“Build your own dreams, or someone else will hire you to build theirs.” —Farrah Gray
How many times have you heard “follow your passion”?
How many times have you heard stories like these in Dubai?
- A woman loves making cupcakes, so she decides to bake from home and quits her banking job.
- A man is passionate about writing, so he quits his job to focus on his first novel.
Then… wait for it…
Nothing! No customers, no readers, no clients.
They return to the world of the “working dead” with their tails tucked between their legs and their egos bruised. But, worst of all, they’ve lost faith in the kind of world where they can make a living doing something they love.
But it didn’t have to be that way.
We all want a life filled with doing what we love, but we also want a life where our wallets are filled with money. Unfortunately for the current generation of college graduates, the fear of not being able to afford to live on your own and start your own family is very real, and plays a big role in what these students major in and how they plan their future.
One real example is the one I am living today with my son, he loves tennis and he told me he would love to be a tennis player someday, however if he is not among the top 100 worldwide, he won’t make enough money. So he would rather study hard now for his GCSE, so he can get into science or law school as it has more probability to make money. His thinking made me sad in a way, as 15 years old boy is already worried that what he loves to do will not be able to provide a steady living for him.
The hard truth about “following your passion”
We believe money will follow if we do what we love, but it’s a dangerous recommendation.
Research shows that intrinsically motivating work makes people a lot happier than a big pay cheque. We also think it’s really important to find something you can excel at. One problem is that it suggests that passion is all you need. But even if you’re interested in the work, if you lack the other key ingredients of job satisfaction that research has shown are important, you’ll still be unsatisfied. If a basketball fan gets a job involving basketball, but works with people he hates, has unfair pay, or finds the work meaningless, he’s still going to dislike his job.
In fact, “following your passion” can make it harder to satisfy the other ingredients, because the areas you’re passionate about are likely to be the most competitive, which makes it harder to find a good job.
As a life coach, I’ve seen it happen again and again. People get excited about their idea for a passion-based business. They start making plans, they mentally decorate their new offices and they wonder how their boss is going to take it when they’ve made enough money to quit. They even tattoo the name of their new dream on their body and they do all this without taking into account the biggest myth.
When it comes to earning money doing what you love, you have to remember: Right now, nobody cares about your passions.
It isn’t about you.
It isn’t about your passion.
It’s about your clients and customers: what you give to them, what you do for them and how they benefit from knowing you. You have to make them care about your passion so much they’ll pay you to do it.
- The Hollywood Principle
Many people blindly follow their passion, believing their love for it will be enough to make them successful. But they fail to factor in what I call The Hollywood Principle.
The Hollywood Principle states that no matter how passionate you are about something, nobody cares about it simply because you do.
If you want clients or customers, you need to be concerned with why they should care about what you’re doing, even when you’re doing what you love.
People fleeing the corporate world — the world of 9-to-5 dictated eating and bathroom schedules — tend to equate a passion-based business with freedom. They want the freedom to be their own boss, the freedom to be in charge of their own time and the freedom to do whatever it is they love.
With this mind-set, they throw caution to the wind and do what they love without regard for The Hollywood Principle. They pursue their venture with the love and characteristic of passions.
The real challenge is to persuasively communicate the gift of your passion, your mission and your unique value.
- Your Unique Value
You’ve probably heard about unique value from the worlds of personal branding and job hunting. But in this case, instead of unique value being about who you are and the value you offer, it’s about what you’re really here to do.
Are you an expert at making cupcakes, or are you helping people to experience something through your work?
Are you writing a great novel, or are you on a mission to make people think about an issue so profoundly meaningful to you it’s a part of who you are?
Unique value for passion-based workers is very close to the heart. It’s why you do what you do. It’s the heart and soul of who you are.
- Your Challenge
If you dream of doing work based on your passion, answer these unique value questions in the comments below:
- Why do you do your passion?
- What do you bring to the table that no one else does?
- What would you love to contribute to the world?
In my opinion, life is short. It’s fragile and it’s delicate. It’s here one moment, then gone the next. It’s never okay to just settle because we aren’t here for a long time. As humans, following your passion in life gives you a sense of purpose to exist in this world. It also helps to install something bigger and greater than just yourself. As long as what you’re pursuing moves beyond just the selfish reasons and really attempts to contribute value to the world, it will help you fulfill something far greater than you could ever imagine.
Spend your time doing something you absolutely love, and move away from wasting your life on things that don’t matter to you. Now is your chance to define what matters and why others should care about it as much as you do.