Will following your passion bring you riches or ruins

There is an old cliché–and even a book–titled, Do What You Love, the Money Will Follow! If you Google “love your job” or “passion for your job,” you’ll be overwhelmed with the amount of articles that come up. Passion in your job is such a popular topic that there are even coaching companies who have it as their mission to help you find your passion.

Telling someone to follow their passion and dreams may seem like great advice. In fact, many of us confidently tell others that we love what we do and have found our true passion. But telling others to “follow their passion” isn’t always the best advice. Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks NBA basketball team states, “‘Follow Your Passion’ is easily the worst advice you could ever give or get.” In fact, it may be bad advice for three big reasons. First, many people haven’t found their passion. Without passion, it is hard to crystallize a vision or develop a plan that will turn your vision and passion into a reality. Second, and for some, even more importantly, their passion has no connection to bringing them financial stability or a regular paycheck. Third, passionate entrepreneurs who follow their vision and dreams without a viable business plan often find this approach one of the quickest paths to financial ruin.

We are all passionate about something on which we would like to spend our time and energy.  To be able to have a paying career within our passion is an even greater hope and dream for many of us. Passion is a great driving force, yet to be successful in your passion requires other elements of planning and execution. If following your passion is your dream, here are 7 tips to consider to turn your passion into a successful reality.

1. Find your passion

What draws you and what drives you? What difference would you like to make in the world and what are you good at? Most people find passion in doing the things they do really well.  Research tells us that for most people, passion does not come in the early part of your career when you are trying to figure out how to do your job. Passion comes from being able to successfully execute your goals and deliver huge values to others… most times better than others in the same position or industry. This takes time.

2. Test your passion

Think twice when people tell you to follow your passion. Telling someone who has not found their passion that they need a passion may send the individual looking for confidence in a false passion. We all know someone who had a dream and a false passion to be in a certain profession and when they finally arrived, they hated the job. It’s difficult to admit that you followed a false passion and this job or career is not for you.

3. Do a reality check. 

Where is there a need for your passion? Do people value what you’re passionate about enough to get involved?

4. Does your passion need to pay the bills?  

When you have true passion and the expertise to deliver the passion, others value the gift and are willing to pay you for your expertise. Passion without being paid is a hobby or avocation. Regardless of your level of passion, it’s hard to admit that you don’t have the ability to pay your bills or put food on your table.

5. Develop a strategic business plan

Passion without a plan is merely a dream; or worse it could spell disappointment and disaster. Once you know your passion and have a vision for the future you want to create, set goals with deadlines and underlying actions steps in your strategic plan.

6. Take Action and Work Hard

Hard work, plus the results and rewards of that hard work, are what fuels passion. Jeff Foxworthy, the comedian, once concluded his show by telling the audience, “I just want to thank you for making it so I never needed to get a job.” That may be his perspective, but Jeff Foxworthy has worked really hard to be such a great comedian that he doesn’t rely on foul language for laughs.

We all know someone who would tell you they have passion and a dream they are following. It’s even more motivating to listen to someone tell others about their passion and dreams. The problem for some is that’s all there is… all talk and no action. If it’s truly a dream backed by passion, actions will follow. Best of all, actions will follow and they won’t feel like real work.

7. Innovate

When you have passion, you always find the time to do what you love. In fact, you spend so much time thinking about your passion that you figure out creative ways to innovate, bring value to others and do even more of the things you love.

It’s our hope that you’re passionate about your work and calling. When you discover the work that you love, work becomes more than a job. It becomes your mission, and doesn’t even seem like work. Passion is central to your energy level and overall quality of life. Here’s to living life with excitement, awe, wonder and most off all, with gusto!

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