Jeffosophy: a collection of possibly useful things I have learned over the years.
 

 

 

Randal has been searching for his passion for 20 years 

Don't Look for Your Passion. Create It

By Jeffrey Baumgartner

I know a lot of people who are seeking their passions in the belief that they will have happy, successful careers if these careers follow said passions. Some of these people have been looking for a long time. Presumably, in the abstract world, there are many passions waiting to be found, loved and possessed, rather like homelesscats and dogs in an animal shelter.

Sometimes, a person needs to acknowledge that she is not going to find a passion awaiting her in some unexpected location. Very likely she is interested in all kinds of things and finds it hard to get excited by any particular thing. Sometimes, it is best not to make a career out of one's passion. I studied art in university and I loved it. I loved it so much, in fact, that the idea of going into commercial art appalled me. I certainly did not want people telling me what to create and how to create it! So, I focused on the English language as a profession, initially teaching it and later copywriting and finally writing for publication. I was less passionate about English than art and so was able to tolerate being told how to teach it, what to write and how to write it (especially by clients in my copywriting days).

An Opportunist Who Smelled an Opportunity

More recently, I noticed a lot of businesses were interested in innovation. I've long been told I'm a creative guy. So, I thought, innovation needs creative ideas. If I can teach people in business to think more like I do, there might be an interesting career there. So, although I was not passionate about teaching creativity, I saw an opportunity and read voraciously about how people and groups devise and develop creative ideas. Then, I began a newsletter on creativity, which helped me understand it better, and also helped build my reputation. Soon, I was recognised as an expert. I gave talks and gave workshops on creativity and innovation - and learned from these activities. In time, I suppose, you could say I became passionate about creativity. But, that only came with time. Early on, I was just an opportunist who smelled an opportunity.

You can do the same thing.

Create a Passion

If you cannot find your passion or do not want to make a profession of it, do what I did. Create a passion. Find a subject that interests you at least a bit, is relevant and about which you are willing to learn a lot. As you learn more about the subject and gain expertise you will find that you are able to become passionate about the subject.

Of course, that still leaves you with the challenge of finding the subject. But now you are no longer looking for something that you feel passionate about immediately, but rather something that you can grow to love and promote.

Look for Opportunities

Where to start? Look at business trends, especially the newer, vague ones. Can you get excited about one of those?

Do you find that friends often ask your advice? If so, what do they ask about? If not, what do you feel they should be asking you about?

When people tell you what they do, what is it that intrigues you the most?

In your organisation, what processes do not work very well? Do you have ideas on how to fix them?

What kind of articles or blog posts tend do you most like to read?

What subjects have surprised you recently?

Think about problems that you are are good at solving. What kinds of problems are they?

Values

While looking for opportunities, keep in mind your personal values. You are never going to get passionate about something that goes against your values. But, you will find it easy to become passionate about things that align with your values. Inspiring people is a personal value for me. Creativity aligned with that very nicely, after all truly creative ideas can be very inspiring.

On the other hand, I also value pacifism. So, becoming passionate about kick-boxing would never, ever work for me.

Gain Knowledge

Once you have found something that interests you, start reading up on it. Watch videos. Listen to podcasts, attend workshops. Study the topic in whatever way works for you.

Likewise, ask friends, associates and friendly strangers in bars about it. You do not need to be passionate about the topic yet. You are in early learning mode. If you find you are growing more interested in the topic, that's great! Keep reading. Sign up for Google news alerts on key words associated with the topic. If you are losing interest, try something else.

Start blogging on the topic. Writing about it helps you learn better and, once you are confident about the content in your blog, begin to promote it on social media. This allows you to stake your claim publicly that you are an expert (well, an expert in training) on the topic. A blog will not only demonstrate your stake, but it should connect you with others having an interest in the field.

By this time, you should be starting to get excited about the topic. If not, fake it. It will come. Meanwhile, if you fake enthusiasm, you will get others excited about it and their excitement will come back to you.

Making Something of Your Passion

From there, you need to work out how to build a business around your new found passion. Will you be a consultant? A coach? A trainer? Will you write a blog that generates advertising revenue? Will you create and sell a product around your interest? Ideally, you will find a combination of these activities that will generate an income.

That last step is the biggest. It is one thing to read, research and blog. It is quite another to dive into a topic and build a business around it. But, if you've already built a passion around it, building the business should be fun!

So, if you've been seeking your passion without success, stop looking and start creating a passion instead.


This Article was first published on creativejeffrey.com.

 

 

 

 

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