Today’s post might be a bit controversial, especially in the life coaching industry. But I’ve never shied away from sharing things people told me not to share before.
Recently, one of my clients who is still in college was worried about finding a job in her field after graduation. Her mentors and fellow classmates had latched onto the idea that you should follow your passion.
One person of great influence even told her class that they should NEVER apply for a job at a company that they’re not 100% passionate about.
This advice makes me so mad, but it’s everywhere! And many of my friends who are life coaches promote this way of thinking: “Follow your passion! Follow your passion!”
Psst! I’m going to tell you a secret that most people don’t talk about because no one wants to admit it’s true…
You will most likely never be 100% passionate about your career.
In fact, following your passion is a pretty awful way to choose a career.
Here’s the thing, we live in the real world with real concerns:
- Rent and mortgage payments
- Relationships to nurture
- Illnesses, accidents, and health problems
- Natural and economic disasters
- Tough choices that are rarely black and white
- And a million other things that affect our lives
As uncool as this sounds, your career needs to take care of you in the real world, not in a fantasy land where everything is perfect. And that might mean following a path you’re only somewhat passionate about in order to have your other needs met.
OK, you’re probably thinking, “How can you say that, Sage? You’re living the dream!”
Well, that’s not entirely true. If I followed what I’m 100% passionate about—what makes my heart soar—I’d be dressed up like Minnie Mouse in Walt Disney World handing balloons to little kids.
While dressing up like a cartoon mouse might make me happy, it won’t exactly pay the bills. And what about my husband’s job? I can’t ditch him and our puppy to follow my passion.
So, I’m a life coach.
I made my choice by finding my core belief that runs through all the jobs I’ve had in the past. Laura Simms of Create As Folk calls this your “through-line.” It’s the thread of your passion that ties everything together.
My through-line is making people’s lives happier. As a life coach, I get to indulge in part of my passion (making people’s lives happier) while getting the stability to live the kind of life I want:
- Flexibility in my schedule
- Steady income with no salary cap
- Being able to work from home or any place I choose
And I might just be better qualified to do this job since I actually get to talk with people instead of hiding in a costume.
What I’m trying to get at is that I don’t blame people for saying, “Follow your passion!” But a better idea is to find what interests you and go with that.
Besides, you can’t expect your career to fulfill EVERY need in your life. That’s what romantic partners, hobbies, vacations, loved ones, etc. are for.
Of course you love [fill in the blank: jewelry making, acting, skydiving]! But you know there’s more to life, right?
We’ve all heard stories about people who focus on their “dream job” and who fall apart or feel like a failure if they don’t get it…or if they do and it’s not what they thought it would be.
Seeing those people fail when they thought they were doing the right thing breaks my heart.
How determined are you to have a career you’re 100% passionate about?
If you follow your passion, will you neglect any of your personal needs?
My challenge for you is to flip your mindset this week. Be open to the idea of having a job that’s good, but not one that makes you drool with passion.
Do you think you could have a career that interests you, but you’re not 100% passionate about?
In the comments below, share your passion and whether you want to pursue it as a career.
This post focuses on Step 5 of the Life Editing Process, Make White Space for Personal Self-Care. For more about life editing and what it can do for you, click here.