Exploring Your Passion

Oct 17, 2011

“20 years from now you will be disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the one’s you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
Mark Twain

Many people write about quitting the 9 to 5 and doing your own thing. There’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, it’s an admirable goal to have. That being said, you CAN excel at your current gig and explore your passion at the same time.

My Story

I’ve been with the same company for 12 years. In the technology space, this is a rarity. I’ve been fortunate enough to move up the ranks and it’s been a rewarding journey. As I’ve writing before, I’m in corporate technology sales. I cherish the work I’m privileged to do with my clients. The relationships I have in my industry are very fulfilling. I value them more than anything else I do in my work environment. That doesn’t mean I don’t have other passions or things I want to explore. Hence, I started writing and working with others to improve their life and work performance.

A lot of times, people ask me how I find time to write for 1440. My answer is simple. I’m passionate about writing and helping others. I also am driven by leaving a legacy, especially for my children. For me, it’s an easy trade off. Time for me stands still when I’m writing. Does it take time and commitment? Absolutely, it does. I’ve heard the saying before, “If you want to get something done, give it to a busy person.” Fortunately, the Getting Things Done methodology has given me the freedom to focus on the right things, prioritize my work and find time to work on 1440. That doesn’t mean I don’t struggle to write. Things get busy at work and at home (a 2 and 4 yr old will do that to you : )

The Challenge

My challenge to you if you have thoughts about doing your own thing, don’t be afraid to test the waters. Even if you can’t do it full time. Find ways to scratch this itch. Even if it’s something small. You can create a plan to eventually do it full time, however, you can always find ways to do something right now. Here are some thoughts on how to explore your passion:

  • Figure out if you can do something part time. If you’ve always wanted to open a surf shop, figure out how you can do it online. Take a look at eBay and see what others are doing. Maybe you can find a market where you can sell stuff. This can only help as you learn the market before you jump in full time. You want to open up your own coffee shop someday? Go get a job at Starbucks or somewhere else part time. Learn the ins and outs. That experience will be valuable
  • Start small. My eventual goal is to be a motivational speaker. I decided to join Toastmasters last year. Two primary reasons – First and foremost, to get more comfortable speaking. Getting my “reps” so to speak. With each speech, I get more comfortable and the butterflies get less and less. Second – speaking about my passion – a lot of what I write on 1440 – it’s amazing when you present/speak about something your passionate about, how fun it becomes.
  • Find a partner that has similar interest and maybe more time. I have a friend that wanted to get into real estate management. He already had a great job in medical sales. Instead of quitting his job, he tested the waters. After finding two partners, he was able to work part-time on it, while the others did as well. He actually found that it wasn’t what he wanted to do (after about 2 years of working on).
  • Like me, create a blog. Write about what this “passion” is. You will find your passion growing and it will open up ideas around where you want to take it.
  • Commit to whatever you decide. My good friend and owner of my Crossfit gym, Ralph Hicks, is a great example. Ralph is a full-time school teacher. He also has three young children and is married. He shows up to the gym at 5am on Mondays and Fridays to teach the classes, then goes to work from 7am until 3pm. THEN….yes, then, he comes back to the gym to teach the 4:30 through 6:30 classes. Talk about commitment? Maybe his wife is showing more commitment, actually : )
  • Know that it’s not going to be easy. Gary Vaynerchuck, Author of Crush It and Thank You Economy has a good point. He said that if you’re truly passionate about something, you will find the time. Even if you work all day and have a family, find the time. If that means working from 9pm-12am or beyond, that may be what you have to do.

Examples of others who are flying high and following their passion

There are some amazing people doing amazing things. Many have “day jobs”. My good friend, Scott Dinsmore of Live Your Legend, owns his own Investment Management firm (Cumbre Capital) in San Francisco. I don’t think I’ve met anyone with more passion than Scott. He finds the time to work on his passion. He’s lucky enough to have found two passions, investment management and his first-class site/blog.

Or, Jacob Sokol of Sensophy. Another great writer out there. He wrote his first book/guide, Living On Purpose, and has made a big mark in the personal development market. And, yes, he’s making money. Did he have to work on his passion in his spare time? Absolutely. I know he’s aiming to do it full time. He’s well on his way.

Ralph Hicks, as mentioned above, is committed to his passion. He’s found a way to incorporate crossfit principles into his phys ed classes. He works hard and he loves every minute of it. It’s really something to emulate.

It’s not easy, but I can assure you that once you find your passion, you will certainly know it. If something’s been on your mind, dive in. Just write down your thoughts for a few minutes. It just may spark something . Vet it out. Talk to others about it (start with your “board of advisors/close friends or family). Is it feasible? What does success look like? In the next 10 years, five years, 1 year….how about 6 months, 1 month or even 1 week? You can always take a small step and be on your way…..check out this post from Leo Babauta of Zen Habits. He talks of starting small. Simple, yet profound.

The Bottom Line

Whether you hate what you do for a living or you love it (like me), you can find ways to work on what else you’re passionate about.

A great way to start is identifying your strengths (pick up the book Strengthsfinder 2.0 and there’s an assessment you can take). That was one of the catalysts for me to jump into 1440. I learned what made me tick. Seeing others succeed, working with teams, wooing others. Coaching and writing is a perfect fit for me. I’m leveraging my strengths big time – 80/20 principles in flight. The great part is that taking this assessment has helped me in my corporate sales job as well.

Jump Right In

Don’t wait any longer. If you’ve been thinking about something you’ve always wanted to try, just do it. One step. Whether that’s as simple as researching it online, talking to a trusted advisor or writing down your thoughts, just jump right in. Even if it doesn’t come to fruition, you will have achieved success and piece of mind by vetting it out.

Best of luck to you and don’t be afraid. In face, embrace the fear and see where it takes you!

Additional Reading to help you explore your passion:

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