True to the old adage, “dreams never die”, the desire to fulfill my passion as an actual profession (not just a retirement plan) grew stronger and stronger, especially as my 26th birthday lurked on the horizon. Seeking the source of initial inspiration, I dug through the old cardboard box tagged “College Years”, sorted through faded sorority paraphernalia, evidence of my many instigated dorm pranks, disposable camera pics of New Orleans at 2 AM, and found the list:
Can you really turn your passion into your profession? Well, I am; and I believe you can too!
Here are three tips for other millennials desiring to live the dream:
Don’t Expect a Standing Ovation
As previously stated on several interviews, one of the most surprising things I encountered when starting my first business was the lack of “applause” from my community. When I took the big (and super scary) entrepreneurial plunge, I honestly expected to receive a standing ovation from my peers; you know, a solid salute for laying my financial future on the line to create jobs and opportunities in the middle of the recession. The applause never came; instead, I encountered a lot of shocked family and friends, many of whom expressed their criticism and caution regarding such an “irresponsible move”. “You were on the fast track! Only an idiot would give that up to…do what? RAISE COWS?! I’ve never heard such a thing!” was the only “ovation” I received.
Your passion is YOUR passion—not everyone else’s. Don’t expect others to understand the immense satisfaction you feel when singing for a crowd, writing suspenseful murder mysteries, or rehoming misunderstood Pit Bulls. Passions don’t come in a baker’s dozen; they cannot be forcibly replicated from one generation to the next, or “drilled” into one’s DNA. Passions are individualized; they are the part of the unique, customized blend that makes each of us who we are. Accept your passions for what they are—your’s—and don’t let lack of peer support dampen your enthusiasm.
All good things come at a cost. Turning your passion into a profession may require a couple months (or years) of “uncomfortableness”—aka seedy apartments, driving old clunkers, not being sure where the next check is going to come from—but if your pursuits really are your passions, than the temporary sacrifice will all be viewed as well worth the effort in the end. Many good things can come from enduring sacrifice (my husband would probably cite my “learning to cook something besides 1-800-TakeOut”), as “uncomfortableness” has a brilliant way of bringing out the “resourcefulness” in everyone. You will develop new skills, build increased tenacity, and learn more about who you are and what you’re capable of than ever before.
Just because your passion is “meant to be” your profession, doesn’t mean it’ll be easy; however, don’t let the obstacles you encounter when embarking on such a brazen adventure deter your journey. A wise entrepreneur once said, “if something comes easily, it probably isn't worth very much.” Turning your passion into your profession is a career move that will pay dividends throughout the rest of your life, even if only in increased life satisfaction. Keep your eye on the goal, take each challenge in stride, and continue to purposefully pursue your passion—personally and professionally.
Living a life where your day-to-day work invigorates your very being is the true essence of success. For each of us, success will be defined differently. For some, “success” may be defined as running a public traded company; for others, “success” may be defined as owning their own gas station. When taking the leap to turn your passions into your profession, accept your individualized passions for what they are--your’s, recognize the end goal as well worth the required sacrifice, and do not let the obstacles you encounter sway your pursuit of passion.
Are you a young entrepreneur turning your passion into your profession?
We’d LOVE to hear about it! Share your story in the comments below:
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