If you’re not already doing what you love, it’s time to take the plunge.
You don’t have to keep pushing your passion to the background, hoping to someday have time for it.
When the kids are bigger. . .
When you’ve got more time. . .
When you win the lottery. . .
The thing is, unless you make it a priority, you’ll never get to your passion – and that’s a shame.
The world needs what you have to offer. Whatever it is, whether it’s so big it moves the world or whether you make a difference on a smaller scale, the important thing is that you are here to make a difference. You are NOT here to be bored, dissatisfied, chained to something you hate. But you must make what you love a priority or it’s never going to happen.
Don’t die with your music still inside you. -Wayne Dyer
That doesn’t mean that you have to take a dive fit for an Olympian. Don’t rush into your boss’ office to give your notice just yet. But DO make a commitment to yourself that you’re going to do what it takes to do what you love – for work, for play, on the side, whatever.
Making your passion a priority
How do you add one more priority to your already busy life? You have so much already vying for your attention, it seems nearly impossible to add one more thing in, right?
Well, you can do it with these two simple principles:
1. Focus on what you gain. Often, passions are put aside because there’s a part of us that believes that they are impractical. No matter how much you love whatever it is, if you’re (unconsciously) thinking that you’re doing something you shouldn’t be doing, it’s hard to stay focused.
It’s easy to feel discouraged about your passion if you’re constantly thinking that it’s a waste of time, money and energy because you’ll never get to make it into a business or full-time job, you’ll never have enough time for it, or you’re always distracted by all the other things you “should” be doing.
Devoting time to your passion IS important and should be treated as such. Schedule time for it, tune out distractions, and try to enjoy it for the sake of your love for it. Focus on what you gain from the pursuit of it – enjoyment, knowledge, creativity. . . whatever it is, keep your focus on what you love about it and consciously move your thoughts away from any guilt or distractions.
2. Take baby steps: Maybe it’s enough to rediscover your passion and the pleasure you gain from it.
But maybe you really do want to move it from a hobby into something you do more seriously. That might mean you want to find a job doing what you love, create a business around what you love, work full time to make a difference in the world changing something you feel compelled to change, or finally get serious about your creative endeavor. Whatever it is, remember that taking baby steps toward this transformation may be more sustainable for you.
If you rush in today to give your boss your notice with a plan to start your own business, you could be wildly successful. Or, it could fail. The worst part about a failure like this is that the takeaway is usually a thought like this: “I knew I couldn’t make a living doing what I love.”
The reality is that it’s not that you can’t make a living doing what you love, but that you need a rock-solid plan for doing so, before you take the plunge.
Creating your rock-solid plan
Your rock-solid plan is what you’re going to do and how you’re going to do it, broken down into baby steps. It should include:
Where do you see yourself when your plan is accomplished?
What are you doing?
How are you doing it?
What difference are you making?
What does it feel like?
What are the major milestones along the way that will let you know you’re having success (as you define it)?
What are the values I wish to uphold as I reach my milestones?
Whose help can I enlist along my path?
The Baby Steps:
This part of your rock-solid plan will probably be the most painstaking: What do I need to DO to do what I love?
For each of your milestones, what are all the little things you must do to get there? Everything from creating a website to going back to school to thinking about your passion can be listed here. These are going to be all the tactics you will need to move toward your dream.
As life unfolds, more things will present themselves or become clear – and you’ll have to adjust accordingly.
The baby steps can be tricky. It can be tempting to go after the bright shiny lights of your passion without taking time to think about (and execute on) the (sometimes not so shiny) little things.
I have a friend who is a very successful business person. It’s easy to look at him and say “Yes, I’d love to travel around the world, eat lunch at fancy restaurants, be in charge of tens of people and have a cushy office.” But what you don’t see is the behind the scenes rock-solid plan and downright hard work on the execution of baby steps that got him to where he is now.
What happened to him to get him to where he is today (living his passion – and getting paid (well) for it) isn’t magic. It’s not luck. It is a combination of dreaming, planning and hard work.
The great news about that is that you can do it too. Whatever your dreams, they CAN be accomplished. With a rock solid plan, a dream and some work, you no longer have to be chained to a life that is slowly boring you to death.