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The Path to a Passionate Life

You’ve lived and worked, always paying attention. You’ve learned what activities feel aligned with who you are, your values and your purpose. You have defined what energizes you. Ideas for passion based work or business ventures are revealing themselves.

Even with enough enthusiasm and clarity around an idea, next steps are necessary to turn your concepts into your life’s work, allowing them to take on many forms as you grow.

The great news about a career or business built on passion is that you love it and you are engaged. There are struggles and difficulties to overcome and plenty of work but you are motivated to figure it out and to do the work required. You care, and receive satisfaction and happiness from the work itself or its results.

road to horizon

So, you think you’ve found your passion, now what?

1. Get to know others doing what you want to do. Find examples of people who are successfully doing what you want to do and study them. Better yet, reach out to them and ask for a meeting or a conversation. If what you have in mind is totally unique, then finding those who have travelled a similar path will offer insights even if the specifics are different. This is the idea behind Roadtrip Nation where young people travel the country speaking with people in varied careers to hear their stories and gather advice for how to proceed. Watch these PBS documentaries at

2. Look beyond the product or service. You may have a passion for ceramics (as I do). I spent ten years going to ceramics classes and studios at night after working my corporate job. I was dead set on finding a new career working with clay or ceramic art in some capacity. In the end, I tested out a number of ideas and decided that I would be lonely working in a studio. As much as I loved the process and the product, the work environment wouldn’t suit me. As a hobby, I could have more interaction with other people while creating and that’s where I left it.

3. Get going. Once you have made a decision to move on your passion based idea, actually start. Push out of preparation mode and into action, even in small ways. Create momentum for yourself by doing the real work on some level. If you want to be a speaker, book a speaking gig. Don’t let the to-do list become the focus and the excuse for not starting. “I can’t start my business until I have a website, a company logo and business cards.” “I will begin a job search once I have a great resume and LinkedIn profile.” You can start without all your ducks in a row and you should.

4. Don’t box yourself in. Knowing your passion, doesn’t preclude you from wanting to change. A young man, whom I’ve known since he was four years old, is destined for a passion based life. He loves movies and has always wanted to be a filmmaker. He’s now in film school and also working in the industry. He marched in Washington DC and recently came home and told his mom that he might want to go to law school. If he does attend law school, my guess is that he will combine law and film in some amazing way and expand his dream to something even bigger. Life events will impact you and new passions will emerge. Stay open.

5. Manage your money to support your dream. Following your passion feels better when you can sleep. If you are constantly gripped in money fear, it will be more difficult to enjoy, or even start, your pursuit of a passion-based career/business. Preparation in this department is very wise. Know the source of your income as you ramp up into something new. Watch your expenses. Have back-up in the event of emergencies. Know your money goals and how long your reserves will carry you before you have to earn what you need from the new venture. Track your financial progress every day.

Doing work you are passionate about will integrate work into your life in a very different way. All aspects of life fit more holistically and work is no longer something you have to do, but something you want to do.