A passionate life is within reach for anyone, but you may need to rethink what that means.
I see far too many men afraid to move forward in the pursuit of their dreams. There are a host of reasons for this, but the one that’s most bothersome to me is that they seem to mistakenly think setting out in the direction of their dreams requires an “all in” approach — and frankly, going all in can be a scary thing. And men, of course, are taught that the only thing they’re allowed to fear is fear itself.
Let me be very clear….
There are very few times in life when there’s only one way to attain a desired outcome. And leading a passionate life is no exception. Before we go on, let’s adopt the mantra that there are almost always several ways in that we can achieve our desired outcome. Really grasp that. Remember the old adage—there’s more than one way to bake a cake. That’s what I mean. Got It?
Good. Now let’s continue…
“Do work that you’re passionate about and you’ll never work a day in your life.” Perhaps you’ve heard that or something similar before? While I believe there’s certainly truth in that, here is something else I believe is true: Why not let your job provide the means that allow you to pursue your passion? Doing so can be just as rewarding as the first option.
Consider the following ideas. It may not fall in line with conventional wisdom, but often, unleashing one’s best requires getting creative and adopting a “make things happen” attitude. One must also be willing to dig down deep and put real action towards a given pursuit.
Friend, if you keep the ideas that follow in mind, you are sure to find yourself leading a life filled with passionate pursuits.
1) Your job doesn’t have to be something you’re passionate about. I can hear you gasp in surprise as you read that but bear with me. What I’m suggesting is to choose, instead, to see your profession as a means by which you attain the freedom to fully explore and participate in activities you are passionate about. It is my firm belief that we have to let go of the broken idea that unless we are deriving our primary income from the areas where we are most passionate, be it a business we start or job or career path, then we are somehow not successful or living up to our potential.
While it is awesome if we can work in a profession we love, and I’ve been blessed in my own life to have been able to do so, I’m a firm believer that we have got to stop emphasizing that as the “end all” approach to being truly successful or fulfilled. There are countless examples of people who have used many different paths to attain their own definition of success. They’ve bucked what conventional wisdom says about having to “find your passion and work directly in that passion.” More men have got to begin adopting this same outlook.
My point is that just because that may not be your current reality don’t think you can’t feel equally accomplished by simply looking at things in a different way. Change your frame of reference and you can change everything in a positive way. Again, if you are passionate about travel but you aren’t at a point in your life where you can make your living traveling or something along those lines, you could opt instead to see your job, even if you may feel less enthusiastic about it, as something which makes it possible for you to travel. And thus do something that gives you great joy. See, it is a simple shift in thinking, but the end result allows you to experience the rewards.
2) Be willing to have a “side hustle” or side business. Somehow we have gotten to a place where we don’t encourage people to pursue their dreams and ideas, particularly with regards to business ideas as much as I think we should. First off, when someone overcomes their fear of the unknown and launches a business, it brings with it the opportunity for countless others to benefit as well. Through job creation, better prices or quality of service, you name it, the benefits are far reaching. So the point is, we would all do well to foster and encourage others to follow their dreams and strive to be the best version of themselves. Remember, someone else’s success doesn’t mean there’s less chance of you achieving success. It can actually mean you increase your own chances because there’s just more abundance and resources to flow to you.
When you are an encourager of others you will find that people will tend to act in kind towards you. You will attract more of what you are putting out into the world. Positive people are attracted to other positive people, just as negative people tend to end up commiserating together.
With all that said, I’ll readily admit that the “all in” brand of entrepreneurship which some espouse is downright scary for some people, depending on how risk averse they are. I wish that when the topic of entrepreneurship came up, more people would accept that it is perfectly fine to have an existing job or source of income that they can use to help fund their dream business or “big idea.”
Many a start-up business grew beyond the stretch of the founder’s imagination in just this way. Here is an example of a very well known business that comes to mind: most people are familiar with the great success of Apple Computer. Yet, what most people may not realize is that Steve Wozniak, who co-founded Apple with Steve Jobs, maintained his job at Hewlett-Packard for a pretty good while before finally deciding to quit and go full time in the business he started. In fact, he had to be convinced by others to do so. There are countless examples of people who turned their part time business ideas into full time gigs. Don’t let the fact that you aren’t comfortable going all in on your big idea keep you from getting started. You never know what you are capable of unless you try and the only way you KNOW you will fail is if you don’t try.
3) Give your absolute best to the task at hand. Here is something to consider — what if you worked each day giving your absolute best to the job at hand, not necessarily because it was your dream job, but because it gave you the freedom to pursue the things you do truly love, the really important things that you place a high value on: perhaps things such as quality time with your loved ones, family and friends; that hobby that you wish you could find a way to dedicate 100% of your time too, but because that isn’t doable now, you’re grateful that you’re able to work on it whenever possible. Maybe it is the freedom to occasionally travel. You name it. Whatever it is that you enjoy, be grateful that your current job allows you the freedom to partake in it.
Practice gratitude in this way and you will begin to create a mindset which seeks to figure out a way rather than having one which leaves you focused on all the reasons things never seem to work out for you. Fair or not, we tend to attract the things we give thought to. They end up shaping our belief systems, which in turn ends up becoming our reality. There is a good reason why we’re told from a young age to pay attention to our peer group and to guard against feeding our minds with any old thing. I’m no saint, but I can tell you if you spend most of your time around people who complain about their lot in life, and rail on and on about how everyone else gets all the breaks, before you know it you are going to look up and find yourself doing the same thing.
I’m not saying there aren’t times in life where we experience great challenges. What I am suggesting is to try and use such times as an opportunity for growth. If you can hold onto this belief and accept it as truth, you are going to start seeing examples where it plays out in your own life.
4) Challenges and adversity bring with it the opportunity to emerge far greater than you were before. Finally, let’s look at the example of gold. While it is highly sought after, both for its beauty and the monetary value we place on it, it is worth noting that it doesn’t start out looking like the finished product. In its raw form it has many unwanted elements in it. It undergoes the refining process whereby these undesirable elements are removed and you end up with the more sought after pure gold. We can liken this process to the opportunity our own life’s challenges present us. That each challenge brings with it the opportunity to end up better, more refined, more skilled, more prepared for our future.