SPOILER ALERT: There’s no secret formula.
I don’t have the answers. I just have better questions.
Questions that will help narrow your range of possibilities; these are questions asked by those fortunate to make a living from their passions; these are questions I’ve asked myself over-and-over again.
“The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The meaning of life is to give your gift away.” — David Viscott
To me, passion simply means something you enjoy doing. You don’t have to be 100% passionate about whatever you’re doing, all the time. You simply need it to lend a certain amount of excitement in your life.
And that’s precisely where you begin your personal exploration…
What are you excited about doing? Is there something you already love doing? Do you have a favourite hobby that could turn into your dream job? Or something you loved doing as a child, but never considered as a career possibility? Have you had to give it up in order to settle into a 9-5 job in order to make a living? What do you spend hours reading about? Talking about? If you could do anything for 8 hours/day for the rest of your life, and money were no object, what would you do? If the Medici Family subsidized you, what would you spend time creating?
What are you good at? What were you really good at? What do your friends & family regularly ask you for? Dive deeper and look at your life experiences. What have been the common themes? Don’t be an amateur. To be successful, you need to have professional skills.
“Don’t chase success. Chase excellence, and success will chase you.” — Aamir Khan
Get very good at your future career and you will make money at it. So practice for hours on end. If it’s something you love, the practice should be something you want to do. Put in your 10,000 hours. And remember, if you don’t have any skills, get some.
Identify a demand. Ask around, and explore possibilities. Ask other people for ideas. See what others have done with their passions. The more possibilities you find, the more likely your chances of finding your true passion. Find other people, either in your area or online, who do what you want to do for a living, and pick their brains. How much do they make? What training and education did they need? What skills are necessary? How did they get their start? What recommendations do they have?
The thing you were meant to do for the rest of your life is somewhere within the triangulation of excitement, skills and demand.
But knowing when you’ve found it isn’t as simple as it sounds. These tips by Jeff Goins can help you determine whether or not it’s there. The basics include:
- You’re Excited About It. If you’re passionate about something, you’ll feel excited about doing it. But remember, sometimes you’ll stop feeling so excited about something because passions change as you age.
- You’re Falling Behind. Not because you aren’t working on your project, but because you feel like you should be even further ahead.
- You Can’t Easily Define It. That is, there’s no end goal in sight.
“What’s money? A man is a success if he gets up in the morning and goes to bed at night and in between does what he wants to do.” — Bob Dylan
Once you’ve found your true passion, you have to keep working to maintain it and to stay passionate about your work. It’s about finding where excitement, skill and demand intersect.
Find your passion, and do it for a living.