There are many self-help programs suggesting that you need to follow your passion in order to achieve your dreams. It’s great advice for some, but if you are relying on it to earn a living, then using your passion as a foundation for your career may not be the answer.
Here are questions to ask yourself before you decide that following your passion is the best business strategy.
1. Can you make money by following your passion?
You may love baking cookies, or playing tennis, or writing poetry. But is there a market for you to build a business around this passion? Are there people who will buy what you are selling? There are many self-help gurus telling people that the way to find purpose in life and find true work/life balance is to build a career around your passion.
You have probably heard the quotation by Confucius, “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” There may already be businesses aligned with your passion that you can join, but being an entrepreneur takes true dedication and hard work. Be sure this is for you.
2. Will building a career around your passion destroy your love for it?
You may love to bake, but if your livelihood depends on it, the economic stress and the continuous time commitment could change your love of this passion. Make certain that you are willing to turn your passion into a vocation, with all of the business requirements that go along with it, rather than an avocation that allows for flexibility in commitment. It may be wiser to keep your passion as a hobby.
3. If you follow your passion, will you be using your best talents and abilities to achieve success?
It might be wise to assess your skills, talents and abilities to determine where your business strengths lie and then compare these strengths with what it would take to build a career around your passion. Consider that you may find as much fulfillment achieving success using these talents.
4. If you don’t follow your passion, can you still find fulfillment at work?
The answer to this question depends on how you view the contribution you are making along your career journey. If you focus on your sense of accomplishment at work and the impact you are having with your customers or clients, then the answer can be “Yes.”
You also will feel invigorated if you work with a business in which your personal core values and theirs are aligned. You will feel motivated working with inspiring people. These elements allow you to feel more passionate about the work you are doing, even if you are not necessarily following that passion you thought you needed to follow.
The best advice we can offer when people ponder whether to follow their passion is first and foremost, seek your fulfillment using your skills and talents rather than your interests and passions. Challenge yourself to continue learning and enhancing your skill set. This allows you to develop a sustainable career in which your definition of success expands beyond power and money and includes your sense of purpose and self-worth.
Smart people understand their purpose and do what they are meant to do. ~Beth Caldwell, Pittsburgh Professional Women