into a typhoon, but do consider darker, stormy waters... You can always go back to finance. Much of the decision-making in changing careers/direction is a function of your risk tolerance, intellectual curiosity and the quest for new challenges. At least you are considering something of interest and likely the fact that you have an opportunity to consider -- many do not... Regards, Mark Mark Beliczky U.S. Real Estate THE CARLYLE GROUP 1001 Pennsylvania Ave., NW Washington, DC 20004 [removed to protect privacy] Office [removed to protect privacy] Mobile 299 Park Avenue 35th Floor New York, NY 10017 [removed to protect privacy] Office [removed to protect privacy] Mobile
Michael Lipson
2
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Michael Lipson Entrepreneur
Executive Coach & Strategic Consultant
One more notion - the sweet spot are opportunities where these 3 intersect:
  • Zone of Genius (expertise, mastery, etc)
  • Zone of Passion (what lights you up)
  • Zone of Market (what the market needs and values)
Bharat Walia
0
0
Bharat Walia Advisor
Sales at Mast Mobile - Simplifying mobility, start-ups, connector, karmic agent
I believe if you choose to be bold and follow your intuition you've already succeeded. The rest is mechanics, effort, time, grit, and support which you have a channel here.

I wish you the best of luck Bernard!
Rod Abbamonte
0
0
Rod Abbamonte Advisor
Co Founder at STARTREK / @startupHunter / @startupWay / @CoFounderFound / @GOcapital / @startupClub / @lastminute
Expertise with Passion
Laura Oliphant
0
0
Laura Oliphant Advisor
Business Development and Venture Capital Professional
Follow your passion...
Thomas M. Loarie
0
0
"Bringing Entrepreneurs and Technology to Life" CEO and Chairman, Mentoring and Coaching of C-Level Executives
Read Clayton Christensen's "How will you measure your life?" I suspect you will find your answer here.
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