The newest trend in career advice is to follow your passion, right? All the cool kids are telling you to “follow your bliss” or “discover your passion.” I don’t fully agree, but I don’t fully disagree, either. Let me explain.
My true passion is sleeping. It’s my favorite thing in the whole world. Some of my favorite moments in life have been in bed, moments before falling asleep. Like this one time, when I was pregnant, my husband and I went on a bus trip to NYC. We drove overnight to get there and overnight to return. For any human, but especially a pregnant one, sleeping upright in a bus seat is the worst. My husband and I still talk about how amazing it was to sleep in our bed after that trip. My favorite sleep of all time.
The problem with having a passion like sleeping is that you can’t make a living doing it. I mean, maybe if I had a sleep disorder I could take part in a study, but I can’t retire from a long and storied career in sleeping. Following your passion only works if you can monetize it and be a contributing member of society who pays taxes and stuff. I call this being purposely passionate because I’m a huge fan of alliteration.
Finding your passion
For the sake of this article, we’re going to assume you already know your passion. If you don’t, I’ve creating a guided workbook for you including a bit on monetizing your passion. The link is below. Just remember, the sweet spot is where your passion and purpose collide.
Don’t quit your day job
Once you’ve figured out your passion and how you can monetize it, your first thought is probably going to be quitting your job and going all in. I get it; I know how frustrating it is to put your passion on hold during the work day. But calm down there, pal. First you need to work on your passion as a hobby.
Start small, find your groove. Don’t jump into whatever you’re pursing at an amateur level and try to make a living off of it. Practicing your craft should be fun, after all, because this is your passion! Once you’ve worked out the kinks, turn your passion into a side hustle. Work your 9-5 to pay the bills and your 5-9 to feel fulfilled.
Mark Twain is credited as saying, “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” Preparation paralysis is real, you guys, and its victims can be either the overly prepared or their procrastinating counterpart.
When I started this blog, I decided I wouldn’t go live until I had five blog posts, my about me page, and three printables. Instead of focusing on writing quality content, I focused on printables because they’re super duper fun and easy to make. After a week and a half, I had one blog post and my about me written, but I had six printables ready to go!
I couldn’t stop creating printables! I was basically doodling instead of writing a term paper. And I know me. If my feet weren’t being held to the fire, I would never write another post. So I went live. With one post.
It’s going to get worse before it gets better
Following your passion has phases:
- You’re super amped and pour all of your free time into your passion.
- You don’t see results immediately and want to throw in the towel.
- You DON’T throw in the towel because you’re not a quitter.
- All your hard work pays off.
Whether your passion is writing or opening a small business, this is the path you’ll follow. You’ll even follow this path if you’re just trying to get into shape or quit smoking! Positive changes take work and dedication. Sticking with it – whether “it” is your passion or a new habit – is the single most important piece of advice anyone can give you.
Phase two above can take a different form sometimes. Sometimes, you know good things take work and you’re willing to put the time in, but your family and friends throw so much shade you want to give up and work in a cubicle forever.
Family and friends may try to discourage you, but if you understand why Debbie is being a downer, you’ll be less likely to believe her. Debbie has been conditioned with limiting beliefs. She was always told you should work in a soul-sucking position for a large company. That’s what her parents did and their parents before them. When you understand that Debbie just isn’t comfortable disrupting the status quo, it becomes easy to tune out her discouraging words.
Do not fear failure
So you’ve tuned Debbie out and are super optimistic about your future. Good! But here’s the thing: sometimes things don’t work out as you expect them to. Failure is not the end of the world. If you plan a huge product launch and no one shows, use it as a learning experience. What could have been differently? Is the product actually solving a problem?
“You build on failure. You use it as a stepping stone. Close the door on the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes, but you don’t dwell on it. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space.” – Johnny Cash
I urge you to follow your passion as long as it is also your purpose. Your passion should not only light you on fire, it should better the world and enrich the lives of others. If you’re still trying to identify your passion, grab my four page workbook below.