We’ve all heard countless celebrities say, “follow your passion and never give up on your dreams.” The problem with that seemingly sound advice, it never works. In fact, it fails most people and they give up after failing.
I’m talking about passion, dreams, and why we should never start pursuing our passion. In this wide world of writing and desiring to get that book written, passion should be the least of our worries.
As I type this evening, my daughter and I were watching Sesame Street before bedtime. On the show, Big Bird introduced to Elmo and pals his new friend Penelope Penguin. Penelope was so excited to play basketball with Elmo that he took over the game and made a basket, even though others were asking him to pass the ball.
He was a little enthusiastic and admitted as much. To his surprise, he received some sage advice. It’s okay to be enthusiastic and passionate, but we have to remember to stop, think, and then act on our passion. Don’t let passion run your life.
So why do I say ‘following your passion’ is bad advice? Three reasons.
1. Don’t start with passion:
Most people believe that if you take what it is you’re passionate about, apply it to what it is you do, you’ll succeed in life. But what if I were to tell you that starting with passion will not only fail but cause you to give up on your dream.
Everyone is passionate about something, golf, fishing, sex, cars, and cooking. We grow up thinking we’ll be a fireman, policeman, or even Superman, but life never works out as planned. We find our passion wanes or changes like the wind’s direction.
“Successful businesses identify a customer need or want — an opportunity. When the entrepreneur is incredibly passionate about filling that customer need and is uniquely positioned to be the best person to do so in some way, that’s where business success happens.”
Passion only succeeds when we take the time to realize it takes hard work and dedication to overcome and press through into success. It doesn’t happen overnight. We work and in that work, we can find our passion for what we do.
2. Don’t follow your passion; bring it with you:
If you were to ask someone what they’re passionate about, you’ll get numerous answers–none of which have anything to do with their work or what they do. Think of it this way. When you only mildly pursue something, we call that a hobby. But if you take time, energy, and people start calling you crazy, that’s passion.
Passion is simply being obsessed about something to the point of no return. You’ll never stop talking about it, writing about it, or caring about it. Yet, we shouldn’t follow our passions because they can easily become a trap. That trap, it’s all about me syndrome.
It’s not about you. It’s about your readers. It’s about the person who has just joined your mailing list. This is why we write, for people. I heard Mike Rowe say it this way, “Don’t follow your passion, bring it with you.”
3. Learn to love what you do:
This may be the hardest. Maybe you feel stuck in a dead-end job. It’s that uncertainty that keeps you from enjoying what you do. But, when you begin to look at the road ahead, you can begin loving what it is you do.
Sure, you’ll have bad days and there will be times you’ll be pulling your hair out. That’s okay, find your passion in what you do.
Allow opportunities to come your way. Allow passion to develop in your work. You may be passionate about winning the lotto, but it’s not wise to pursue that. Learn to pursue passions that make sense and pursue life and allow others to rally around you, and your passion will become infectious. Our passion is not about us, it’s about our readers, our customers.
Like Penelope Penguin from Sesame Street, you can have enthusiasm, but don’t let it run your life. Stop, think, then act.
Question: What is your passion? How do you use passion to further your career? Leave a comment by clicking here!
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