Guest Post by Mike James
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” said the late great Steve Jobs, founder of Apple and entrepreneur extraordinaire.
British businesswoman and The Body Shop founder Anita Roddick put it like this: “To succeed, you have to believe in something with such a passion that it becomes a reality.”
So, if passion is a key ingredient in becoming successful in business, how do you go about finding yours? Some people are lucky and instinctively know which route to pursue. For the rest of us, a little detective work may be needed.
Close One Door to Open Another
Are you stuck in a so-so job just because you haven’t worked out what it is that you really want to do with your life? Rather than waiting for inspiration to strike before deciding to leave your job, you should change your thinking. If the current career path isn’t right for you, then don’t do it. No new ideas will come to you while you’re busy with your old job – the energy waves are blocked, so to speak.
However, if you force yourself into a new situation (i.e. by leaving your job), a change of perspective will immediately propel you forward on your journey. It will become very clear very quickly that you need to think of your next step – today, not maybe sometime next month. While this may be a little uncomfortable at first, it can also be very powerful. Suddenly you’re able to dedicate all your time to finding your passion in life.
Reconnect with Your Innate Curiosity
Did you know that the architect and designer Frank Lloyd Wright loved playing with wooden blocks when he was little? A good place to start looking for your passion is your childhood. What did you love doing as a child, even before you learned to judge according to parental, educational or societal norms? Make a list of all the positive memories you have – activities, events, interests, even foods you remember enjoying – and see if there is still a connection.
Don’t worry about how unimportant or worthless these interests may seem to you now. The idea of pursuing them is to gain a greater understanding of your unique motivations – who you are and what makes you tick. Things have a way of coming full circle in a way that you may not understand right now.
Steve Jobs’ love of typefaces is a classic example. His early interest in calligraphy led him to take a class on the subject while still at college. Who knew then that he was going to be spearheading a revolution in design-led computers, complete with the seismic shift in typefaces that the Mac is so well known for?
Imagine Your Ideal Future
Have you ever asked yourself what you would do if you had a billion dollars? It’s a great exercise to find out what your real passion could be. Once you’d paid off the mortgage, secured the family’s future and splashed some cash on fast cars and expensive holidays – what would you do? Write a novel? Work with a children’s charity? Create designer cakes? Teach yoga and meditation?
In order to visualize your ideal future, it might help to make a Vision Board. Take a large sheet of cardboard and write your name in the middle. Collect images, newspaper articles, quotes, poems, inspirational people and anything else that inspires you and, bit by bit, create a collage of who you want to become. As the board evolves over time, you will become more aware and focused on the direction you want to pursue.
Just Do It!
You don’t need a business plan before you start doing what you love; the important bit is that you actually do it. If you want to be a painter, then set yourself up with a little studio and paint every day. If cooking is your passion, find someone to cook for. If your business idea involves garden design, then get outside and get your fingers green.
Refine your craft, take workshops and courses to develop your skills and look to connect with like-minded people in your area. Slowly, you will start to build up a knowledge of your industry, make commercial contacts and refine your thinking about how you could build a business based on your passion.
Your business plan will evolve naturally, and by the time you’re properly set up as a commercial entity, you will no longer feel like a beginner; you’ll be an authority in your field.
The Sky’s the Limit
Once your career is developing on your terms, you’re the only person responsible for its growth. If you set yourself a ceiling, you may be limiting your professional success.
Take business descriptions and job titles, for instance. There’s a big difference between a “freelance copywriter” and the “owner of a marketing consultancy.” How about a “party cook” and “head chef of a professional catering business?”
As your professional confidence grows, empower yourself to do more. The sky is the limit as far as your business is concerned because it is built on your life’s passion.
Mike James is an independent content writer working together with UK experience day provider Into the Blue.