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When Following Your Passion Goes Bust

If you hang around motivational speakers, influential teachers, and inspirational coaches long enough, you’re bound to hear something along the lines of, “Just follow your passion.” As if following your passion is all you need for everything to work out. But what if you do follow your passion and then go bust?

Like I did. Several times.

Passion can be a powerful indicator and companion in life calling, but it can also get you off track. It turns out passion is complicated.

There’s a science behind passion that tells us it’s not as easy as just following your passion and hoping for the stars. Not all passions are created equally and not all passions are worth pursuing. The trick is to figure out which to foster and which to leave behind.

You can end up wasting time and resources, ignoring what you really ought to be pursuing, and then tiring yourself out on the wrong passions. And because brain chemistry gets involved, it can be physiologically difficult to walk away from certain passions when your better judgment is saying no.

Having a system for discerning what to do with your passions is critical. That’s one of the things we’ll talk about at our Passions Webinar.

Like I said, my passions went bust several times. Some were pretty harmless, but some were pretty serious. If only I had vetted these interests more intentionally rather than let my brain chemistry and other forces lead me.

Three that I’ll mention are:

  • As a kid, I felt interested in playing ice hockey. But that never got off the ground. Turns out I had to learn to ice skate first, so I quit. Can you imagine, I hadn’t even thought about learning to ice skate, BUST!
  • As a college student, I got engaged to a great young lady. But it turns out I rushed the engagement and hadn’t thought it all through. It ended with me breaking her heart and being the big jerk around school, BUST!
  • As a newly certified coach, I wanted to share the wonders of professional coaching with the world and enable everyone to find a coach who wanted one. So, I started an online coach marketplace. But having a passion for coaching is different than running a technology company, so we folded, BUST!

Although these experiences in sport, romance, and business did teach me important lessons, they underscore the complexity of passion and the necessity of having a plan for your passions. A budding interest is not the same as a passion but can quickly become a passion if you give yourself to it.

Is the pursuit worth giving yourself to? We tend to think of passion as a matter of the heart, but passion is also a matter of the head. Remember, there’s a science behind passion and it entails a lot more than feeling passionate.

Want to learn more about passion?


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