Early in our careers, many of us are advised to do what we love and to follow our passions. But what does that mean exactly, and how can we follow our passion if we don’t know what it is, or if it’s something we’re pretty terrible at? Passion is a powerful word. For those who know what they want and how to go about it, the word evokes a smile and a sense of excitement; however, for many others, the prospect of finding and pursuing a passion can be stressful and frustrating.
One of our favorite articles about ‘the P word’ is by entrepreneur Deena Varshavskaya, in which she shares her personal story and struggle to find her passion. Varshavskaya is ultimately successful, but her process was challenging and took a great deal of effort and courage. She offers her advice and encourages us to follow our curiosity, to not make money our first consideration in a job search, and to leave unfulfilling jobs quickly – even if it means putting ourselves in a financially difficult situation. Her theory is that a sense of urgency will force us to find new opportunities quickly, rather than wasting time or getting ‘sucked in’ by the stability and comfort of having a job (even one we don’t enjoy).
Another interesting related article came out last week in the Observer, in which author James Altucher encourages us to embrace our inner-child. Siting numerous examples, including Mick Jagger, Leonardo DaVinci, and Albert Einstein, Altucher points out that each of these individuals was experiencing ‘life as a child while being an adult’ prior to their success. He suggests that this may have fostered the development of their passions and their future success.
3 Tips for Passion-seekers:
1/ Stay Open. Don’t limit yourself to what you think you should be passionate about. Your interests may change throughout life– that is natural. Don’t get stuck. What you’re doing today may lead you in a new direction tomorrow. Keep your eyes, ears and heart open to new possibilities. (Or even returning to a something you used to love.)
2/ Trust Yourself. Have faith in where you are today. You know yourself better than anyone, so have confidence and move toward what truly interests you. Trust in your ability to discover and nurture what you care about most.
3/ It’s Never Too Late. Many people don’t find their passions right away, and some incredibly successful people didn’t find their passions until later in life. This is just about what you love – nothing more. So don’t look and compare your journey to others’ – this is solely about what makes you happy.
Passion is a gift. If you’ve found your passion and are struggling to make a living from it, don’t be dismayed. You are blessed to love something so deeply that it feels like ‘home’. Elizabeth Gilbert eloquently explains this in her Ted Talk, where she shares her journey as a struggling writer and waitress for years prior to her breakthrough success of Eat Pray Love. Gilbert goes on to describe her experience in preparing the release of her follow-up book to EPL, knowing there was little chance it would be critically acclaimed. (And, sadly, it wasn’t.) However, what she realized is: that is okay. Because her passion was never about fame, success or validation from others. Her passion had always been for the process and experience of writing, and this is what she will continue to pour her heart into – no matter what.
* Song to get you in the mood (because passion is deep):
(“How Deep Is Your Love” by Calvin Harris + Disciples.)
“4 Practical Ways To Find Your Life’s Passion And A Career You Love”: http://goo.gl/3hyvnP
“The One Formula to Finding Your Passion in Life”: http://goo.gl/Jm0JEu
“Success, Failure and the Drive to Keep Creating”, Ted Talk: http://goo.gl/d5NXWn