Tom Ford on Capitalizing on Your Passion

Not everyone is cut out for the fashion industry. It’s a fast-paced, high-energy world that requires a certain edge to truly reach its upper echelons: passion. American fashion designer Tom Ford is renowned for completely turning around the Gucci brand, escalating its worth to $4.3 billion in less than 10 years.

Described by actress Rita Wilson an “unapologetic perfectionist” and as someone who “cares passionately about what he puts out there,” Ford found his passion very early in life:

“I was always very visual, always interested in design…I don’t mean that I sat around at age 5 sketching clothes. But if my parents went out to dinner and left me alone, I would rearrange all the living room furniture before they came back home.”

Ford says that his parents “encouraged me to do anything. If I wanted art lessons, they found paint and a teacher.” An older Ford somewhat suppressed his passion for fashion by opting to study architecture. But while completing his final year, he suddenly decided to switch back to his true love:

“I just woke up one morning and thought, ‘What am I doing?’ Architecture was just way too…serious. I mean, every architectural project I ever did, I worked a dress into it somehow. So I realized that fashion was the right balance between art and commerce, and that was it.”

Personal and professional fulfillment can simultaneously be had by pursuing our passion for a living. When driven by intense emotions, compelling enthusiasm and a burning desire for something, we naturally do our best work; times moves quicker, our creativity is heightened and our energy is seemingly infinite. Notorious for sleeping just two to three hours per night, Ford attributes 90% of his success to his drive:

“There are a lot of designers who are more creative. But maybe they don’t work as hard. Maybe they don’t have my drive.”

Confucius once said, “Choose a job you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”

Passion is nothing more than something you enjoy doing. You don’t have to be 100% passionate about whatever you’re doing, all the time. You simply need it to lend a certain amount of excitement in your life. Ask yourself: What are you excited about doing? Is there something you already love doing? Do you have a favourite hobby that could turn into your dream job? Or something you loved doing as a child, but never considered as a career possibility?

Have you had to give it up in order to settle into a nine-to-five job in order to make a living? What do you spend hours reading about? Talking about? If you could do anything for 8 hours/day for the rest of your life, and money were no object, what would you do?

Ford is the perfect example of someone who has capitalized on their passion, and he demands the same of us:

“You have to be passionate, you have to be engaged and you have to be contributing to the world.” 

Find your passion and bring it into all that you do. Passion is what fuels the Tom Ford empire, and its what will fuel yours.

Head over to Medium and begin discovering thing you were meant to do for the rest of your life.

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About Hamza

Digital Strategy @RyersonU. Teaching @SenecaSoMe. Founder @SplashEffectCA. I talk hip hop, hustle and higher education.