How to make a living out of your passion
When it comes to passion and work, people have very different views about the way you can manage them or have both. In a research I made one year ago, I have learned that, although they all agree that to be passionate about their job or to make a living from their passion is “the ideal situation”, “it’s so important and so rare”, they sometimes see it or live it as separate things: “It’s not compatible for everybody, it depends on the energy and how passionate you are about it.” “When your passion becomes your product (like for a web designer for example), and you add the time pressure and the expectations of the market you are expected to fulfil, this might kill your passion.”
Nevertheless, passion may become your work or your work may become your passion. In my practice as a coach, I work with women who are in search of either the first or the second situation.
Part of my job is to support people in finding balance between their professional and personal life, in leading a more fulfilling life, in realising their projects and in experiencing a deeper connection with all aspects of their lives. From my experience, a successful career based on passion lies in aligning your internal values and your passion with the external aspects (the skills you need to get where you want to be and the reality of the market). You also need to continuously relate to your passion and values and be coherent with them.
1. Find or define your passion based on your deep values.
To find your passion, the first thing you need is to know yourself: “To understand what passion is, you need to understand yourself ”. So be curious, ask yourself ques- tions, be aware. In order to do that, you may find those questions helpful:
- What am I deeply passionate about?
- Which are my true values?
- Does my passion meet my deepest values?
2. Get the skills you need to get from where you are to where you want to be (education, training, credentials).
First you need to know:
Which skills and credentials do I need in order to feel legitimate in that field?
Which skills do I need to work in that market/project?
What do I need to be recognised and accepted by my peers?
and then to get those skills you need. They will help you to bridge the gap between your internal passion and the external market.
3. Align your passion and your skills with the reality of the market by answering the question: how do my passion, values and skills meet a significant need on the market?
4. Continuously relate to your internal forces (passion and values), especially during the hard times, to stay motivated and to keep moving forward.
On the other hand, you might not want to make a living out of your passion, but you might want to find passion in your current job. This other “perfect situation” lies in aligning self-confidence, values and meaning and recognition or legitimacy in your work.
This 3-part process is encapsulated in the Golden Triangle that I use in my coaching approach:
1. Self-confidence: Believe in yourself, in your passion, your skills and your talents!
2. Find out more about values and meaning by asking yourself:
- Do I understand the meaning of my mission/my work?
- Do I agree with the values of this company/group/project?
3. Recognition/legitimacy which refer to both internal and external recognition:
- I recognize my right to be active in this profession/job/ project...
- My company/my peer-group recognises me as ...
When these 3 parts are related and embodied by a person, the Golden Triangle becomes one’s inner driving force, and passion can blossom.
Note: For this article, I ventured to do in-depth research on this topic and also to share with you some of my coaching tools. I interviewed about a dozen women from countries all over the world (Japan, China, Mexico, United States, France, Romania, Austria, Iran, Algeria and Germany) with very different backgrounds and professions and between the ages of 25 and 50. All the verbatim statements from the interviewed persons are shown between quotation marks. This article was published in Women's Career Network Newsletter. Read the whole article here