I was speaking with someone recently about volunteering with my organization and they told me they couldn’t. You see, they were bitter that their passions weren’t coming to fruition to help pay the bills. They were too busy, too tired and too annoyed to help me.
It made me think about how often I hear this from others. They’ve discovered their passions and are excited to live a life of bliss. Then they seem to be disappointed when life gets in the way of living each day to their passionate potential.
Here’s what I’ve learned about turing your passions into a paycheck:
Realize it’s going to take (lots of) hard work to accomplish your passion
Your dream job isn’t going to fall into your lap. It’s going to take time, energy and investment to make your dream happen and you need to be ready to make progress now, so you can reach your goal and dreams later.
Think about what you need to accomplish to get where you want to be. Sometimes it’s easiest to write the end goal and work backwards. You may need to volunteer with organizations to build your skill set and resume, you may need to seek help of others that can mentor and guide you, you may need to attend more networking events and build your connections.
Every single thing you do that gets you closer to your goal is a step in the right direction. Even if it’s a tiny step, it’s still progress. When you’re working on your timeline, be realistic and aggressive with your goals. You may realize it’s going to take months or years to get to the end result – but if it’s your dream – then it’s worth it. Don’t get discouraged, just “keep swimming” and soon you’ll be there.
Schedule time to accomplish your passion
I love to write and design and realized that I’d gone months without focusing on either of these things. And I immediately discovered the problem: I didn’t have either one in my schedule. When you schedule time to accomplish your passion, you’re more likely to accomplish them – your passions are an important meeting, you deserve to spend time on yourself.
I’ve noticed the more time I spend in things I enjoy, the more excited I get about these things and the more progress I make toward my goals. I encourage you to schedule time today to regularly work on things that are important to you. Make a list of goals, work regularly at these goals and check of your accomplishments.
Find your passion in your current surroundings
Even more than writing and designing, I love to organize. When I see something that is a hot mess, I start to get excited. I also love meetings, projects, task lists and results. And guess what kinds of jobs I’ve naturally gravitated toward in the past decade? Jobs that have meetings, projects, task lists and start as a hot mess. I’ve realized the more I see the small things that I love come to fruition within my job (where I earn my paycheck), I’m more alive, I feel more accomplished and I’m more invested.
You are wired to make a difference and if you aren’t in a job that supports your (tiny) passions: Make a plan to make changes now. Maybe it’s speaking to your supervisor about your responsibilities. Maybe it’s dusting off your resume and using your network to find your new (dream) job.
What was most interesting about the conversation I’d mentioned earlier is that the person that was too bitter to help, was turning his back on a volunteer opportunity that would have built his network and probably given him the chance to meet someone to help him move his paycheck to be more in line with his passions.
He’s not alone. So many are just waiting for the opportunity to fall in their lap. It’s not going to happen. You are going to have to work – starting today – to make changes in your life to get what you want. Whatever you need to do to turn your passions into a paycheck, you deserve to find this fulfillment in your full-time responsibilities. I encourage you to be brave enough to try.