Following your passion has to be one of the most misunderstood pieces of advice out there.
You’ve heard it all before right? Just follow your passion and before you know it, you’ll magically find your dream job!
Sounds a little, well, unrealistic doesn’t it?
That’s because it’s one loaded little statement, and one that is so misconstrued that I feel compelled to bust a few of the myths surrounding it.
So today, I’m going to share with you the three most common myths I see around this idea of ‘following your passion.’
MYTH #1: You only have one passion
This idea that we are all born to do ONE thing in our lives; that we have ONE, singular passion and we should know exactly what this is from birth; that we should all be as determined and focused as the Tiger Woods’ and the Richard Bransons’ of the world, who by the way, all knew exactly what their passion was from early childhood.
OK so let me set the record straight. This is absolute, utter nonsense.
Please, please, please, for the love of god, stop searching for ONE passion because here’s the news flash:
Not all of us have ONE passion.
Only the chosen few have this ONE thing that they were born to do (and to be honest, I’m even skeptical that they only have one thing).
Here’s the truth:
There are multiple ways in which you can express your passions. And yes I said passions – because some of us (most of us in-fact) will likely have more than one passion.
So, you may have three or four things that you are passionate about, but HOW you express those things, is ultimately up to you. I’ll give you an example. One of my passions is Strategy. I like to think strategically, I like to create strategic plans and I find it easy to take large amounts of information and distill it into easy to follow steps or processes.
Initially, this passion was played out in my role as a strategist in the Advertising world. I would consume a brief about a client’s product, digest a tonne of information and then come up with a marketing strategy based on that client’s objectives. That is just ONE way in which I utilized that passion.
Fast forward a few years and I’m using that skill in a very different way. I now use it to help people find and do work that they love. But, it’s the same passion. Instead of solving a marketing brief, I used my strategic skills to digest a tonne of information about what it takes to find your dream career and turned it into a step-by-step program.
So, I’m ultimately harnessing the same passion, just in two very different roles. And by the way this is not my only passion, oh no. Let’s take my love of writing as another example. I have always loved to write, and yet again this passion has shown up in multiple ways throughout my multiple careers.
First up, in my degree, I loved to explore this passion in my coursework – I loved nothing more than writing my 17,000 academic dissertation paper (yes I’m a super geek). Move on to my advertising career, and I drew on this passion through writing strategies and proposals as-well as launching a company blog. Move onto my current career, and I have seen my writing passion come to life in my blog articles, as-well as the marketing copy I write for my business, not to mention the training materials I created for my Find a New Career in 30 Days Program.
So there you can see how multiple passions can come through in different roles and it’s not always as straightforward as that either. I’ve had students who have had a passion in ‘building relationships’ move from a corporate sales role into a coaching role; both of which require an ability to build solid relationships with people. Two very different careers: One passion.
The point is, don’t let an out-dated view of having ONE singular passion block you from finding and doing work that you love, because for you, there may be multiple ways in which you express your passion, AND you may also have multiple passions (you can read more about being multi-passionate here).
MYTH #2: Following your passion means risking everything!
This one really gets me. Because it keeps SO MANY PEOPLE stuck in jobs that they hate.
There is this misperception that in order to follow your passion, you must leap off the cliff, quit your job and start completely from scratch.
Now this is a very scary thought, no?
Hence why it’s so dangerous.
The reality is, you have to do nothing of the sort.
Most career changes happen in a very gradual way.
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing.
That means, you can often commence your change career while still staying in your current employment!
AHA moment or what?
I’m not sure if Hollywood is to blame for this or not, but it really doesn’t have to be this big dramatic thing where you walk out of your job and put everything on the line to follow your passion.
Oh no. It can be very, very, slowly, slowly, catchy monkey, if you know what I mean.
And alot of the students I work with, end up slowly transitioning from one career into the next, because this gives them the time they need to explore if this really is the right option for them. Plus it allows them to maintain their financial security and obligations.
So next time you tell yourself that it’s too scary to change careers, know that it’s only as scary as you make it. And you CAN do it in a very safe way.
MYTH #3: You can’t make money off your passion
This is one is just a lie.
And yet I hear it ALL.THE.TIME.
The thing that astounds me about this myth, is that there is so much evidence that proves it to be completely false.
I mean, how many people are there out there who are making money off their passion? Tonnes? Thousands at least!
And the truth is, if other people can do it, then so can you.
It’s just a case of finding your zone of genius and bringing it to life in your next career; because this is where the magic happens.
And if you look at the most successful businesses, most of them started out as hobby-businesses. These were passions that people explored on the side, because they enjoyed them so much and they ended up making money as a by-product.
Money does tend to follow passion.
I’m not saying you can absolutely make money off anything (like sitting on your couch watching Oprah will make you money), because that would be inept of me. But what I am saying is that, if you have something that you’re really passionate about, that you are genuinely talented at, then there’s a strong chance you can monetize it in some way.
So there you have it, three common myths dispelled about following your passion!
I’d love to hear which one resonated the most with you and why? Tell me in the comments below?
Know someone who wants to follow their passion, but is stuck on one of these myths? Enlighten them with this article!
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Hi Zoe, very nice article. I work as a high school professor of two languages and a court interpretor but I also like to write and a few months ago I began to write my first book. I have decided to do this because I felt stuck in a job and I feel that I can do so much more.
Great post thank you so much. Rarely do I read any blog post till the end! I like your realistic view on this. I think the myths you mention cause for many people to be dissatisfied mainly because they have the wrong expectations of change or how change happens!
Additionally thanks for giving the examples of how you exercised your passions. It helps to look at your passion more as an undercurrent rather than the ‘things you see’. Thanks!
Thank you for this…everything you said has resonated with me…
I love your enthusiasm on your writting, too. When I think I have been following this concept for the last 20 years (yes, long time ago) and still poor and lost, all this stuff gets on my nerves!! But also know there is a los of truth on it.
I am so pleased to read this. I am at this very curious stage of my life where i know that it is time to work for me!
I still enjoy my current employed role and i am actively seeking ways of allowing the new me to emerge from the employed me!
I am so going to so this.
I have been extremely enlightened. Thank you so much. Will take 1 step at a time until I get there.
Thought provoking article. I liked how you made it clear that these are your views on passion, based on your experience and not in relation to some objective set of truths.