Before you embark on turning your passion into purpose, you must identify how you actually want to manifest your passion. It may initially sound logical or desirable to monetize your passion—we’d all love to get paid to do what we love. But it’s important to realize when turning your passion into work it is usually never as glamorous as it sounds. Furthermore, the financial pursuit of dreams is not the only option for living out your passion.
Turning a passion into a job is a bit like getting in a relationship. It’s all bliss at first and you always love when they do that cute little thing they do. But then after the infatuation stage, that same cute little thing turns into the bane of your existence. And then things start to get ugly. And when things get ugly, your commitment may falter. Here lies the test of love–when you fight for them or break up.
It is the same with passion. When things are platonic, or simply a hobby or pastime, there’s not much pressure. You can take it easy. You still have your “me-time” and your freedom. But as soon as you commit to it for the long-haul, with the added pressure of generating income to sustain your livelihood, the sailing becomes a bit choppy. And here lies the test of passion, when you fight for it or quit.
So is it worth it?
This is not meant to be an objective question. There is no right answer. We tend to associate “following your passion” exclusively with dream-job goals. We believe that getting paid to do what you love is the pinnacle of success. While this may ring true in many of our minds, it is inherently subjective.
When speaking generically about passionate pursuits, we assume them to entail a career-oriented endeavor. Really, it is simply the pursuit of proficiency and pleasure in the thing that makes you come alive.
“Follow your dreams” is just like any mantra. Its message should not be preached or practiced in a one size fits all approach.
Whether the cultivation of this pursuit functions within or outside of the workplace, whether it is big or small, hobby or profession, well, that is entirely personal. Passion is distinctive from person to person. And for some, that may mean exclusively outside of the workplace. And that’s okay.
Money is not the reward
Passion, pension, and purpose are different things. There are the times when these separate entities fuse together. As fortunate as that may seem, it is not the mutual destiny or goal for everyone.
Money should not be the goal of purpose. If anything, it is merely a byproduct. If compensation your chief aim, you should probably keep your day job.
A purpose lies at the intersection of personal passion (what you do for you) and universal need (what you do for society.) Profit is not as much part of this equation. Therefore, finding and pursuing your purpose is not any less valid whether there is a resulting paycheck or not.
We are misled, that either you quit your daydream or your day job as if the two can’t peacefully coexist. It is a unique blessing to be able to profit from your passion, but passion for the sole purpose of fulfillment is just as rewarding.
“Where your talents and the needs of the world intersect, lies your purpose.”
Turning A Passion into Purpose:
Don’t compare yourself to others:
Identify the best way for your passion to manifest according to you and only you. This analysis should be completely subjective.
We can easily get distracted by the attractive lifestyle of mentors who are working within our passionate field. But if their process does not translate well for your own desires and endeavors, avert your attention from their carefully curated Instagram profile and analyze your life exclusive to you.
Whatever scale you see your passion contently culminating as–whether a random pastime, side hobby, temporary project, or full-blown career–pursue that to your standards. The embodiment of your dreams, whether grand or subtle, does not make you superior or inferior to anyone who is fulfilling their own dreams to the extent of their own satisfaction. The only relevant comparison is who you are versus who you want to be.
Know exactly what you want:
A passionate work life may sound dreamy and glamorous, but it isn’t necessarily for everyone. Some thrive in an abstract, self-managed environment. Others may flourish just as successfully in a corporate office, enjoying their favorite pastime on the weekend.
A passionate reader may find fulfillment in curling up in a cozy nook with a delightful book or curating a home library. Another bibliophile may strive towards being a publisher or editor.
You are the only one who can choose how to live your passion—outside opinions are largely irrelevant. Some of us may have many passions, each of which may take on completely different roles in our lives. There are those who master the backslash occupation, while others may passionately work on their trades in their spare time.
Expect that dreams require work:
Cultivating passion in any capacity requires work and commitment in varying degrees. Hobbyists, enthusiasts, and professionals all input some level of consistency and effort to ensure their dreams have a viable place in their lives. And the higher the expectations we have for our dreams, the higher the effort required to realize our intentions.
Be confident in your intentions:
Self-validation in what you’re doing can be the hardest mental reconciliation of pursuing passion. But if you don’t believe you, no one will believe you.
We are our own worst critic, self-imposing feelings of inadequacy or fraudulence. Sometimes the only difference between an enthusiast and a professional is the way you introduce yourself. There’s a difference in the perception of someone who confidently identifies as a photographer versus someone who takes pictures. A confident proclamation is half the battle to legitimacy.
Creative passion may also cause mental conflict and insecurity when we wish to monetize our talents. Adding money to the goal can taint the purity and innocence of passion. But that does not mean that it is dishonorable to translate talent into income. Monetization especially exaggerates the level of work and commitment, as now your passion is directly connected to your survival.
Passion is worth striving for in a business setting because of the simultaneous achievement of fulfilling your pockets and yourself. We all generally recognize the inevitable priority of money. So, receiving compensation while achieving our own fulfillment simply kills two birds with one stone.
That is not to say to replace the depth that is usually intrinsically tied to our souls with the shallow pursuit of money. But when you can invest the majority of your time towards fulfilling your own passionate pursuits in place of a passionless J-O-B, you may find a more consistent sense of happiness.
Monetized passion and creativity flourish best from a balance of abstract talent and structured business acumen. This balance is usually where passionate businesses find their greatest obstacles.
Expect growing pains:
It is easy to wax poetic on all the daydreams your passion may inspire. The hard part comes when the dream must reconcile with reality. And this growing pain is usually where many of us give up and settle for less. The reality of pursuing passion is that you have to be strong and persistent because reality will throw everything it has to derail you towards the path of mediocrity. Mediocrity was never meant for anyone, and subjectively, an extraordinary life is waiting to be achieved by each of us according to our own standards.
Have you chosen to turn your passion into purpose? What are you doing in order to merge the two?
Lauren is based in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to writing here on Pursuit of Daydreams, Lauren’s daydreams consist of all forms of design: Graphic, Fashion, Web, Interior, Art. On any given day, she can be found preoccupied with at least one of the above. She is happiest with a bowl of ice cream in hand.
Also published on Medium.