Tag Archives: education

Just follow your heart and other lies people tell you.

22 May

Disney Lied.

It takes more than wishing upon a star.

Your Auntie Artsy lied too: you will need to do more than follow your passion and make a Vision Board.

Your parents lied: ‘just get a good education’ won’t work either. Neither will majoring in business, if your heart, mind and spirit is in psychology, or your hands crave carpentry.

There may be morsels of truth in all of this cliché advice, but none alone will really stand in the storm of our current economy or the rumbling of your soul.

So what is the answer?

I think it takes passion, sweat, and strategy, knowledge of your market, willingness to risk, an unwavering commitment and an eco-system of support.

You also need to have a valuable product or service to offer your customer, audience or client or employer.

Passion + competence + sweat + persistence + ability to risk + eco system of support  ( a mentor or many) + gap/ need in market for your particular valuable service, product or skill.

If you are trying to do this as a freelancer then unless you have investors, a rich spouse, or a trust fund, you may also need to hold down another job while you pursue this particular passion.

This is a good start.

I write this because I am sick of hearing this cliché: follow your passion, visualize success, you will be on your way. I am particularly sick of hearing it from celebrities and self help gurus who want to sell me their book.  But I have a hunch this is where many people stop thinking, and are blinded by endorphins and visions of fame and fortune.. because what comes next in the success equation is much less fun then eating hummus while making a Vision Board with your friends*.

I am also never a fan of soulless, practical, short sighted, market driven career advice, which is typified by many fear based but well meaning parents, poorly trained guidance counsellors, and banal online career articles.

So, I hate to be a party pooper, I want people to believe and follow their passion and make that darn vision board, I just really want you to keep going after that vision board is falling of your studio or office wall. I don’t want to see passionate soulful, intelligent people broke, and doing a survival job they hate, or unable to cover the rent because everyone is leaving out the last half of the story. Or even worse, because they mistakenly believed a ‘secret’ they read and now believe that the rules don’t apply to them.

On the other hand it is disheartening to pursue a career solely based on monitory gain. As Maslow pointed out, having your security needs covered can be a pre-requisite to strive for or explore greater things. However, research study after research study, shows that after a certain basic threshold, money will not make you happy.

And if you are trying to monetize your passion, you will need to treat it like any business and figure out where your audience is that is willing to pay for your offerings, and then reach out and make an authentic connection with that audience and persist.

After all this you may find that turning your passion into a way to make a living, actually ruins your passion for you.

Monetizing passion can be a passion killer for some.

So, you may find better successes finding a meaningful way to make a living that allows you to focus on your passion without the stress of making a living doing it. This is also known as the Sex and Cash  theory. Which has great merit and seems to be the path I have taken..happiness may just sneak up on you this way. Which reminds me of this quote from Man’s Search for Meaning:

“Happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue.”

Viktor Frankl

So, please, let me know your theory and how it has or has not  worked for you!


*I do advocate eating hummus and making Vision Boards with your friends. Just don’t quit your day job immediately after this invigorating exercise.