This post is originally published on the "Wholehearted Woman". Visit their web site & sign up for their email to get your FREE copy of the magazine! [http://www.wholeheartedwoman.org/]
I had my quarter-life crisis at age 24. Don’t get me wrong, things on the outside looked great. I was newly married, living an adventurous lifestyle abroad in Beijing, China, and landed a dream job teaching at an international school. But things on the inside weren’t so dreamy. I was struggling with the paradox of passion. If I’m passionate about teaching, then how come I’m frustrated with my job? If I’m meant to mentor others, then how come I can’t seem to find those opportunities? If I’m here for a reason, then why can’t I create a well-integrated, passionate life?
If I could go back and tell my 24-year-old self one thing, it would be this: Passion is working towards living out your Purpose. It’s up to you to be intentional with it.
There’s a lot of not-so-helpful tips about Passion out there. “Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.” “You only live once!” The essence of these mantras are to inspire you to do great things. But if we’re not careful, we can struggle with Passion as we strive to chase it, rather than create it.
So today I wanted to share with you 3 Lies about Passion, and 3 Real Truths about pursuing it. Hopefully, the truth will set you free.
Passion Lie #1: “I need to be passionate about what I’m doing.”
People get tripped up with this misconception because they associate their work with something that should fulfill their ultimate purpose. The thing is, work is WORK. People freak out when they can’t see the connection between where they are now, and where they’d like to be. Your career and your business has different seasons. It comes with challenges and opportunities for growth. Putting your focus on things beyond your control, like circumstances, job title and description and where you can lose motivation. Instead, you have it within your control to do the self-discovery work of identifying your passion, even if it’s just for the short-term.. Ask yourself: what’s important to me in order to create great work? What’s my purpose for this season of my career? What strengths do I have to offer to make a meaningful contribution? Passion can consist of your gifts, your strengths, and your purpose, so when you can pinpoint these components, it’s easier to create opportunities to pursue them. Passion starts with your attitude, your work ethic, and your outlook on creating positive outcomes so your initial passion can multiply into even more passion.
For me, it was easy to lose sight of the big picture of helping these young kids grow their minds, confidence, and skills when I was caught up in the student drama, difficult conversations with parents, and administrative work. Once I realized that my teaching job is equipping me with the leadership skills of communication, creation and execution, and working with different types of people (that would prepare me for whatever was next), I could engage better in all aspects of my work and infuse passion into everything I do.
The Truth is: Pursuing your passion means you can be intentional about bringing passion into your work, instead of relying on your work to bring you passion.
Passion Lie #2: “If I’m passionate about it, it should be so easy and FUN!”
The problem with this mentality is thinking passion = joy. But the real definition of passion is doing something that’s bigger than yourself. When you’re committed to doing something that really matters, like finally stepping out in faith to follow your dreams, go against the norm, or stand up for what you believe in, you’ll start to experience a bit of fear and resistance. Change is tough -- and you could be mistaking those challenges and obstacles for a lack a passion. For example, you will encounter self-doubt, people who naysay and don’t understand your vision, and things that won’t go as you expected. Yes, pursuing your passion CAN be easy and fun, once you’ve learned to embrace your fears, face the resistance, and do what you set out to do anyways.
During my teacher years, I noticed that I have a natural affinity for educating kids, but even more so, for mentoring and coaching emerging teachers. As a young professional myself, who was I to teach best industry practices? But when I recognized my desire to help other teachers with professional development, I had to face my fear of caring what others think, fear of failure, and a bit of fear of success in order to create a series of workshops, team building meetings, and one-on-one mentoring relationships.
Truth: Pursuing your passion comes with learning to embrace your fears and face any resistance.
Passion Lie #3: “I need to turn my passion into profit.”
It’s certainly a noble goal to turn your passion into profit, but it’s a personal choice. There are many business owners who got to where they are today because they were good at something, helped people, and figured out a way to make it into their full-time living. That’s what happened to me. I got bit by the coaching and mentoring bug and wanted nothing more than to coach as as many people as possible.
The thing to keep in mind is: there’s a difference between being a passionate creative/service provider and being a savvy business owner. Meaning, I am a great coach but being a great boss lady requires a different skill set. One that includes marketing, selling, product development, management, etc. So, if you’re passionate about something, you get to choose whether or not you want to go through the learning curve of business building, or just keep it as a creative outlet. Both are fine choices.
Truth: Turning your passion into profit is a personal choice. There’s a difference between being a passionate creative and a savvy business owner.
When you pursue your passion, it’s important to recognize the hard work, the fear and the resistance, and the learning curve of new skills in order to continue to do work that matters and live a life of contribution and purpose. The truth is: passion starts with who you are, where you are. You have the choice and the ability to infuse it into everything you do.
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