In this world, we are constantly being told to “follow your passion” and to allow our passion to make a living for us. But how realistic is this advice? How many people do you know that have successfully followed their passion and built the life of their dreams?
Last week I was reading an article by Jeff Haden: “A brutal truth about following your passions and doing what you love that few people admit“. Jeff asked a very important question: “What will people pay you to do?”.
And yet, for some people, “follow your passion” can look a little like this:
much to-do about nothing pic.twitter.com/fdU8QegFoK
— the Awkward Yeti (@theawkwardyeti) March 7, 2017
Unfortunately, the answer to “what will people pay you to do?”is often “people pay you to solve a problem” (Harv T. Eker), the same way that they pay me as a lawyer to be a problem solver.
It’s easy to confuse a hobby or interest for a profound passion that will result in career or business fulfillment. The question is – does that hobby or interest create a monetary value?
Now I have a friend who spent about twenty years as a “struggling artist”, even though he was an AMAZING artist. He paints, he carves, and he does some amazing wood-turning. He creates some of the most exquisite woodwork you will ever see! You can see more here: http://gordonpembridge.com/
After so many years of working part time at jobs that paid the bills and using all his free time to follow his passion, and then slowly creating a client base from this so that he could dedicate himself full time to being an artist, last year a couple of “viral websites” took his artwork and it was suddenly all over the internet. He was no longer an obscure, relatively unknown artist.
Now he was finally being recognised as the master of his art that he already was. He’s been a master in this particular area for more than 10 years. At wood-turning conferences and among his peers, his has etched out a very niche market with his ability and talent.
But does it sell?
Until he became “known”, he was still just a struggling artist that managed to live from his passion. Now, he’s being paid to do what he loves, because he has established himself in this market niche. I look at Gordon and admit I am jealous: his creativity never ceases to amaze me! His dedication and expertise to this fine art is just enviable. I’ve never had a hobby or interest that captivates me to that degree!
One of the problems that I have noticed in my life with my hobbies and pastimes is that, unlike Gordon, I haven’t dedicated the time, hours and studies to becoming an expert in that field. Robert Green, in his book “Mastery”, has pointed to the need to truly master your field. In some cases, up to 10,000 hours of experience and practice (such as through a typical apprenticeship). Mine, on the other hand, are simply hobbies. Not something that I can really say “I’m an expert” in. Well, some of them.
Many people try to turn their hobbies into their stream of income, without that investment of the time, energy and expertise to transform that hobby into something truly valuable. Without having understood the “mastery” of the field.
There is, of course, another way.
And that’s what I wanted to talk about.
Some of us — many of us as I am discovering — struggle with the idea of finding a single purpose and passion. And maybe it’s not supposed to be “one passion, one purpose”.
Vikki Coombes calls us “hummingbirds”, others call us “scanners” and “multipotentialite“. Having spent the last twenty years of my life in law, I had the audacity to tell Vikki “I’m not a hummingbird” and I can still hear her laughing now. As Emilie describes us “Multipotentialites thrive on learning, exploring, and mastering new skills.”
And that is me to the T.
That’s how I ended up with two law degrees (one in the common law system and one in civil law/Napoleonic Code system), two masters degrees, studying Spiritual Education & Enrichment with a view to carrying on my spiritual journey, getting certified as an mBIT Coach and now studying Innergetics for mBIT Coaching. I started getting coached about 10 years ago, and then reading NLP books along with books about self-movitation, mastery and leadership, and then started doing more courses in coaching. I have also, because of the Coeliac Disease, taken a huge interest in health and well-being, which is why I am so drawn to mBIT and Innergetics.
These interests in personal development, mentoring of others, and simply living my best life, inspires me to continue to grow, learn, explore and master new areas of learning.
I am blessed to have pros like Vikki and Bonnie Muenz in my life! With Bonnie, for example, I have identified my top five passions that allow me to thrive and feel that life is successful. Identifying five passions, rather than “just one”, gave me permission to study and learn and grow in multiple areas of life at the same time. I don’t feel guilty that I am training in Innergetics coaching, at the same time that I am studying SEE and also working on ramping up my law firm practice areas! It is all aligned perfectly with my passions!
For some people, there is a single passion that will drive them throughout their life. But if you are not one of those people, but rather feel like life is a buffet and there are many things you want to try and taste – do so.
By all means, follow your passions – but dive deep into them. Master them. Become so adept at them, that they are simply a second skin, one that is so uniquely yours that you don’t have to think before you do. The multipotentialite or hummingbird is adept at learning quickly and mastering, and then adding this skill and mastery to their existing arsenal of skills, to develop something new and innovative that exists outside the box.
I look, for example, at Grant Soosalu with this humble background: He has advanced degrees and certifications in Psychology, Positive Psychology, Applied Physics, Computer Engineering and System Development. (I can see how these fields are all directly related, can’t you?) I believe he started off as a “Behavioural Scientist”. This man is constantly studying and learning – and he has started to dive deeply into the relationship between the biology and physiology of the human body and how we can maximise our results in coaching through this knowledge. You can see more about him here: http://enhancingmylife.blogspot.com/.
Because the hummingbird or multipotentialite has so many skills to bring to the table, finding your niche for “solving a problem that you can get paid for” has more possibilities and options. You are no longer limited to just one trade or way of looking at problems.
This is not “jack of all trades, master of none” – this is master of many trades, creating a new field where none previously existed!
If you are struggling to make passion work in your life – I am happy to work with you as a life coach.