“Don’t ask what the world needs; ask what makes you come alive and go do that. Because what the world needs are people who have come alive.” —Howard Thurman38
Passion is a funny thing. It keeps you up at night and sparks something deep inside you. It inspires you to try and change the world, or at least make your little corner a bit better.
Your frustrations often reveal your passions. So many people say it would be great if they could just quit their day job and pursue their passion full time, to start a business or write a book or launch a blog. But that’s all it is, talk. To those people, I say: Stop talking about it and do something. Turn your passion into your profession.
Without getting too much into the psychology of the self-defeating fixed mindset, there is only one way to break this type of thinking: Shut up and act.
Do something. Read the top 10 books about the subject. Personally interview a minimum of five people who are already in that industry. Buy the domain name. Write the blog. Put your money (time and energy) where your mouth is. You do not have to quit your day job. In fact you should not quit until your side project generates enough income for you to do so.
The bottom line is that you must act if you want to change. You have to choose to do something different. You have to move. Action frees you from the broken cycle of daydreaming about what you want to do.6
2. Count the cost.
Here are a few great questions that can help you get some clarity:
Does the world need this? In other words, What is the problem I am trying to solve? This is your why Simon Sinek so famously articulated matters most. Clearly defining the purpose behind what you’re creating is critical for you to go all in, and for others to buy in to what you are doing.
Am I any good at this? Chances are you would not be considering this new venture if you were getting to use your gifts, strengths and talents in your current job or life situation. We are all wired to create. Every single human being on the planet has genius in them. The question you have to ask yourself is, Am I naturally gifted in this area?
Can I afford it? This is not primarily a money question (although cash is extremely important). You also have to take into consideration the investment of your time, energy, space and other resources you will need along the way. Take a hard look at your current commitments and be realistic about how much time you actually have to invest in your passion project.
Does my family support it? Regardless of how you define family, you need a handful of people who are there for you and believe in you. Mentors and friends who are honest with you and who can call out the best in you as you pursue turning your dream into reality. These are the voices who will help you get up when you fall, encourage you when you lose heart and be there to celebrate your success.
Am I likely to quit? Failure is guaranteed in the early stages of any new venture. No matter how well-funded, prepared and educated you might be, at the end of the day you have to have a burning desire to persevere. You have to have resilience and grit and a take-no-prisoners level of passion to see this thing through.
3. Find your tribe.
This is also known as identifying your target market. Who specifically will benefit from your passion project? What do they look like? Where do they live? What are the biggest challenges they are facing? How can your little idea help make their lives better?
These are your potential customers and you need to have a clear picture of their greatest needs, hurts and interests. Chances are they are passionate about the same things you are. A great thing to do at this point in pursuing your passion is to interview your tribe (use social media polls, etc.) to get a clear understanding of who your tribe is and what they want.
4. Create a checklist with specific deadlines.
You have to measure your progress and clarify your goals. You need to create a routine and dedicate time to invest in making your idea a reality. You will need accountability, clarity and encouragement along the way. Asking for help in this is not a sign of weakness; it is a sign of strength and wisdom.
5. Be prepared to embrace failure along the way.
Fail early and fail often. Failure is the steppingstone to learning, growth, refinement of your thinking and eventually (with a bit of luck) success. Dedicate yourself to excellence in effort and in how you lead yourself. Do not be afraid to be yourself, ask for help or head in a different direction based on what doesn’t work. Failure is feedback. Take it on board, pick yourself up and try again based on what you have learned.6
Self-belief is the No. 1 determining factor for tapping into your full potential in this life. Confidence literally means to trust within. At the end of the day, if you are going to do something unique and remarkable in this life you have to be yourself. And in order to be yourself, you have to trust yourself. There is only one you—your voice is needed. Your passion can and should be your profession. It is why you are here.
Steve Knox is the founder and lead consultant of Orbiting Normal, a boutique leadership agency. His next book, The Asymmetrical Leader, releases this fall on Amazon and in local book stores.