August 13, 2017 — I had a different topic in mind for today’s post but after meeting a friend over coffee, I changed my mind and decided to go with this topic instead: FOLLOWING YOUR PASSION.
I have read somewhere, sometime ago, an article with the title “Why following your passion is a bad advice”. After reading the title alone, I was a bit surprised. Why? Because I, myself, am an advocate of following your passion and creating the life that you want. But after I read the entire article, I have to agree with the author.
What does it really take to follow your passion? How and where do you even begin?
Most of us are clueless with the current state of our lives. Some doesn’t even bother asking themselves if this is really the life they want to live because they are busy surviving.
For those who are tired of the status quo, questioning their mere existence, and looking for more, what now? Do they just risk everything and take that leap of faith?
For the love of [whoever it is you believe in], please think before you jump. It is true that Universe favors the bold and the courageous but it is also true that reality will catch up and bite you in the ass.
So again, think before you jump. And I am saying this based on experience.
Back in 2015, I took that leap of faith. Quit my job, sold everything I have and traveled halfway across the world. I didn’t have tens of thousands of dollars to sustain long-term travels but I did have a sustainable plan (or so I thought) – volunteering, teaching English and doing online jobs, etc. It was a good enough plan but only to help me survive and not really sustain.
Why? Because I couldn’t really save any money as the money I was earning was only good to cover my basic needs. And worse, I left certain responsibilities (i.e. debts) back home that finally caught up with me. I didn’t want to go home broke and unemployed and that’s exactly what happened. Reality bit me in the ass big time and I’ve got no one to blame but myself.
I should have been smarter and calculated the risks before taking that jump. But I wasn’t because I was too consumed with the idea of “following your passion”. I couldn’t wait to leave because I might end up not doing it the longer I put it off.
Don’t get me wrong, taking that jump was still one of the best decisions I have made in my life. Even if I had the chance to go back and change it, I know I wouldn’t. So many wonderful memories I wouldn’t trade for anything in this world!
Anyway, here I am now, facing the consequences of my life choices. Hitting rock bottom and starting my life from scratch at 34! You’d think these things happen when you’re in your mid-20s, but apparently not. Age is just a number. You can be 50 and still don’t know what you want in life. So, let’s just stop with the judgments please.
Would I still advise you to follow your passion? YES. But before you take that jump, evaluate first where your life is at right now. Here are a few tips to consider before taking that leap:
1) Cover your bases
Following your passion will give you long-term gains and that means making certain sacrifices. If you cannot wait to quit your soul-sucking job, think first if you have enough resources to help you survive for at least the first 6 months. If you don’t have enough, research on ways to earn money on the side while you concentrate on fulfilling your dreams.
If there is pressure of wanting to earn immediately from pursuing your passion, you might end up easily demotivated. You might lose focus, or worse, just give up entirely. Before you put yourself in a high stress situation, make sure that you have your basic needs covered. Besides, you are old enough to be responsible for your own self so that’s really a no-brainer.
2) Goal setting
What’s the sense of pursuing your passion if you don’t have a target? Simply put, what do you want to achieve? Fame, fortune, a legacy? Whatever it is, make sure it’s crystal clear in your mind. Write it down even and post it somewhere highly visible to serve as a reminder. You need goals to keep you on the right path especially on days when you start losing focus. One thing to keep in mind, make sure you set a SMART goal.
3) Review your progress on a monthly, quarterly and yearly basis
As soon as you start the path of pursuing your passion, days will just pass like the Flash. It would take so much of your time that you wouldn’t notice a month has already gone by, which is why having monthly goals is also important because that will serve as a metric to your progress.
Just look at it this way, if you cannot achieve your monthly goals, then the chances of you not meeting your long-term goals are highly likely. It is best to re-evaluate on a regular basis and make the necessary adjustments. Don’t feel bad if you are falling behind your timeline or not getting the results that you want. Just be patient because great things take time.
4) Accepting defeat
Hitting success will not always be on our first try that’s why we are given several chances to try and try again. So when you come to a point when you see yourself in a crossroad — to quit or to continue — it’s time to be practical and logical. Re-evaluate everything you have done and ask yourself if you have already exhausted all efforts and resources available.
They say quitters never win but if you continue, you could also be putting yourself in deep shit along the way. I’m not telling you to quit. What I am saying is, perhaps you could park it for a while so you can gather more resources – financial and knowledge wise – that could help you be more successful on your next try. And by taking a step back, you might even develop a new perspective.
If it doesn’t work out the first time, don’t lost hope. Maybe there are things that you still need to learn and experiences to gain. Be proud of yourself because you took the risk and gave it a shot.
5) Keep that passion burning
You will take detours along the way but I’m begging you to never lose sight of that crazy, big dream that you have. Not a lot of people will understand where you’re coming from but that’s the thing about pursuing your passion — doing everything you can for a dream that only you can see.