“Find your passion and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
“All you need to do is find your passion and you’ll be happy.”
Excuse the harsh tone off the bat, but I’m calling bullshit.
In today’s hippie, spiritual, New Economy, match-tea drinking culture, these phrases are tossed around by freelancers, digital nomads, and entrepreneurs.
To them, the recipe for life is to be passionate about what you do, so you can travel the world, work a 4-hour week, bring in six figures, and enjoy margaritas on the beach while Skype calling a client in no underwear.
While some freelancers live this life, it’s not as smooth sailing as they make it out to be. Of course, from the surface, this is what outsiders see.
The wins. The successes. The beaches. The travel photos. The staged Instagram pictures.
The funny thing is, what no one knows is people who work in their passion are putting in hard work just like everyone else. And then some.
Newsflash: it’s not all beaches, smiles, and tequila shots.
Sure, I’d argue it’s amazing to be passionate about what you do, work on projects that bring you to life, and not have to answer to a nagging boss. For me, it’s a life that resonates with me more than the typical 9-to-5-6-month-review-bullshit.
It’s fulfilling to create content, call something your own, hone your creativity, and build your brand from scratch.
But what most people don’t get is living your passion, let alone, staying afloat and being successful at it takes a tremendous amount of behind-the-scenes work.
Doing well at your passion comes with an amazing sense of fulfillment, but it also comes with a side of having panic attacks and “oh shit!” moments, questioning yourself, administrating, future strategizing, building your network, personal financial planning, isolating yourself, and so much more.
Oddly enough, these don’t go away as you move further into your freelancing career. In fact, they intensify the more successful you become.
And you sure as hell better be ready to adapt and lean into your malleability.
To that end, passion work is truly an adrenaline rush that’s not easy.
It requires developing daily habits that compound over time in order to make any of this shit come into fruition.
And in order to stay in the game for the long haul, you best be practicing good, productive habits daily.
So to dive further into what finding (and working) your passion really means, let’s debunk these myths:
1. “Find your passion and you’ll never work a day in your life.”
Expounding on the points above, just because you work in your passion doesn’t mean the work will come to an end.
Actually, the opposite.
If you’re an entrepreneur, you’ll want to keep evolving, otherwise you won’t survive.
And with evolving, comes working.
Working to strategize on future projects. Working to create new products. Working to develop a marketing plan. Working to stay connected with clients via newsletters, Facebook groups, or Instagram stories. Working to better your craft by attending conferences. Working to develop a new website. Working to write a book. Working to prepare for speaking engagements. Working to deliver an interactive experience for online clients. Working to pump out 3 articles a week.
The work never truly ends, folks.
But I’m a big believer if your vision matters to you, the work will be exhilarating. At times, mundane, but overall, it sets your soul on fire.
Above all, it’s something you take pride in because it’s your baby.
But just like a nurturing a human baby, it takes work.
There have been many times I’ve had writing deadlines. There have been times I’ve had to muster up the courage to do a Facebook Live. There have been times I’ve had hours of back-and-forth with my web developer for a page design. There have been times I’ve had to write programs at midnight on a Sunday. There have been times I’ve said no to happy hours to film videos for my blog. There have been times I’ve felt so deeply isolated from friends because of work.
And these are not even touching on what I do on the pitch from a coaching and training and motivating standpoint.
The above projects are just the admin work.
Alas, I’ve moved into acceptance that I would be crazy if I thought I’d be successful if I didn’t work on these projects. Sometimes, with passion work, the behind-the-scenes shenanigans, are the backbone of what you do for a living.
2. All you need to do is find your passion, and you’ll be happy.”
Passion work doesn’t necessarily correlate with happiness.
Sure, I’d say I’m overall happy, but with anything in life, it’s not always going to be perfect.
There will be battles just like everyone else who works a “normal” job.
There will be people you dislike working with.
There will be tedious projects.
There will be productivity blocks that you will have to solve with a cup of coffee.
And here’s another mind fuck for you: no matter what you do, it will be shitty…some of the time.
Never in my wildest dreams would I thought I would be a performance coach, published fitness writer, and soccer figure. And honestly, I hate 20% of what I do.
Alas, it’s normal to eat a shit sandwich every now and then. After all, that’s fucking life on planet Earth.
And what’s crazier is, if you think finding your passion will have you bursting out of bed every morning to start the day with a smile on your face, that’s not how it works.
Some days you will feel unproductive and stagnant. But hey, that is what it means to be human.
Even if you’re loving what you do and living in your purpose, it’s normal to feel flat.
Of course, I love what I do and wouldn’t trade it for the world, but I’m human just like you. I don’t always wake up feeling like the focused, determined, and energized Erica the world expects me to be.
^ Surprise to those of you who thought I was a actually unicorn. ;-O
This reminds me of an enlightening quote from super model Gigi Hadid, “if you don’t wake up every day feeling like a super hero, that is okay.”
Coming from a super model who is the best in the industry and loves fashion and what she does for her clients, it’s a profound statement. Even the top people in their respected industries are human and imperfect.
Now, don’t get me wrong: none of this blog is to deter you from following your passion.
I will always encourage humans to do so, especially if it’s something that elevates their essence on this planet.
However, we have to remember that passion work takes grit. It takes consistency. And it takes sucking it up when bad shit comes our way.
Because passion isn’t perfect.
It’s a process.