The Passion = Success delusion.
Have you ever had a great idea that you knew was going to make you happy? You could even make a living do it!?
Did you do it?
Are you still doing it?
Yeah, me neither.
But, you can consider where you’re at a success anyway – as long as you’re moving forward.
That’s where the follow your passion model falls short. What really makes us happy is moving towards a goal. For those of us that don’t know our be-all, end-all life’s passion, simply going and trying stuff makes way more sense than sitting around trying to think it out… constantly circling around the idea that we don’t know our passion.
Trying out whatever seems to be a good idea is an OK life’s goal.
A bit about DNP
When this site started in 2009, Digital Nomad Path set out to document the nuts and bolts of going from no-name author to famous blogger. So, with a plan, I quit my cushy IT career and set out to be a writer.
At this point, I need to be very clear about something:
I am not a successful writer.
But, what does successful mean?
Technically, I have written a book. Sixty days after quitting my job, I had a book for sale. On launch day, it earned $37.74. By the end of the month, it had earned… $37.74.
At this point, it may be helpful to note that Dad’s Last Opus – the blog I started in 2009 to conquer Internet stardom as a Digital Nomad – is completely defunk… after 10 posts. It turns out, the single parent blog-o-sphere wasn’t somewhere I really enjoyed spending time. I just thought I would. After beginning to write as a “job,” writing became a little (OK, a lot) less interesting.
Did you catch that? You think something is going to make you happy. You think something is going to be enjoyable, but the fact is, you never know what you’re going to love doing until you actually do it.
So, failed book launch and a defunk blog. How is that “successful?”
Easy. I’m not a professional writer. Well, I’m not a full-time professional writer.
What you start out doing may not be what you wind up doing. Particularly if, like me, you’re not really sure what your “passion” is – or, again like me, don’t necessarily think there’s one all-encompassing passion that drives your world.
The reality is most of us just crave the freedom to do with our time what we want to. When you define “success” as control of your time, then it doesn’t really matter what you do to create an income.
Remember, we don’t know what’s going to make us happy until we actually do it. If you can let go of the idea that you know how it’s all going to turn out, that you know exactly what you’re business is going to look like, then you’ve got a leg up on all the people that will wind up giving up. Keep trying things to see if you enjoy them. When you find one, you don’t have to stop looking for more, either.
2’s a couple; 3’s one more
You’re not a failure if you don’t have that one thing that will make you happy. You’re not a failure even if you have no idea where to start. You are a failure if you can’t stand where you are and you try nothing.
You are getting paid to do something. One job. One paycheck. That’s a corporate mentality that will hinder you. In the beginning, you will likely generate income from multiple sources.
You don’t HAVE to focus on your one true passion! You can actually do three things that each bring in a third of your income and focus on the one you enjoy most after you’ve tried them all. You can take a part-time job to bring in some income until your business brings in a sustainable income. You can open an online store for little crafts, start selling stuff on Craigslist, coach a client or two, and repair RC helicopters – all bringing in a portion of your income.
The key is that you’re testing things that are bringing in your income. It doesn’t matter what percentage of your income comes from where. What matters is that at the end of most months you’re in the black.
It doesn’t have to be from the same work month after month. It doesn’t have to be from the same clients month after month. It doesn’t have to come from one thing month after month.
It just has to come in.
…isn’t going to happen for most of us. Though, there are those cases. It took me three years until I was in the black every month. But, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t earning anything those three years. I’m traveling full time now, which was a goal three years ago, but didn’t come to fruition until recently.
You will go through a few stages in your journey. I’m not at the end of mine, so I don’t think this is everything, but if you were completely happy with where you are, this page wouldn’t be very interesting for you.
Being able to recognize what stage you’re in will help you feel like your making progress rather than feeling like you’re “not there, yet.”
You have a dream! It’s going to be a journey getting there and that journey is really the dream… despite what you think this second. Just keep these things in mind:
- Success is about a balance between multiple facets of your life.
- Be open to opportunities as they come even if it’s not exactly what you’re thinking.
- Your income doesn’t have to come in from any particular place – or a single place.
- Don’t panic! If something isn’t perfect now, you can tweak it as you go.
What is your success going to look like? If you answered, “I don’t know until I try things,” then you should definitely stick around.