A Guide to Following your passion
Follow your dreams. Easier said than done. Especially in a society that doesn’t understand that you CAN make a living off your passions. Or that when you say you work for yourself, that doesn’t mean you are in your PJ’s all day twiddling your thumbs. Those are the types of stereotypical responses I received when I first began following my passions. So if you’re already fielding the questions, “But how do you pay rent?” or “Are you free during the day to do this with me…” don’t worry, hang tight, you’re on the right path.
Why I followed the “Untraditional Route”
Early in life I went through a series of losses. I lost a large chunk of my family, my family home, money, status, stability, and the hardest of all a dear friend to suicide. At the age of 20 I realized, life is precious and meant to be lived. I also learned the biggest risk is being afraid of losing it all. Money will come and go, people will come and go, feelings will come and go. Once you swallow the fact that nothing is forever, things will come and go (which I know is a tough thing to swallow) it opens your mind up to seeing the world differently. If you truly have nothing to lose, than why not just go for it?
The last 9-5 job I ever held was at a call center. I walked around the block twice every morning pleading to myself, “Please don’t make me go in”. Misery was an understatement. At 24 I made a decision, I am not made to work for others. I have too many of my own dreams to fulfill and I want to be happy. So I quit. And people were mad at me for doing so. And my mom was scared for me. And I had no clue what I just did. But I knew I had to follow my instincts on this one.
That first break
I not only quit my job, but also decided to move to LA. As if I didn’t have enough change on my plate. I am glad I did. LA is the infused with the culture of working for yourself. I quickly began looking into freelance writing. I still remember getting my first ever freelance writing job. That to me was the solidifying moment that I can actually make this thing work.
Little do people tell you, following your dreams has more to do with how you think and believe than your actual skill.
I should by no means be a writer. I am dyslexic, and was heavily criticized in school for my slow reading speed and inability to spell. But I love writing. To me it is putting together a beautiful painting with words. My largest obstacles was overcoming what others had placed on me when I was a kid, and believe that I could do this for myself. I became my own cheerleader. Ever. Single. Morning. Until the messages of defeat were erased and replace with self instilled confidence.
Sure you have to be good at what you do, but more than likely you ARE good if you have the passion for it.
But What About Society?
My friend messaged me one day a few years ago a meme of what it feels like when you are following your passion. It is a line of several people representing family, friends, self, society with spiked bats waiting to hit you as you run towards your dreams. I began to laugh. It is so accurate. I am not certain why people don’t like it when you shake up the norm of living. Whether they feel threaten to challenge their beliefs, or they aren’t capable to do what you are doing, whatever the case just put blinders on and ear plugs in.
The biggest thing I learned was to accept judgment. It is going to happen, people are going to talk and it feels really uncomfortable but no point in fighting it. Don’t waste your time explaining to unbelievers. Let them think what they want and keep your eyes on the goal.
All entrepreneurs and dream seekers have faced the exact same scrutiny. You’re in good company.
Must Haves For Success
Is there a formula for success? Most people will say no, but I believe there is! At the very least definitely necessities to help you along the way. The first being, get all the naysayers out of your life. Their only intentions are to bring you down, and they will if you stay around them. Stick with the winners. Their intentions are to move upwards in life and will bring you up along the way.
Get a mentor. Find someone who you really look up to. Observe, listen, be in their presence and see what they do. Ask for help occasionally, but more than anything be of help to them! Watch how they conduct business. More is learned in watching than talking.
Create a network of likeminded individuals. No one can do this alone. And if you can, you’re simply not dreaming big enough. Help is required and it will make the process a lot more fulfilling. Have a group of people who are on their own journey around you. They will help in bouncing ideas off, introduce new concepts, and encourage you when you’ve hit a wall.
Delegate. When you get to a place where you are expanding and have commitments. Delegate some tasks out. Outline what is manageable for you and hire others to help with the rest. You will expand faster this way.
Constantly learn and constantly change. There will always be something new in the market, a new strategy, and a new social media outlet. Never get stale, take time to read articles, learn phrases and techniques and change accordingly.
Also if you passions have shifted along the journey, change with them! It is okay to reinvent yourself or move in a new direction. The greatest thing you can do is listen to that quiet voice inside. It knows exactly where to go.
~Ellese of Rock.Paper.Glam (rockpaperglam.com)
*photo shot by Koji Ishibashi (www.kojiishibashi.com)