As we journey through our young lives we are often sold the idea that things are set out for us in a particular fashion. We are apparently destined to find “the one”, find a passion and “do what you love”, buy our perfect house and have two kids and a dog, and potter away our later years from a sound retirement fund. Unfortunately it doesn’t all work out that way.
“The Perfect Life”
The problem with all of these thoughts, not only that they are fuelled by an imaginary world generating place called Hollywood, is that they are no where near close to the realities of the world we live in. Admittedly, all of those ideas are quite possible for a large amount of people in the first world countries, such as for those who are most likely to read this article, however with over 7 billion people on just the one planet I would care to throw a guess that the percentage that could achieve such a dream vision of existence is infinitesimal.
The ideas created by the “American dream” mindset reach all corners of the Earth because of the sheer power of media combined with accessibility provided by the Internet. Reaching these corners of the Earth is an idea that suggests one cannot be satisfied unless they are striving to achieve something that is imagined. Something that is a concept of thought that picks the best bits from reality to compile a perfect vision.
The “American dream” or “the perfect life” or “stability”; none of these things exist in any one persons life, and never have they, nor never should they. All of these phrases have negative connotations if you are pessimistic enough: the “American dream” is about white power and supremacy, “the perfect life” is a picture on a postcard, still in time and space with no other factors and is exactly the kind of thing advertisements are trying to sell you: a perfect lifestyle idea, and finally “stability” is also safety, unadventurous, unchallenging, and frankly doesn’t exist in our lives which will always have unplanned and utterly random factors to upset the balance.
“Do What You Love”
Our work, job, and career are another piece of the puzzle of life which formulate much of our existence. Through the tinted goggles of the perfect vision of what life should be, we are told that we should “follow our passion” and “do what you love”, and whilst that sounds like an inviting and optimistic view to having success in life, I am sure without a doubt that most of us would disagree to its accuracy when we use logic. But the phrase “do as I say, not as I do” comes to mind because we often also still pretend to ourselves that we can achieve the perfect life, even if we say its not realistic.
People have different views on the definition of work, a job, or a career. Some people work at a job to earn money, so they can do what they like to do – or follow their passion – outside of this. Some will work to define a career in what they think they align with that someone will pay them to do, and in some cases this may have some alignment to a passion. Finding the ability to combine a passion into a career is an achievement many aspire to and many will fall short of.
There are frankly few people in the world who are ‘lucky’ enough to be able to do what they love. Unfortunately it is only people whose passion just so happens to align with a career path that have the option to do what they love. We cannot simply wake up one day and decide that our passion is picking flowers, because no matter how much we enjoy picking flowers is there someone who is wiling to pay us for it? The likelihood is no, they are not.
Make Them Willing to Pay for It
If you are someone who has a passion that doesn’t yet align with your job or career, then you need to be able to find the link between your passion, and why someone might pay you to do it. This takes ingenuity to develop new strategies for making profit out of something you’d do for free anyway.
In order to make someone willing to pay you for your passion, you will need expertise. There isn’t a magic code other than being the very best at what you do, clearly outweighing any possibility of competition. Once you are an expert in something, many will want to hear your ideas because people are naturally attracted to leaders.
Our logical minds know that no one man or woman can be an expert of everything and so leaders specialise in particular subjects, sometimes multiple if they are closely related, and yet followers of leaders will accept all that they say as truth with wholehearted acceptance.
To become a leader, you require a following. Followers are found through becoming a knowledgeable and charismatic person. Those who follow a leader in their expertise are already captured as someone who is willing to pay to hear them speak, read their words, follow their developments, and also buy their product.
Even at that stage you are able to receive payment for simply following your passion, but those that are in the right place at the right time can also develop their value to being paid because they have a following. Think of stage speakers, and even musicians and actors to some extent; not only do they get paid following their passion and because they become experts at it, they get paid because people know who they are.
A following is not only of value to the leader, but a clear indication of value to everyone else who will want to pay them just to be allowed to access their following too; think brand partnerships, ‘collaboration’, etc.
In short, if you are truly focused on making your passion also your career then it will take time and effort to become So Good They Can’t Ignore You (a must-read book, by the way) by becoming the expert in your field. Once you are an expert, cultivate your following and give them the option to pay you for your knowledge and experience, and everyone else will want a piece of your passion.