A lot has been written on the subject of finding our passions

4 Steps in finding your passionate careerI’ve read many articles on the subject and watched many videos. I’ve seen the 4 Step Process, 5 Steps6 Steps and more. I’m going to delve into a couple of the better techniques in my next article. But the most consistent and credible point that I’ve seen is: you’re not going to find what really makes you tick until you un-brainwash yourself from our family and friends’ expectations that we’ve adopted.

There’s a lot of truth to this. Many of us had parents tell us to find something safe and stable. We plot our lives accordingly then develop friendships that support our narrative. This is a learned limited belief system. If you feel stuck in a career that you don’t enjoy, it’s because of this belief system.

My long time girlfriend, Lisa went into finance for the stability and pay rate, but she spent the past nine months orchestrating a career change out of finance and into something that she’s more passionate about. It was a very difficult time on many levels.

Four weeks ago she received a very lucrative offer in a prominent financial position. She’d been in between things for a long time and really needed to get her career back on track.

She turned it down.

Lisa was also pursuing another lead in a completely new field for her – a stepping stone toward her true career passion (wellness).  The lead was lukewarm at best. But, Lisa took a chance on herself and her faith and two weeks ago, was officially offered this new position. She starts next week.

This illustrates two common themes that you’ll find explored by writers on the subject of passion:

  1. You must be willing to work hard at finding and obtaining it.
  2. You must be able to take chances

 

Working hard at finding your passion can come in many forms

Most of us don’t quite have the means to quit our current jobs to take a six month sabbatical in Europe to find ourselves and passion. This would be ideal, for sure. But, most of us need to find ourselves and our passion while maintaining our current careers. This means that we must be diligent and disciplined to work at finding and creating our niche in precious spare time.

We are creatures of habit by nature. Our current careers take a lot out of us and we rely on our friends and family to recharge our batteries. This becomes our endless loop.

In order to find the change you’re looking for, you must change the way you’re doing things

If you don’t know what your passion is, than you need to get out of your box and try some new things and get around some new people. This requires sacrificing some of your “recharging” environment. While our families and friends are instrumental in keeping us grounded. They’re also instrumental in keeping us within our current limited belief system.

New networking experiences get us in front of new minds.

Try to find one new activity per week to expand your horizons. MeetUp is a perfect social media/networking app that can help in that regard as it offers limitless social activities in all locations.

Check out what’s happening with your local Chamber of Commerce… or better yet, a Chamber in a neighboring city that you’re curious about. You’ll meet interesting professionals – send them a follow up email the next morning and connect with them on LinkedIn. You may not realize it at the time, but many of these people will come into the top of your sales funnel when you launch your passion project. And…sooner rather than later, you’ll meet someone that changes your life.

Try different part time jobs or volunteer work in organizations that you’re curious about.

If you’re a fellow animal-lover like Gregg M. (who prompted this article) and myself, then you’ve probably wondered if there’s a way to make a little money helping rescue animals in some way. There’s no better way to start learning the ins and outs of this than putting yourself in the trenches. Rest assured, no animal shelter is going to shoo you away if you volunteer to help with the cause. You’ll get valuable intel while actually accomplishing some good. You’ll meet people that change and inspire you, and THAT is the road to finding your passion.

Myself, I’ve been doing occasional pro-bono work for animal rescues for years. The best of the best is Marilyn’s Voice in Mentor, Ohio. I reached out to their Executive Director, Kristina Biondolillo on Gregg’s behalf. I asked, “Is there a way to make a meager amount of money doing some kind of rescue work with dogs?”

 Kristina Biondolillo

For those individuals that love animals are are looking to make a career out of it, there are several possibilities. Dog walking, dog sitting, grooming and training are all wonderful ways to spend time with companion animals while making money.

Many people feel that rescuing animals would be a fulfilling career and I can speak from experience that  it most certainly is. There are always animals in need whether it be dogs, cats, horses, farm animals, etc.

Although I am not a paid director, individuals interested in becoming involved in rescue work can start their own non profit and get paid. One can draw a salary if a proper board is on place as well as substantial funding. In other words, one must be a successful fundraiser in order to have the capital to cover overhead and pay a salary. Shelter directors can make upwards of $100,000 with a 4 year degree and several years experience in the non profit world AND rescue.

When faced with the reality of the daily grind, you may find that you don’t feel as passionate in the area explored as you thought, or the compensation may not meet your needs. But, that’s another step in the right direction of finding your true passion. And this is what is meant by you must be willing to work hard to find your passion.

You must be willing to take chances

As humans go, we like to find our comfort zone and not venture too far outside of it. Part of this is our natural survival instinct, but most of it is our learned limited belief system. When we come up with our new, exciting ideas, most of us have a voice in our head that says either, “But, that’s already been done” or, “But, that’s never been done”. Our brains scramble for ways to shoot down our dreams.

Charles H Duell: America's biggest buzzkillPossibly America’s biggest buzzkill of all-time is Charles H. Duell, Commissioner of the US patent office in 1899. Mr. Deull is famously quoted as saying “Everything that can be invented has been invented.”

Clearly Mr. Duell didn’t get to enjoy the squeezable ketchup bottle that would come along 80 years later.

My friend Gregg also told me of an idea for an app that he has (doesn’t everyone have one?). His concern is that he’s not a “tech guy”. LEAVE THE TECH TO THE TECH GUYS!  Every great idea came from an insightful, creative person who saw something in a different light – not as 1s and 0s.

As I mentioned in last week’s article, Steve Jobs was a visionary that bridged the gap between the designer and the engineer producing the first computer system that the Average Josephine could use. Take a cue from that.

If you think you may have a viable app or business idea, the first step is to Google up on it and see what kind of competition is out there. If you can verify that you have an angle that differentiates you, by all means go to Step 2 – create a business plan. Templates can be found online, and this is when you start to nail down how much risk (time/money) will be required to try to get your vision off the ground.

Finding your passion requires trial and error

Don’t be afraid to fail. Success usually takes multiple steps (failures). The man or woman that finds their passion, act on it and succeed, usually have many stories of small (and big) failures along the way. We need to wear a few failures like badges of honor. It teaches us, shapes us and hardens us.

Nothing ventured, nothing gained

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