What is your passion? Come on, you can say it out loud, don’t be afraid. Let me help you: “My passion is _______________” There, all you need to do is simply fill in the blank.
Oh, are you thinking that you don’t know what your passion is? Maybe I can help you figure it out.
Try this, write down a few possible contenders, and then ask yourself the following questions with regard to each one:
1) Does doing it, or thinking about it make you feel good about yourself?
2) Is it something you enjoy doing so much that you would do it for free, or even pay money to be able to do it?
3) When you are doing it, do you lose track of time?
4) When you are talking about it do you become more animated and enthusiastic?
5) If circumstances allowed you to spend more time doing it, would you?
If you answered yes to most of these questions for one of your contenders, then you found a winner. This is definitely something you want to do. Now, here’s the tough question: Are you doing it?
Are you pursuing that passion?
You see, almost everyone has a passion they want to pursue. The problem is, we often push those passions aside in the name of being “practical.” Let’s look at the reasoning involved when choosing practical over passion.
If I do this other thing (that I’m not passionate about) first, and make some money, then I can turn my attention toward my passion. This sounds like a totally reasonable approach, doesn’t it? Raise your hand if this is your strategy!
Maybe it looks good on paper, but…
I hate to be a wet blanket here but statistics show that this practical approach rarely leads back to your passionate pursuit. Notice I didn’t say that this approach won’t work, just that most people can’t pull it off. Why not?
Because it’s far too easy to get pulled into the “practical” career and not be able to extract yourself from it later on. It becomes too easy to just keep doing what you’re doing while your passions go into the “maybe someday” file. To succeed at using this approach requires an unusual degree of focus and determination.
On the positive side, I do know people who have what it takes to break out of an established career and successfully go after their dreams. One good example is my friend and colleague Steve Aitchison of Change Your Thoughts. His article The Power of Focus is very encouraging if you are looking to break free from a career that you are not passionate about.
Society is not passion oriented
Where in your growing up experience were you ever encouraged to pursue your passions until your dreams came true? Instead, everything is designed to channel you toward a career choice that will allow you to “make a good living.” In turn, making a good living is supposed to be on a par with “living your passion,” but safer and easier. Don’t get me wrong, we all like the idea of making a good living. But shouldn’t we be able to really enjoy what we do at the same time?
Too often, the pursuit of our passions is described as “not very practical.” In fact, anything that doesn’t fit into the standard curriculum is often viewed as a long shot, or worse. Why do you think that is? Isn’t it true that most famous people became famous by breaking rank and pursuing their passions? Why does society revere them, and yet discourage people from following in their footsteps?
Don’t let fear hold you back!
We spend a huge portion of our lives working. It would be a shame if we didn’t feel a strong sense of satisfaction from that effort. The number one thing that prevents people from pursuing their passions is fear. More specifically, it’s fear of failure. My question is, Does failure really exist or is it more a matter of attitude?
The funny thing is, most highly successful people have experienced failure one or more times on their road to success. Unhindered by setbacks, they continued to pursue their passion until they succeeded. Often, it was the lessons they learned by not succeeding right away that allowed them to finally get it right. So, what’s standing in your way? If it’s fear of failure, maybe you need to shift your focus.
You have a right to pursue your passions
Don’t ever let anyone convince you that pursuing your passion is not practical. Passion is what brings meaning and value to your life. The very quality of your life experience is directly affected by the pursuit of your passions. With so much at stake, it seems impractical to choose any other course.
Please do not allow your passions to end up in the “maybe someday” file. Get yourself focused and motivated. Set some goals in the direction of your passion, and then pursue them relentlessly. Life is too short to settle for anything less than passionate.
Life can’t be passionate if you ignore your passions.
How are you doing in this regard?
The lines are open!