Chris is a freelance writer in the self-help and personal development niche. His interests also vary from anime to zodiac signs.
We all heard it. To follow your passion is to go broke and jobless. It's something that only rich people would seriously consider. Passion has no place in this practical- thinking, reality-driven economy.
You can keep listening to these discouraging voices. Or, you can turn it off and prove them false. You see, you're not the first one attempting to follow your passion. Many have tried before you. And they succeeded.
Yes, it might not be the grandest moment of your life. But once you begin the journey of following your passion, you'll be able to look back with pride and shout to the world that "Hey, I did it!".
To practically follow your passion is all about being prepared before you make the decision to jump. It's no easy choice to make. But when you do, you'll thank yourself.
For our lesson in practicality, let's start by busting the myths that run into your mind whenever you heard someone say "Follow your passion".
Myth #1: Following your passion is a costly undertaking.
Not all the time. For instance, when I started my passion for writing, there was no money involved. I just started penning my thoughts, signed up for a few blog sites, created my own and began publishing.
"But that's easy for you because you're a writer," someone might say.
What if my passion involves cooking or painting or photography? Don't I have to buy stuff just to sustain my passion?
You don't have to buy stuff just to begin. Most of the resources you'll need are already available. You just have to find access to them.
For example, if you're passionate about cooking, you can start by helping out in your mom's kitchen. Every day, your family has to eat, don't they? So why not use your passion to cook memorable dishes for your family? You can even bring some portion for your friends and work colleagues.
If your passion involves painting or photography, you don't have to go all-in just to buy the materials that you need. Give yourself some time to save up for at least the basic materials for you to paint or take pictures. Once you're honing your craft, you can enter competitions or a freelancing site that will earn you money. With your earnings, reward yourself with more materials or a camera with higher specs.
My point here, money is never a reason not to try. If you want to pursue your passion, you'll find a way and you'll start even if it's slow going.
Myth #2: You'll lose your friends.
Once you follow your passion, you'll start to act differently. You're more energetic, lively, motivated. You always have a happy smile on your face and there seems to be a bright halo enveloping your entire presence. And because your friends don't understand the new you, they'll get distant and you'll lose them.
If your friends are not supportive of your passion, they don't deserve to be your friends in the first place.
On the contrary, to follow your passion is to gain more friends and people who understand and empathize. You'll gain the push of people who want you to pursue what you're passionate about.
Myth #3: You can wait for passion to find you.
I remember this story I heard when I was a kid. Once, there was a boy who wanted to eat. He found a tree laden with fruit. Struck by inspiration, he laid himself beneath the tree, opened his mouth, and waited for the fruit to fall.
It's easy to say that "Don't be like the kid in the story". But still, we fall into the trap of waiting for something to arrive instead of actively pursuing what matters to us.
Waiting is killing time. People who wait don't arrive where they want to be. That's why most people die without ever discovering what they're passionate about.
Now that we've busted the myths, here are more practical ways in your quest to follow your passion:
1. Don't quit your job unless you're ready.
You don't have to go starving when you follow your passion. The moment you identify the type of work or interests that kickstart your morning, make a strategic plan about it. If your current job allows you to do your passion in the sideline, that's good. But if you find yourself in the wrong job, don't quit unless you're ready.
Understand that following your passion is not going to be a walk in the park. Nothing worth pursuing is ever easy.
So better set a timeline and ask yourself these questions:
What level of savings will allow me to maintain the lifestyle I want while following my passion?
If I quit my job now, do I know where I have to go next?
Do I already know everything that there is to know about my passion?
Do I possess the skills that will enable me to sustain my passion for the long-term?
If you cannot confidently answer this question with a yes, now's not the time to quit your job.
But, what if I have this burning desire to follow my passion? What if I hate my job so much I can't stand to work there for another day?
Didn't we all say that at one point or another? If you simply hate your job and your leaving is not driven by the desire to follow your passion, that's a different story altogether.
If you're burning with passion for another work, then go on and fire it up. But before you do, think about your options: would you rather starve or would you rather have a job while following your passion?
That's why the second practical step is all the more important...
2. Align your passion with your current job.
Many companies nowadays are transitioning to non - work activities as a means to engage their millennial and Gen Z professional workforce.You never know, an activity or work assignment that's just around the corner, might be the key to unlocking your passion.
- You love to sing or dance? Perform at your company's Christmas party or Foundation day celebrations.
- You love to teach or coach people? Facilitate training or do one-on-one coaching with your peers.
- Do you love to manage your own business? Learn the skills for operations and management while working in your current company.
If your company does not have non-work stuff, create one. Learn how to redefine your career through job crafting. Initiate company activities that are related to your passion.
You see, every job is an untapped potential of possibility. You only have to broaden your perspective and find that hidden connection as early as you can.
3. Learn your passion.
"I have no idea what my passion is!" the frustrated dreamer screamed. Perhaps saying "I don't know" or "I have no idea" is the easiest excuse for not doing anything. If you don't know what will make you passionate, the more reason you have to stay in your current job. Then, use your spare time to discover and explore your passion.
To find your passion, here are 25 questions you must ask yourself. But ultimately, it only boils down to two things.
- Your passion can be related to something that you're already good at. Or...
- Your passion can be something that you don't know how to do but you would really love to learn it.
Go ahead and learn!
4. Reach out to other people who's experiencing the same dilemma.
You're not alone in your quest to follow your passion. As I mentioned, many others already tried before you and many more will be trying. At the moment you feel the urge to do something, find a support group that will join you. It's always easier to make the journey together, rather than alone.
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Remember the kid who waited for the fruit to fall?
That fruit will fall eventually but by the time it does, its core will be rotten. Or the fruit can still fall anytime by chance but the kid will not be able to catch it because he's fallen asleep.
But what if the kid just decides to climb the tree and pick the fruit for himself? He would even be able to choose the juiciest and the fattest.
When it comes to following your passion, which process and result would you like to take?
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.
© 2020 Chris Martine
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on March 19, 2020:
Rotten fruit is a good analogy to not pursuing your dream in my opinion. I think you have given numerous reasons to pursue your dream. I always wanted to be a nurse and that is what I did. I am retired now but I would encourage people to follow their dream as well. This is a well-written, very good article.