The word passion gets thrown around a lot these days. We’re told that in order to be successful, we need to do work that we’re passionate about. That we need to follow our passion. That our whole life is about that passion. That nothing is worth it without passion. You’ve probably heard all of those sentiments at some point, too, especially if you work in a creative field. But I think that what gets lost in all of this is the fact that following your passion is not easy. The work itself may be rewarding and you may feel like it is what truly makes you tick, but that doesn’t mean actually making the choice to follow your passion happens without struggle. In fact, the struggle is sometimes a big part of it.
I think that deep down, we probably all believe that what we’re passionate about is what will ultimately make us most successful. But this also comes down to how we as individuals define success. A lot of times, changing your life to follow what you’re most passionate about involves sacrificing your former idea of success. Following your passion doesn’t automatically mean more prestige or more money or more clients. It simply means that a some point, once you accept that the thing that matters is the act of following the passion itself rather than any success that may bring, you will feel more like you. You will feel happier, more content. But that doesn’t mean that getting there isn’t painful.
Separating yourself from your former definition of success, from your former 9-to-5 job, from your former colleagues and friends who believed you may be making a mistake by changing it all is at best uncomfortable and at worst downright painful. But this is how all change feels. This is how growth feels. Push forward anyway.
There’s no version of change that doesn’t involve losing something. Even if you were to ignore your passion and stay in the same situation forever, life will throw you changes that are hard, painful, and uncomfortable. So you might as well take control of some of the change and choose following your passion instead of pushing it aside. The worst that could happen? You decide eventually that you were a little off, that you want to try something else that would make you happier. In any scenario, making a change now will only make you more resilient and more open to change. There’s no universe in which you choose yourself and what you think is your passion and you fail in the long-term. Short-term failure happens to all of us, but in the long-term that change and growth and sacrifice will only teach you more. It will lead you closer to your true passion, even if you didn’t get things quite right the first time.