"Pursue your passion" is the belief this website was built upon.
Yup, I truly believe that your life's profession should be derived from your deepest passions.
But what is passion?
Passion is derived from the Latin word passio which means "suffering," but it's become highly romanticized today to mean "a strong desire for or devotion to something."
We now typically use it to describe only things that we experience positively.
It has lost its true meaning.
I once also completely misunderstood passion. I thought it was just something that excites us, but it carries a much deeper meaning.
Dale Partridge, in his book Launch Your Dream, defined it best:
"Passions are those things that we love so much we are willing to suffer for them. It's an experience to be coupled with pain, preparation, readiness, submission, and loyalty."
Wow, such a powerful definition. Take a moment. Let it sink in.
However, passion is not simply suffering for suffering's sake. It's suffering for the sake of something we love... for the sake of a vision.
If passion is just what makes you feel good, you'll stop when things get rough, or when you fail.
The idea of helping others find and pursue their own passions through online freelancing excites me to my core. It's one of the biggest reasons I look forward to the day, and I take every opportunity I can to spread my message.
Is it really that important to find and pursue your passion?
Well, if you don't want to spend 80,000 hours -- on average, people spend 80,000 hours of their lives working -- doing something that makes you miserable, then finding your passion is critical.
And do you know why so many people end up in the wrong job?
It's because they let others (e.g., parents, friends, and career counselors) dictate what they should do with their lives.
Heck, I was given no choice but to study nursing. And although I'm thankful for having gone through nursing school, where I met amazing people and learned skills that have prepared me for life, I could have spent those 4 years of college doing something I actually liked at that time, which were music and arts.
Isn't it a huge waste if you've already spent 4 years studying nursing, reviewing for and passing the licensure exam, and then not practicing it?
Ha! I hear this a LOT. And this is a dysfunctional belief many people have.
"If you've studied this, then you should be working that."
FYI -- 83% of college grads don't actually end up in a career related to their majors. Yup, people usually find out they picked the wrong course after they've already started working.
But this shouldn't be to your dismay. Finding out that something doesn't actually work for you is great. By knowing the things you don't like, you're able to get closer to finding the things you like -- the things you're passionate to do.
"But you'll have to start over again?!"
If starting over again means getting you closer to your passions -- doing meaningful work that positively impacts others -- then start over.
I made a huge leap myself when I decided to go against the current and quit nursing. It was the most terrifying but also the most liberating thing I've ever done.
You see, I actually reached a point in my nursing career when I'd wake up dreading that I had to go to work. No one deserves that! We were not put on this earth to work 8 to 12 hours a day at a job we hate until the time comes to die.
I was quite a good student and an even better nurse. But that was because I forced myself to excel. I was putting my best efforts into something I didn't actually like.
Oh, and don't get me wrong; I don't mean to shed bad light on the nursing profession. It is an amazing vocation, and I'm so incredibly proud of my colleagues who do it because they truly love doing it.
To help you find your passion, you need to understand the concept of prototyping.
Prototyping simply means trying things until you find what works for you. It's about embracing change and not being attached to a particular outcome. It is about focusing on what will happen next, and not on what the final result will be.
"There is no right answer or cure-all when it comes to finding meaningful work. The people who find it are the ones who spend time looking for it. The only person who knows what is right for you is YOU."
— Adam Smiley Poswolsky, The Quarter-Life Breakthrough
This is why I love freelancing. It helps me test things without having to fully commit to a specific career path.
It's not that I will never commit to anything, but rather that I have the option to commit to something I care about.
I've been a health writer, researcher, transcriptionist, game tester, virtual assistant, customer support agent, and then some. I tried something and if I didn't like it would try something else.
Through prototyping, I've come to discover that I'm particularly interested in digital marketing, blogging, designing, and entrepreneurship; hence, this blog.
This just goes to show that finding your passion is not linear. It's not about climbing a "career ladder" progressively, but rather moving from one room to another, experimenting and taking risks as you go.
What if I'm passionate about eating food or DOTA 2?
Here's what Chris Guillebeau, in his book The $100 Startup, has to to say about that:
"You can't pursue just any passion. There are plenty of things you can be passionate about that no one will pay you for. Focus continually on how your project can help other people, and why they care about what you're offering in the first place. You usually don't get paid for your hobby itself; you get paid for helping other people pursue the hobby or for something indirectly related to it."
"You may just not want to combine your hobby with your work. If the hobby or passion serves as an important stress reliever from your daily job or other commitments, are you sure you want to assume full-time responsibility for your hobby? Some people find that it's better to keep their passion separate from their work."
"There are 300 million ways to do it. Find the way that works for you!"
— Gary Vaynerchuck
Okay, so how can you profit from your passion?
Simple. You must develop a passion-related skill that provides a solution to a problem. Remember that you won't be able to monetize just any passion. You'll need to do some trial and error.
(Passion + Skill) + (Problem + Marketplace) = Opportunity / Profit / Success
This is what Chris Guillebeau referred to as convergence.
"Convergence represents the intersection between something you especially like to do or are good at doing (preferably both) and what other people are also interested in."
Also, it's important to realize that you're probably good at more than one thing.
Think about all the skills you have that can help others, and then find those people who need your help.
"Uh, I really feel like I don't have skills that I can monetize. Or I'm passionate about something but I'm starting from scratch and have little-to-no knowledge or training."
My friend, we're living in such an amazing time! All the information you need to succeed is right around the corner.
Just go to a bookstore and you should find 5-10 books authored by niche experts to help you get started on whatever you want to try.
Or go to Google. Type in what you want to learn and you're pretty much set!
So, should you quit your day job?
Okay, I don't want to rant, but please let me.
I ABSOLUTELY hate it when people wave the "quit your 9-to-5 and become a freelancer / entrepreneur" banner. I really do.
If you love your 9-to-5, keep it! And if you don't, then yes, maybe it's time to move on to something else.
My point is people need to stop vilifying regular jobs. Businesses need employees. The world needs employees.
I would never tell people to quit their office job and become a freelancer. Instead, I'd educate them on what freelancing is about and then let them decide for themselves. As I always tell others, online freelancing is for a lot of people, but it's not for everyone.
With today's technological advances, many of us have the opportunity to pursue what is meaningful to us.
Sometimes we'll need to stick to a job we don't necessarily love as a means to an end, and sometimes we need to take a leap -- it's really up to you!
You know deep down what you should do with your life. Just keep in mind that there is no "one" path to self-actualization, so...
Try things, take chances, and embrace failures until you find your true passion. And don't forget to enjoy the process!