Turn Your Passion Into A Paycheck

Image-1I 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.

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Your Most Efficient Morning At Work

I love my mornings at work – it’s my favorite time of the day. It’s when I’m most productive, when I can accomplish the large tasks and when I have the best focus.  I’ve noticed in the past that when I plan my days in advance, limit interruptions and schedule around my best productivity that I accomplish more and feel better.  I encourage you to make changes to be more productive and efficient each morning – and all day – while you are at work.

Picture the plan before you get to work.

Each night before I leave, clean my desk and write the items I need to accomplish on my task list.  I designate the highest priority items and anything that has a defined deadline.  When I come in each morning, I am welcomed to a fresh start and I know exactly what needs to be done that day and my highest priority items.  It saves me time in the morning to have a plan in place right when I arrive.

I encourage you to develop a system to give yourself a great head start.  It could be a few minutes at the end of your day, it could be developing your task list, or it could be another system that works for you.  You’ll be more productive if you set yourself up for success in advance.

Limit interruptions as much as you can.

In my last job, my office was the first one as you’d walk in the door.  Everyone came right into my office and I’d get interrupted all of the time.  I wanted them to feel important, so I’d stop what I was doing to listen to them and help them with what they needed. Some days I felt like I didn’t accomplish anything.

When I started my current job, I was able to pick my office.  I picked the highest floor and the farthest office from entrance.  Now if someone is coming to see me, they have to make an intentional effort (and climb lots of stairs) so my interruptions our minimal.  I enjoy the solitude because I’m able to really dig in and get tons of projects done, with limited interruptions.

I encourage you to find a way to minimize interruptions to boost productivity – maybe it’s closing your door, wearing headphones or moving your office.  Whatever it takes to improve your work flow.

Schedule your day around your most productive times.

I schedule all of my meetings in the afternoon (if I can) and give myself time for the big projects each morning. I’m more focused in the morning and can really dig into the biggest (and sometimes the worst) thing first – and get it accomplished.  Then, in the afternoon, when I’m a little less focused, I can spend my time in meetings and discussion to keep me engaged and interested.

You may need a few hours to be ready to work on projects – if so, schedule your meetings first.  Or you may be someone that likes to move around a lot – I encourage you to take the breaks you need. If you know how you work most productively and schedule your day around your best productivity, you’ll notice that you become more focused, more successful and ultimately more productive.

You can have a efficient morning – and productive day – every day at work. Focus your time and attention on your priorities and being your best self. The more you practice having your best day, the more often your best work days will start to appear. 

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What to do when you are out of your league

I went to a fancy lunch recently and as I was looking around the table, I realized that I probably had no place being there.  I wasn’t a major donor, I wasn’t a high-powered decision-maker and I honestly didn’t know much about the project in discussion.  I was out of my league. 

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I’m sure you’ve felt like this before.  You are in a situation – a business meeting, a party, a specialty event – where you feel like you don’t belong.  The good news is you can make the most of this situation.  You can make it a valuable experience, but you have to know where to look.  Here’s what I learned that day.

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#JobBoost Be The Best Boss

Being a great boss is quite the task, there are many levels to being successful, personable and respected.  But it starts with basic principles – treat others like you’d want to be treated and lead by example.  When you are in a position of authority and spend time helping others develop their potential and reach their goals, you become a great boss.

Really get to know your team.

Spend time with your staff and get to know them.  By finding out what they like and what they don’t, you can help make them a better employee. Have someone who manages details well? Maybe they can help plan events.  Work with a chatterbox? Maybe they’d do well on your sales team.  When you learn about your employees, you prove that you’re interested and investing in them and they’ll want to be better employees for you.

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The Year You Improve Everything #YouDeserveThis

You can change your life in a year. I’ve tested it multiple times and accomplished many goals – If I can do it, I know you can too. It’s going to take work, but it’s worth it.  What do you want to accomplish?

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Improve your health dramatically.  A few years ago, a scary health screening showed my cholesterol was dangerously high.  I reviewed common causes and the only thing I could improve were my eating habits (which were already pretty good).  So I spent a year figuring out how to boost my health results.  I reduced a few favorites – sugar, eggs and peanut butter.  I added in a few new items – bulgur, brown rice and dry beans.  And after a year of steady dedication, my health screening showed that my cholesterol was back to a normal range.  If you have a health issue, consider small, daily changes that you can make to help improve your health.

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Applying Talents in Academics, Career & Beyond

If you’re still working on your success strategy – good for you.  It takes time, hard work and dedication to reach your goals.  In our StrengthsQuest readings, we’ve discovered “Four key factors will determine your achievements in academics, career and beyond” to guide the solutions for applying talents in your life to get you to where you want to be. #YouDeserveThis

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Your beliefs about your talents to achieve. Never underestimate the power of what you believe – it will directly affect your achievements. When you are confident in your beliefs and understand what you’re working toward; you’re more likely to be able to use your talents effectively.

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Find Your Signature Style

Never have a day with nothing to wear. Ever again. I promise, it can happen.  And here’s why it’s important.  What you wear speaks volumes about you.  Your first impression makes a difference and how you present yourself can impact your initial success.  Developing your signature style is easier than you think, in fact, you already know what works – you need to keep doing just that.

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Only keep items you love.  Notice I didn’t say like.  If you look at your closet, I bet that you wear 20% of the items 80% of the time.  And you suffer through the other days.  Save yourself.  If it doesn’t fit, it’s worn down, if you don’t love it–don’t save it.  It’s not worth your time or your energy.  You deserve better.  Go through each item in your closet and ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I love it? Does it work with other things I love?
  • Do I wear it? Have I worn it at least 6 times this year?

I recommend breaking this task down into sections. Can you do shirts one day and pants the next day? Trying to accomplish a little at a time may be less overwhelming.

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