[Christine at Almostfearless.com, a fantastic blog, invited me to guest post about living your passions. Be sure to check it out. I’m reposting it below for archival purposes]
I refuse to believe there is a single person on earth without a talent of some sort.
Everyone was born with at least one passion – that skill you’re so effortlessly good at; consciously or even subconsciously. Once you’ve realized those skills, they become your passions. For those who have discovered what they were born to do, living outside those passions feels like a burden.You’re in a constant state of evaluation – “I don’t feel happy”. “I wish I were doing this”. “If only I could do this”.
So people resort to more drastic steps by taking absolute control of the situation and jumping right in while others take a more phased approach towards fully living their passions.
Start already. Be proactive
It’s the same motivation you need to drag yourself out of bed at 6am for some gym time. You’ve got to push yourself. Say you’re passionate about photography and you transform behind a camera producing memorable shot after shot, now is as good a time as any to weave photography into your lifestyle.
Life happens. Mortgage payments. School loans. Other annoying bills. These are factors that trap people in dead-end jobs. How do you get yourself out of those and then spend time on your passions (most of which could be cost incurring as well)?
A likely scenario could be:
- Re-evaluate your budget. Do you really need cable and that additional car? Do you really need that townhouse?
- If you’re in a soul-crushing job, change it. You may need to work two jobs to pay down those bills.
- Find a more flexible job you actually like so you can live well beneath your means and start saving like crazy
- Take the full plunge when you’re ready
This is a multi year process that will inch you closer towards living your passions, your authenticity. Liken it to weight gain. You didn’t pack on those pounds overnight, and you’re certainly not going to lose them in a jiffy.
While you’re being proactive about simplifying your life,you can start exploring at least one of your passions on the side.
Declutter. Learn to say no.
You’ve got to pause, reassess your life, relationships, and projects, and then take proactive steps towards decluttering your life so you can actually start focusing on what you really need to be doing.
Those who know me well know for the longest time, I couldn’t say no. With strong web development skills in my portfolio, I volunteered time for years for small organizations that could barely pay yet snagged up a good portion of my time outside work. In a sense, I felt trapped from pursuing what I really needed to be doing which included photography, writing, and other creative passions.
But now, I’m a million times more discerning when it comes to picking out what I’d rather spend time on. I’m all for pro-bono, volunteer work, but once you start losing that free will spirit; you need to find other realms in line with your strengths to volunteer within.
If you love your job, find a way
What?! You actually love both your job and a vagabond lifestyle?! Blasphemy!
There are thousands of us who work in our field of study and love our jobs. Having two degrees in my field doesn’t suggest craziness. I actually wanted to do what I currently do – working with interactive maps and integrating enterprise systems. As a GIS consultant, I have a pretty sweet job I enjoy. It’s cool and exciting and I never know what crazy project would come in the door.
But early on, I’d realized my creativity and other passions I was born to pursue. With limited time outside work, I decided to pursue them.The win-win situation meant my creativity and authentic self spilled over into my technical world, turning into a wonderful marriage.
By decluttering, you can open up time outside of work to focus on those things you need to focus on.
So what would the perfect lifestyle be?
First things first, the perfect lifestyle does not exist. Even if you’re born into unbelievable wealth with no financial worries and a steady flow of opportunities to pursue your passions, what you lose is a sense of reality and a grasp on what it feels like to truly work hard to seize opportunities and appreciate breakthroughs.
As travel writers, we all want that ultimate gig that lets us travel the world for free with continual cultural immersion that churns out award-winning pieces, editors loving our pitches without even reading them, and those glossy publications printing our articles every month.
But in the end, is it for our own personal growth or just bragging rights? You can spend hours scouring the web on advice about giving it all up and following your dreams.
But you have to tune in to your inner voice. You and you alone will know when you’re ready to take the plunge. At the right moment, you will feel a tremendous burden off your chest no amount of money offered can replace.
For me, intuition and strong faith remain my guide. But remember, life is too short not to start living your passions – your authentic self to its fullest.
Check out www.almostfearless.com