Walking the Cat . . .

Because life's kinda like that . . .

It’s Not About The Money . . .(well, maybe a little . . .)

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In my last post, (actually it was my first post but I’m not about to quibble), I wrote about fashioning a career from your passion.  That may have been a tad misleading.  Passion, while easy (sometimes) to identify, can be difficult to find.  I know it sounds contradictory but it’s true.  Finding your passion is sort of like walking a cat.  You may start out searching in one direction, thinking it’s the logical way to go and then, just when you think things are going smoothly, you catch a whiff of something, the scent of a new idea, a new direction and before you know it you’re somewhere you never expected to be, maybe even resisted going there in the first place but, however it happened, there you are.  See what I mean? Like walking a cat. (Hence, the title of this blog)  There’s one other thing about your passion you may not want to acknowledge — it’s not about money.  Yeah, I know.  I’m talking about building career around your passion in one breath; in the next I’m telling you, “It’s not about the money.”  WTF!  How am I expected to build a career from my passion if there’s no money involved? 

Careers, and by “careers” I mean Work, are all about money; money for mortgages, credit cards, summer vacations, the computer camp your kids what to attend or their college education (or their orthodontia), or a new car, whatever. “He who has the most toys at the end, wins” (an outdated 80s mantra that many people still subscribe to).  That’s a lot of pressure!  Not to mention all those years of study to gain the degree that certified you were qualified for the job in the first place.  More pressure!  And what about the expectations of your parents, family,  friends and business associates?  Even more pressure!  Passion is a totally different animal.  It exerts no pressure.  It doesn’t demand you make money, or  move up the ranks to the executive boardroom.  The only thing passion expects of us is to be fed.  That’s it.  Passion has to be fed, to be nurtured if we are to derive full satisfaction from its pursuit.  And therein lies the surest way to find your passion, the thing that brings you alive with the doing of it, that gives you the satisfaction of accomplishment for no ulterior motive, only the satisfaction gained from the doing.

There’s an old, old saying that goes, “Do what you love, the money will follow.”  What is explicit in this statement is, you can make money doing what you love. I’m sure each of us can cite at least a half-dozen examples.  What isn’t stated is how long it will take “. . .the money (to) follow.”  Many, many people (myself included) have subscribed to that old bromide and marched off into the future, armed with little more than a passion and a dream, only to divest themselves of the passion and abandon dream.  Why?  Because their (and, at one time, my) only real goal was the money and it wasn’t following, at least not nearly fast enough.  If you truly, honestly wish to find your passion, (and profit from it), don’t think about money.  It will only result in undue pressure and suck every bit of enjoyment out of the process.

Passion also gives us the opportunity to experiment; by which I mean it gives us the opportunity to fail, to be wrong.   It’s one of the greatest benefits of doing something for the simple pleasure of doing it as opposed to doing something with the expectation of making a profit.  There is no downside to being wrong in the pursuit of passion.  So what if you’re wrong?  The boss isn’t going to rake you over the coals.  The water cooler gang isn’t going to make snide comments like, “Boy, you really blew that deal, Fred!”   You’re not going to be burned in effigy at the next stockholders’ meeting.  Nothing bad is going to happen.  What is going to happen is you’re going to correct whatever mistake you made and go from there.  Maybe you didn’t feed your passion right; you tried to do too much, too fast (the most common passion feeding error — you can’t “force-feed” passion).  Or, perhaps, you just weren’t as passionate about this particular thing as you thought.  It’s all good!  No harm, no foul.  If this didn’t work, something else will.  What would you give if you could do the job you do now with that attitude?

So, where do we find passion?  We find it in those things we do for the sheer joy of doing them.  We all have them, passions.  Writing (maybe take a shot at writing that novel you’ve always talked about), fly-fishing (could be now’s the time to try marketing all those flies you’ve tying for years in the garage), cars (you’ve been restoring that old Packard for years. Maybe it’s time to join an antique car club and see what happens),  crafts, painting, making furniture.  Every one of the aforementioned passions has led someone to a career; one that is satisfying, fulfilling and fun and, most importantly, doesn’t seem like work.  So what the hell are you waiting for? 

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Written by stevewthomas

May 8, 2011 at 10:28 pm

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