Recently, I’ve interacted with four close friends who are on four very different career paths and who all actually belong in four industries that are different from the ones they’re in.
Each of them has stalled at one point or another and it has been for one of four reasons:
1. There is no clear path. By its very nature, pursuing passion lacks a path. Passion is a specific, individual thing. It’s customized to you. Jobs are not. They are general requests for someone with a certain combination of skills. Thus, if you’re going to pursue passion, you’re likely going to have to carve the path yourself. Welcome to the club.
2. There is no vision. Vision pulls people through difficult times. Vision is more than “I want to make money” or “I want more freedom.” Vision is specific, clear, and vivid. Have you taken the time to sit down, take a blank piece of paper, and get really clear about what the future will look like when you’re doing what you love? If not, when difficulty arises — and it always will — you won’t have the drive to persist.
3. It’s hard. What percentage of people in the U.S. pursue passion, their best-fit career? Their manifest destiny? Between 15-20 percent. That’s not very many. Most give up for the same reason you and I bail on exercise plans, diets, budgeting, and anything else that takes consistent investment for long-term gain…it’s hard.
4. Comfort. Think of the last dramatic change you’ve experienced in life. Perhaps it was a job change, new baby, relocation, or loss of a family member. If you’re like me, you feel anxiety thinking about it, because change is hard and comfort is not. Comfort is alluring, but also unsatisfying. Change is hard, but necessary.
So, which of the four is stopping you?
Have you struggled to figure out what you’re really passionate about?
I remember thinking in college that if I could just figure out my passion I would pour my whole soul into it and do it for the rest of my life. I was frustrated for the next four years because it never came. I graduated, got a job…and then it hit. I found my passion.
Passion often emerges from some personal experience that causes you to say, “Wow, that was so amazing that I want everyone to experience it!” or, more often than not, “That was horrible and I don’t ever want anyone to experience that ever again.”
Mine was the latter.
I was in a job that drained me and I could actually feel it changing who I was. I had less energy and patience and was perpetually exhausted. I remember thinking, “I guess this is just how it is. You get a job, play the game, and coast through life.”
Making money and feeling happy and satisfied at work were mutually exclusive.
Now, 10 years later, they’re not. They co-exist. I love what I do and get paid to do it. And I’ve helped and seen hundreds of others do the same. I know it doesn’t have to be that way and my passion is to convince everyone that will listen that you can love your work and make money doing it.
Passion, for me, emerged from crisis. In fact, for many entrepreneurs it’s the same. What has happened in your life that made you shake your fist in the air and say, “I will never let that happen to another person!” If you’re searching for your passion, start there. Then let your business flow from it. What would you tell them? In what order? What could you offer that could alleviate their burden?
Find the problem, find the people who need it solved, and solve it.
Voila! You’re a small business owner.
It lies just between “I don’t hate my job” but “I don’t love it either.”
Many, many people are in this space. In fact, according to Gallup’s research on workplace disengagement, 51% of Americans are in that place — I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it.
Why is it so dangerous?
Because of Newton’s first law: An object at rest stays at rest.
And eventually that state of rest — also known as flatlining, plateuing, or status quo — manifests in dissatisfaction, malcontent, and relational discord.
I suppose I should make the disclaimer that this isn’t always the case, even though I believe it actually is. Let me put it this way — I have yet to meet a person who doesn’t hate it but doesn’t love it and who stays with it for very long.
Especially because it doesn’t have to be that way.
If you’re feeling stuck, break out.
Hi! I'm Dustin.
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