A few years ago, a colleague posted a Facebook status that stuck with me: How much is your employer paying you to ignore your dreams?
I remember thinking how fortunate I was to love what I do. I am grateful to have a job in my field doing something I love. It took a lot of work, though.
I’ve been criticized most of my life for not falling into line, not striving to make a ton of money, or getting into a more in-demand field. Sure, I could have managed a chain of stores or majored in another subject, but I didn’t. I majored in a language I love to do the only job I envisioned doing the rest of my life. My passion for reading and language mean more to me than any salary. I can work 50-60 hours a week, barely sleep, and fight migraines because I love what I do. It’s worth it.
True happiness, not just contentment, stems from passion. If you’re not passionate, then you just go through the motions, looking back 20 years later asking what the #$#@? Where has my life gone? Ignoring your passions makes you hollow. You become numb and have difficulty finding happiness in anything – especially yourself.
Passion is something you must exercise. And those who have it, show it. You see it in their work, attitude, physical appearance, and general happiness. The ones who love what they do radiate enthusiasm and inspire others to do the same.
So what do you to do ensure your practicing your passions?
1. Discover it. What fulfills you? Try different things and move on if you don’t feel completely attached to it. Once you find it, you’ll know. You’ll crave it. You’ll need it, and if you don’t have it, you’ll feel incomplete.
2. Make time for it. If you truly love it, you will never be too busy for it. If you don’t practice it, it lingers in the back of your mind – nagging at you. My peeps are great examples of this tip because they have full-time jobs, relationships, and families, but still live their passions. One illustrates. One teaches hot yoga. Another plays guitar. Another plays video games. And they do these things almost every day.
3. Stand up for it. Who cares what <fill in the blank> thinks? It doesn’t matter if they criticize it. You are responsible for finding your own happiness, not theirs. And if they really love you, they should see how important it is to you.
4. Never settle. This is the most dangerous action we can take. Settling can lead to regret and doubt. To our knowledge, we only live once so make the best of it. Find your path and follow it, even if it’s exhausting. Once you get there, you’ll be glad you kept going.
5. Remember your dreams. Life gets in the way of almost everything. Deal with it. Don’t stop believing in yourself and your dreams. If you find another passion and drop another one, that’s okay. If you have several, work them all in. Strive to do what you love and never give up.
Here are some of my favorite people who live their passions!