5 Things You Must Know Before Following Your Passion

“We may affirm absolutely that nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion.” – Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

I’m sure you’ve heard, “Follow your passion!” and “Do what you love!” more times than you can count.

These catchphrases are the zeitgeist of our times.

We want to love our work, have more freedom, and make more money, and it’s totally possible. (Hence the explosion of blogs and lifestyle/online businesses.)

But… it’s definitely not easy.

It’s misguided to believe that if we follow our passion, work automatically become play and we’ll live with perpetual bliss.

It’s quite the opposite, at least in the beginning. There’s still bills to pay, life to deal with, and difficult decisions to make.

Anyone can create a career or business they’re passionate about, but be realistic about what it takes.

Here’s a reality check of five things you need to know before following your passion.

1. You have to hustle

“If you feel like there’s something out there that you’re supposed to be doing, if you have a passion for it, then stop wishing and just do it.” — Wanda Sykes

Even when you love doing something, the fact remains that hard work is the crux of success. You still have to hustle and put in the work.

No matter what you choose to do, it requires dedication, commitment, and personal growth.

Whether your passionate about the medical field, the legal profession, or being a musician, you still need to work your ass off.

You have to create opportunities, solve problems, and be resourceful.

Are you willing to hustle?

2. Learning won’t stop

“Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” – Pele

I’m passionate about playing drums, coaching, and writing, which are all lifelong crafts to develop. I’ll continue to get better and improve for my entire life.

This is exactly why I love drums. The more effort I put in, the better I become. Mastery is never ending and there’s always room for improvement.

Since I love playing the drums, it’s easy to put in the effort.

It’s the other things, all the business stuff, such as marketing, sales, and finance that we forget about when it comes to following our passion. (Unless you passion is all the business stuff of course!)

There are a lot of different skillsets you won’t have but will need to learn.

When you commit to your passion and craft you’ll need to be a life-long learner.

3. You’ll need support

“Be strong, be fearless, be beautiful. And believe that anything is possible when you have the right people there to support you.” – Misty Copeland

When I decided to pursue my passion of music, I surrounded myself with people who had a common vision and helped me stay focused and inspired.

This is fortunate for me, because I wasn’t expecting to face so much self-doubt, fear, and all of the other inner-battles that came with following my passion.

We all need emotional support. We need people to help us keep perspective, and to provide uplifting, optimistic, and affirmative thoughts.

We need people we trust whom can provide counsel durning uncertain times.

Don’t go at it alone. The people you surround yourself with make all the difference.

Who do you have that will cheer you on? Who believes in you and supports your dream?

4. Don’t forget to make a difference

“If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose.” —Bishop T.D. Jakes

Passion is dormant potential without a purpose to go along with it.

Passion + Making a Difference = Your Calling.

If you want to get paid for your “calling” you need to make a difference and have a positive impact.

You need to uncover how to add value and provide service using your passion and talents.

Assess how your passion can help other people.

Ask people what their biggest challenge is.

What problem do they have that you can solve?

Where does your passion meet the needs of others?

Caveat: Sometimes a passion is just a hobby. Buy hey, if it’s possible to get paid for it, why not try?

5. Patience will be tested

“He that can have patience can have what he will.” ― Benjamin Franklin

We live in a time of immediate gratification. We want to be an overnight success and get paid for work we love.

The reality is, there will be hardships and your patience will be tested.

We often underestimate how long something takes to accomplish. This is called the planning fallacy.

We don’t take into account the unexpected challenges, change of plans, mistakes, and strategic pivots that will occur.

For me, the past 6 months has been the most difficult. We (Yes You Are) had an unexpected delay with finishing our debut album, and it’s been hard to be patient.

The caliber of the album we’re working on takes serious time, and it’s different than what I’ve experienced in the past.

I underestimated how long it would take, and have had to practice patience more times that I wanted to.

When you go all in, patience becomes a part of the journey.

And of course, stick with it

“There is no passion to be found playing small—in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” —Nelson Mandela

If I’ve learned anything from following my passion, it’s to stick it out even when you want to give-up. It’s said that people give up when their big break is right around the corner.

Don’t throw in the towel during the last round. If you’re committed to your craft and willing to work through challenges, it WILL happen!

Following your passion takes hard work and dedication. It’s difficult and uncertain, which is why people choose the path of least resistance instead.

Having a career you love comes with hard work, courage, and commitment.

If you’re willing to go through the hard work up front, you can end up with a vocation that stirs your soul and makes you feel alive!

Photo credit: Ilya Yakover