12 Aug How To Follow Your Passion – 3 Tips To Make It Work
I’m finally back in action as a blogger and I feel it’s been eternity. No, I wasn’t out fighting crime. No, I wasn’t catching Pokemon. And no, I wasn’t going on dates and breaking hearts. Well, maybe.
The updated version of my site is completed and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the new template. Also, no more shirtless pictures, whoop whoop!
To kick off my new site, I have a special guest post from my good friend and former colleague, Christopher Thiede. Chris and I have a lot in common: we love writing, we love soccer, and we used to work in advertising. The only difference is he spent a bajillion years in advertising, and me, well, I only lasted 5 months. Either way, we’re both connected and following our dreams more than ever before.
Enjoy this FANTASTIC article on pursuing your passion.
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”
For too many of us, doing what makes us come alive is a foreign concept. We are stuck in jobs we hate, on career paths that are wrong, or are simply not doing what we’re meant to be doing.
Maybe we’re chasing money. Maybe we’re on a path that felt right five, ten, or 20 years ago, but isn’t anymore. Maybe we’re just doing what we think is expected of us, and it doesn’t feel right.
Simply put, we’re just not doing what we’re passionate about. We might have a good idea of what that passion is, and even an inkling of how to turn it into a livelihood, but making that leap feels too uncertain and risky.
There is conflicting advice about following one’s passion, with some experts cautioning against taking it too far. If your passion is music, they say, and you’re no good at it, you’ll find yourself doing something even farther from your passion just to make ends meet.
Fair enough, but there is also something to be said for truly following your passion. For giving yourself over to it. For going all in.
Fortunately, there are real life examples we can learn from. One of those is Jen Jones.
Jen was on a fast track in her advertising career. A Midwestern native, she moved to New York to be at the center of the advertising world and worked at a cutting-edge digital agency, serving some of the world’s leading brands.
But something wasn’t right. Increasingly, she was becoming fed up with the minutiae of her job. To deal with the stress of her job, and simply to stay healthy and active, she took up yoga.
Something clicked. She had found her passion and began to follow it. By the summer of 2015, she opened the doors of her own studio, New Love City, in Brooklyn.
Part-time yoga studio, part-time co-working space, part-time event space, New Love City is well-positioned to serve the needs of the eclectic Greenpoint neighborhood where it’s located. Jones’ central mission, however, is to get her students moving, feeling stronger and empowered to take on the world and follow their own passions.
By no means is Jones getting rich. She said it was a tremendous “financial switcheroo” to go from advertising to yoga. But she is deliriously happy and it’s clear that she’s doing what makes her come alive.
So what can the rest of us learn from Jones’ experience? Clearly, we’re not all going to open yoga studios, but there are a few take-aways that might help others as they consider following their passions.
Jones didn’t just follow her passion, she let it take her for a ride.
From the time she took her first yoga class, she recognized something just felt right, and she wanted more. She didn’t waste time thinking about how great it would be to take it to the next level, she just did it.
When taking classes wasn’t enough, she took the 200 hours of required training to become an instructor, which left her feeling “partially baked.” “There are thousands of years of tradition in yoga,” she said. “I came out wanting more.”
At the same time, she was splitting her attention between her “real” job and yoga. “I felt like I was half-assing advertising and half-assing yoga. I wanted to give something my full attention,” she said. “I picked yoga.”
So she quit her job and began managing the studio, but even that wasn’t enough. She wanted to do it her way and she began harboring thoughts of opening her own studio in her Brooklyn neighborhood.
One day, when researching warehouses spaces on Craigslist for a presentation to potential investors, she came across a space she could afford on her own. She went to see the space, and before she knew it, she was signing a lease and being handed the keys.
At any point, she could have decided not to follow her passion anymore. She could have gone back to her job and put away her foolish dreams. She could have chickened out.
But she didn’t, because at every point she knew she wasn’t done yet. She knew she had to keep going to find out where it leads. You could argue that she’s still not done, and that her passion for yoga has yet to reveal her final destination.
Rely on past experience
Just because you’re changing careers and following your passion, doesn’t mean you have to throw away everything you’ve learned in your career up to that point.That certainly was true for Jones. She had spent a decade developing a strong working knowledge of concepts like design, social media, demographics, marketing and business, and she wasn’t about to give it up.
Instead, she put it to good use in developing the New Love City brand and making it stand out from other yoga studios. “It’s designed to look like a brand that people in this neighborhood interact with,” she said.
Jones added she looked to apparel and technology brands for inspiration. “The way I thought about the studio is very different and students really notice it,” she said. “It makes the whole place really special.”
Jones continues to use her business and marketing sense to run and continually tweak her business. “Our brand is a work in progress, but it’s not like other yoga studios,” she said.
It’s not about you
Ironically, when following your passion, you are the last person you should be thinking about. At its best, finding your passion means sharing your gifts and talents with others to improve their lives and make the world a better place.
For Jones, it meant serving the people of the Greenpoint neighborhood where she lives and works. She believes it’s her role to help her students become empowered, and it’s a role she takes very seriously.
“(Our students) come here because they like to move and they like the music and the way we talk about empowerment and how being active makes you feel,” she said.
The vision behind New Love City is that, by getting people moving and allowing them to let go of their physical inhibitions, they become empowered.
“We encourage students not just to exercise and become stronger, but to externalize their hopes and dreams.” she said. “Our purpose is all about empowerment, (about) being honest with yourself and what you want and need.”
Jones says there are so many societal expectations and external forces that cause us to limit and belittle ourselves. “This is a fuck-that-shit sort of place,” she said. “I truly believe that anyone can do whatever you want.
“If I can do it, why not you?”
About the Author
Chris Thiede is a freelance writer, content strategist and storyteller. He focuses on helping companies connect with audiences by telling real, human stories, but he also enjoys writing about people who have found their professional passion and purpose. Chris blogs at christhiede.com and Tweets at @chris_thiede.