Do what you love, love what you do. People have been following their passion to the ends of the earth since time immemorial. In the working world, though, it’s only relatively recently that the word “passion” has become a buzzword. It carries with it the romantic ideas of freedom, autonomy, and boundless motivation.
After all, if you love what you do, the work itself is its own reward. While we continue to be enamoured with the idea of following our passion, though, there’s far less discussion on the practicalities of it. Such discussions tend to revolve around financial issues, and while these are important, there are also a lot of other things to be considered and planned for if you’re intending to pursue your passion.
It’s not all fun and games. Being realistic about the challenges awaiting you when you follow your passion will help you plan and prepare better for them. Here’s where you can start.
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When you do what you love for a living, that love itself is your fuel. The path towards growth in your passion is arduous, perhaps more so than more conventional paths. Your love for what you do is what will tide you through, to persist and endure through all the setbacks you’ll encounter. For that reason, you need to ask yourself, is the path you’re considering truly something you’re passionate about, or are you just jumping on the bandwagon?
It’s a question only you can answer yourself. If you’re only hitchhiking on someone else’s passion, your thresholds for what you can endure will likely be much lower. There’s a saying: “he who has a why can endure any how.” You need to be sure that your “why” is strong enough to get you through anything.
It’s not uncommon for people to think that following your passion is easier than sticking with the conventional route. For example, being your own boss sounds like a great idea because you don’t feel as though you need to slave away at someone else’s behest. In reality, though, it can be harder. People who follow their passion often find it much harder to separate work from life, precisely because they do what they love for a living.
According to the Harvard Business Review (HBR), purpose-driven people are often at a higher risk of developing burnout. Those who work in helping professions like nursing are particularly susceptible to it.
The seductive ideals of following your passion are a strong pull. They can also, however, be destructive because they leave you with sky-high expectations of what your working life should be like. When work is play and play is work, you tend to have a set idea of how you can serve your work and how it can serve you.
You expect, for example, that you’ll always derive a stronger sense of meaning and satisfaction from it than if you were to take the “safe route.” As HBR reports, though, studies have shown that purpose-driven employees are often more stressed, less resilient, and have lower self-efficacy.