10 minute read.
People are always yammering about following your passion these days. It is usually something that is said by struggling life coaches, commencement speakers, and parents who mean well, but really don’t know what the hell they are talking about.
People say stuff like that because it sounds good. But it is really just generalized bullshit because they can’t or don’t know how to give you any real detailed advice about what is right for you. Only you can figure that out through lots of research and time devoted to what you do best or what you are inclined to do.
MYTH #1: There is only ONE passion for you
For some reason, there is a belief out there that you were meant for a magical job or soulmate career that is your “passion”. One special thing that you and only you were meant to do on this earth.
First of all, doesn’t that sound awfully narrow-minded? Could it possibly be that this train of thought was put out there by corporations that want to lock you into a specific skill-based paying job?? Hmm, I wonder.
The only problem with that is people are passionate about a whole bunch of things. And to lock them into a position or job where they can only express one small part is stupid and limiting. Passions are not static. We learn and become curious about new things all the time.
Passions evolve and change, sometimes greatly over time. Are you going to tell me that a 25 year old is passionate about the same exact things in life when that same person is 50? How could anyone possibly know which passion out of many is actually “the one”?
When I started out in my career, I loved cooking and working in restaurants. I actually wanted to buy and manage my own restaurant. That was in 1988. Then just 7 years later, I finished college and wanted to work in psychology and counseling. That lasted for about 5 years.
These days, my passions are web design (20 years) and photography (12 years), and most recently public speaking. Who would have thought that my passions would have changed so drastically in 30 years? Today, I would rather be stabbed through the eyeball with a bread stick torpedo than work in a restaurant ever again.
Looking for a single passion is about the dumbest thing you could do. What you should focus on is honing your skills related to your current passion. The more you do that, the more you will figure out you have multiple passions and that you can use combinations of skills, which can become highly profitable, and will open up more opportunities for what you love to do.
MYTH #2: Following your passion means you will never have to “work”
People believe that when you find your passion, everything will be fun and you’ve made it to easy street, because it will not be “work” anymore.
This is one of the most retarded things I’ve ever heard. If you think that way, WAKE UP YOU BIG WEIRDO! The benefit to having a passion about your work is that it helps you drive through the hard parts of your work. Because no matter how passionate you are about your job or career, there will be things you don’t enjoy about it!
When I started doing photography for money back in 2005, I LOVED doing photography for customers, and met some incredibly wonderful clients. A lot of those clients came back time after time, and I loved doing a great job for them. I was meticulous about detail, and it paid off. But there was a price.
The part that sucked was the business of photography. Because with any business, it isn’t just about doing the work you love, it’s about staying in business so you can continue doing the work you love. I eventually became sick of things like processing images (extremely time-consuming), pricing, ordering, quality assurance, invoicing, collecting, selling, and marketing.
If you want to gain a reputation of excellence, you have to take care of all aspects of business. It is all time-consuming, and requires constant attention if you want a good reputation. There is no shortcut to careful planning, taking calculated risks, and doing consistently excellent work. Oh and by the way, if you have a family, be prepared for constant interruptions.
People who love what they do put their heart and soul into their work, so they make it their goal to do the best job possible. These are the people who sacrifice little things like naps, dates, personal time, watching TV, checking Facebook or Twitter every 2 seconds, and other time wasting things, because they choose to work extra hours. Why? Because they love what they do and will settle for nothing but excellence!
Don’t judge them for their choice to dive into their work. They are probably seeing a huge benefit to putting in all the extra time.
MYTH #3: Following your passion means you have to follow one thing and one thing only
People think that to fulfill your passion, you have to quit your boring corporate or manual labor day job and set sail to the Caribbean. They think you have to give up unnecessary expenses like health insurance, a car, household bills, a steady income, and completely wipe out your previous existence, all for living your dream.
Sure, that sounds romantic and passionate, and could be a great subject for a Jane Austen novel or the next novel by Nicholas Sparks. In the real world, it is just careless, unrealistic, and even dangerous. You could definitely do that, but it probably wouldn’t be the smartest thing in the world to do.
The chance of success is on the slim side, especially when you think of all the stress you’d have to endure just to survive. Instead, I would recommend keeping the core elements of your life in order, such as your day job, your house, your friends and family, and save your creative energy for your passion.
What I mean is, you can follow your passion without devoting every second of your life to it, or giving up your entire life that you have built up thus far. There is always a balance in life between doing what you love and doing things that make you stable.
This is actually much more realistic and doable, not to mention more healthy. You’d be amazed at what you can actually accomplish with as few as 4 hours a week to develop and feed your passion.
Then, if you feel you are making good traction, make a gradual transition to what you love to do, rather than just doing what you think is acceptable or practical in the eyes of others.
What is your passion? Are you living your passion in your career right now? If you are not living your passion, what would you like to do that would be more fulfilling to you? Please leave a comment and tell me your story. I’d love to hear about it. I read every comment!
Also if you liked this article, use the SHARE icons and post to your favorite social media app.