How to Live Your Passion Without Giving Up Your Day Job
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I spent many years (most of my adult life) without knowing or living my life passion. But over the last few years, I've found it and I'm living it.
I can say without a doubt that finding and living your life passion makes a huge positive difference in your quality of life. I'm sure if you survey other people who live with passion, you will hear the same thing.
- I wake up excited about what the day will bring.
- I love the work I'm doing.
- I have a sense of purpose.
- I feel engaged with interesting, like-minded people.
- The day flies by as I lose track of time — I'm in the “flow.”
- I don't sweat the small stuff because I'm so wrapped up in my passion.
- I am happier and more energetic in general.
Prior to finding my passion, my life wasn't bad. In fact, by all standards, it was quite good. In addition to having a wonderful family and children, I had built a nice career as a public relations consultant.
But something was wrong.
You've probably had this feeling yourself at some time. You know something is missing. You can't put your finger on it, but there's an emptiness or a sense of life not being complete or as good as it should be.
I felt guilty about this because it seemed as though I wasn't grateful for all of the good things in my life. It finally took doing some self-exploration, research, and trial and error to learn that I was not living my passion, my inner calling. And the subconscious desire to live that calling was causing my internal disequilibrium.
Once I found it (coaching, writing, helping others improve their lives), it felt like my life had finally shifted into the perfect groove.
In my specific situation, I've been able to live my passion through my work. I dropped my public relations business like a hot potato, went back to school to train as a personal and career coach, and started a blog business. I now work full-time as a coach and blogger.
I was in the fortunate position of being able to stop working, go back to school, and start a new business from scratch. I wasn't the primary financial supporter of our family, and my kids were old enough that I had the time to do this.
When You Can't Quit
However, I recognize that many people can't quit their jobs to start over with their passion. Or there may be other life constraints that prevent them from pursuing a career in their life passion.
I also recognize that the feeling of being trapped in a bad, mediocre, or uninspiring job can shroud you in hopelessness. It can certainly undermine any desire to find your life passion.
Why find it when you can't do anything about it?
After considering the difficulties and potential repercussions of starting over in a career that you love, most people resign themselves to the status quo. There's just too much at stake or too many roadblocks.
Before you give up on finding and living your life passion, I'd like to present you with two avenues of hope.
First, many of the perceived impediments to starting over or creating a career in your life passion are just that — perceived. Often we fear things that never come to pass if we begin taking the steps.
- Perhaps you can live with less money.
- Perhaps your spouse will be supportive.
- Perhaps your boss will allow you some flexibility.
- Perhaps you do have the time to take some courses or training.
- Perhaps there is a way to make a living from your passion.
- Perhaps you and your family will thrive rather than struggle through the process.
I am a firm believer that you should be passionate about your work. It takes up the vast majority of your time, so why spend so much time doing something that doesn't fulfill you?
Personally, I would sacrifice many, many things in order to do work I love.
But this article isn't about how to transition from your current career to a career you love.
This article is about living your passion without giving up your day job. And here's the second avenue of hope.
There are points in our lives where it is impossible or simply not practical to start over, give up your security, or take time off to learn a new skill or go back to school.
Maybe you have commitments you need to honor — to send your kids to college, or take care of an elderly parent, or pay off your mortgage.
Only you can decide when and why to sacrifice passion in your career for the practicalities in life. But (and here's the good news), that doesn't mean you have to sacrifice passion altogether.
The Power of Passion
Please pay attention to this next statement.
If you can't live your passion through your work, then you absolutely must find a way to pursue your passion on the side.
The restorative and emotionally fulfilling benefits of living your passion in some form will compensate for a less-than-satisfying job. In fact, sometimes it can lead to a career in a way you never expected.
Khaled Hosseini, the author of the bestselling and internationally-acclaimed novels, The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, began his career practicing internal medicine. However, his passion was to be a writer and to tell the story of life in Afghanistan prior to the Soviet invasion.
He began writing while he was working diligently at another very demanding profession. But his intense passion for writing resulted in a novel that sold 4 million copies and generated a feature film. The success of his first novel has allowed him to write full-time, although that was not his intent when he began writing.
But even if your passion doesn't lead you to a new career, it can lead you to a more fulfilling and interesting life. It can bring a balance and richness to life that transcends the monotony of the “daily grind.”
So how can you live with passion? Here are a few things to try:
If you aren't sure what your passion is, use some of your downtime to do the self-exploration to find it. Just doing this work is exciting on its own. As a result of my own search and over 20 years of helping others with their passions through my PR and coaching work, I created a self-study course called Path To Passion to help people go through this important process. You can't live your passion until you know what it is.
Finding and living your passion isn't a linear process. Sometimes you have to test and try various things before you find what really makes your heart sing. Before I started coaching and blogging, I opened a small antique business, and I volunteered in non-profit organizations for the arts.
It's OK to try different things and reject them if they aren't the best fit. In fact, it's good to do that. Sometimes it takes experience in something to learn how profoundly it inspires you.
Find a group of like-minded people who enjoy the same passion that you do. Having a community to support and share your interests adds another wonderful dimension to your passion. You can go online and find support groups and organizations for just about any hobby, interest, or pursuit.
Explore the possibility of integrating your passion into your current job or career. Maybe you can't be a full-time writer, but perhaps you can do more creative writing on the job. Maybe you can't go back and become a teacher, but perhaps you can train others in your place of employment.
With a little creativity (and maybe some negotiation with your employer), you can find a way to make your job match up with your passion. Here's a great article on how to find passion in the job you are in right now.
Don't allow feelings of boredom, inertia, hopeless, or despair prevent you from taking action. OK, so maybe you can't start your own business today, but you can go out and explore your passions in other parts of your life through various networks, clubs, and organizations with people who share a common interest.
Take some kind of action toward finding your passion and integrating it into your life. You will create momentum by taking that first step, and then you'll become intrigued and determined to live your life with some degree of passion.
While you're at it, try to live your passion in a way that infuses your life with a sense of purpose rather than just entertainment or recreation. When you have a sense that your passion has meaning and impacts others in a positive way, it will energize and fulfill you more than you could ever expect.
Your main purpose in life is to live authentically — to fully become the person you were meant to be. When you know and understand that, it can provide the foundation for your actions and choices around your passion activities.
If you aren't in a position to start over with your career or transition to something more fulfilling, then don't resign yourself to a life of “quiet desperation.” Your life passion is inside of you, begging to be released. It doesn't care where or how you release it — it just longs for freedom and expression.
Open your heart and mind to all of the brilliant possibilities for living a life infused with passion — whether through your work, an avocation, or simply a lifestyle change. Even incorporating a small amount of your passion into your day will increase your overall happiness and quality of life.