Supercharge Your Passion

“I have laughed, in bitterness and agony of heart, at the contrast between what I seem and what I am!” Those words from Nathaniel Hawthorne in The Scarlet Letter issue a warning to individuals and businesses alike. Image matters, but far less than substance.

“I have laughed, in bitterness and agony of heart, at the contrast between what I seem and what I am!” Those words from Nathaniel Hawthorne in The Scarlet Letter issue a warning to individuals and businesses alike. Image matters, but far less than substance.

There are at least a dozen metaphors I could draw from the photos in this post but I’ll focus in on just three today. Those who know me are familiar with my love of car restoration and customization. Whereas, in some cases, I’ve breathed new life into worn-out vehicles, in others, the project began with a strong machine simply taken to the next level.

The latter is true of my Celica. It was a fine car at the beginning, but I had an itch to see if it could be transformed into a head-turning street racer. The results are evident.

Some of the modifications included an amped-up stereo system and DVD player, mirror tint, Vader body kit, performance exhaust, Typhoon cold air intake, pearl blow-torch-red paint, vinyl racing stripes, multicolor, multifunction LED windshield light bar, dual LED scanner bars, 4 cold cathode light bars, electric supercharger, Volo performance chip, chrome rims, Viper security system…I could go on. Lacking a concise description of the beast once done, I changed the rear emblem to a chrome “CP2.”   

Was it fast? Absolutely. Attract attention? You bet. Did I street race it? No comment.

What may appear to be a digression is, in fact, my first point: supercharge your personal or business potential. Was transforming this car necessary? Many would say no, or even that this was an immature waste of time and money. They might be right.

But “good” is the enemy of “great,” and “better” of “best.” All too often, professionals and companies settle for what appears and never achieve what could be. It’s a sad sort of complacency, resting upon laurels while ignoring possibilities.

You or your company may be doing quite well, but to strive for anything less than your highest potential is to rob those whom you could greater impact. Kinged, LLC’s very mission is to elevate the best in its clients while eliminating their hindrances. We practice what we preach.

Not everyone pursues this route, and that’s okay. But for those who do, amazing things are accomplished that ultimately benefit everything the client touches. I struggle to understand why anyone wouldn’t try to supercharge their career or business.

For the professional, skills development is a means of broadening scope and accessing new opportunities. For the agency, running leaner and meaner translates directly into greater cash flow and profitability. There are many paths to this kind of success. It may mean automating processes, getting more bang for your buck by contracting with experts, or cutting costs to free deployable resources.

In some cases, businesses realize enhanced margins by replicating existing strategies or scaling the systems they’ve put in place. It’s no different than increasing a car’s baseline horsepower by maximizing combustion through forced air intake.

Gearheads know that power depends upon efficiency. Thus, supercharging your passion, whether individually or corporately, is a matter of fine-tuning the elements that already bring you success.

A word of caution is in order because balance is critical. One time, I was challenged at a red light by a growling Mustang hungry for the kill. I’d recently installed forced air-induction and activated it when the light turned green. Unfortunately, I hadn’t taken the time to balance my air-to-fuel ratio.

As a result, while the Mustang squalled tires and rocketed away, I literally choked and killed my engine, forcing me to sputter and coast to a stop less than 40 yards from the line. So here’s the moral of the story: if you’re going to ramp up one area of your life or business, be certain the other areas are equally reinforced to handle the increased power.

Otherwise, you could do more harm than good. Plus, it’s embarrassing to not only get smoked by your competition but also nurse your wounds on the shoulder while soccer moms in mini-vans pass you shaking their heads. 

Here’s another lesson: ensure you can handle anything that is high-maintenance. This goes for sports cars and girlfriends, job duties and entrepreneurial ventures. Although the Celica is certainly a fun car, it was a pain in the butt to maintain. The more complex the system, the more opportunities there are for things to break down or go wrong.

Even if things are running smoothly, there’s a higher ongoing cost to owning supercharged possessions. Maybe you can afford the Ferrari, but the sticker price isn’t the only payment you’ll be making. What about routine maintenance? Higher insurance? Hard-to-find parts for repairs?

All of these are factors that must be taken into account when making your decision to upgrade. Your budget must be capable of sustaining your enterprise. Don’t perform an impressive tire burn when you can’t afford to replace them before the race. This goes for your professional presentation as well.

Ego-boosting as it is to see people whipping out smart phones and snapping pictures of your ride as you pass, it’s equally deflating to walk out of the supermarket and see the chipped paint where some ten-year-old slammed their door into your dream car. When something is at peak luster and performance, EVERY imperfection shows.  

Part of being an intelligent investor is assessing whether or not you prefer constant upkeep or low stress. Acceleration is boosted when weight is low, similar to the agility of businesses with low overhead.

But this aggressiveness may also leave you with minimal resources upon which to pull when needed most. You can have swift strength or high gas mileage, never both. Savvy professionals know what models work best for their current needs and shift gears accordingly. 

Finally, be certain your supercharged venture is not merely a body kit. Sure, you can buy a Lamborghini exterior for your Fiero, but underneath it there’s still a Ford engine. Modern businesses spend an exorbitant amount of time polishing their brand and their image.

This is certainly a good thing when it differentiates superior services from inferior ones or highlights the array of benefits made available to customers. Dangers arise, though, when businesses begin to believe their own hype at the expense of their true effectiveness. Some companies and professionals have greater impact from their public relations efforts than their actual products or practices.

It’s like pouring money into a new paint job, trim, window tint, and upholstery while one’s engine sputters and the tailpipe drags. Silly, to say the least. Those who do this will look good for a while and may amass a significant following or customer base.

The end result, however, is always measured in value delivered. It’s on race day where the proverbial rubber hits the road. If you can look sharp while performing well, then rock on. But if you can’t handle both, then always focus first on being strong at what you do and delivering lasting results. This will do more for your image than a million strategic ads.

So we return to the quote that began this article. Don’t appear to be something powerful and supercharged without actually being it. Otherwise, you’ll end up as fuel for a competitor that spent less time waxing their spoiler and more on perfecting their tuning.

An old friend of mine once bought a police cruiser at an auction. The exterior was dented and rust-mottled. The rear bumper hung askew from a prior collision. Duct tape held a side view mirror in place. To be seen in the car was practically an embarrassment.

But Daniel would park on the track’s outskirts and wait in a dingy T-shirt for his next victim. Thinking it would be an easy win and hilarious defeat, drivers boasting cars not unlike my Celica would accept his challenge and position themselves on the line.

When the flag dropped, that modified interceptor engine in Daniel’s car sprang to life and blew the doors off everyone I ever saw that dared to race him. In the end, it wasn’t the looks that mattered, but the muscle.

We’d all do well to remember this in a business world that advocates insta-glam posts and glitter-twitter announcements. Avoid the “agony of heart” that comes from realizing you can’t live up to the façade you project.

Don’t worry about the glittery successes you see flashing on others’ social media pages. Be the best at what you are and you’ll drive home the victory. After all, in the end, we’re really competing to be the best version of ourselves.  

Sensationalize if you must, but everyone knows it’s what’s under the hood that counts. How do you supercharge your passion? Promote your image by perfecting your substance.

Until next time, don’t just be transformed: be Kinged.

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