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Why Following Your Passion Works

by Jonathan on June 30, 2011

I am currently on vacation enjoying some beach time with the family. My kids were playing in the surf as I sat under a canopy enjoying the nice Florida breeze (the older you get the more time you spend in the shade). My brother-in-law asked me this question:

What can someone expect if they choose to follow their passion?

It really was a great question that led to a healthy discussion. I want to share with you what I have learned about following my passion. The road has not always been easy and I certainly have not arrived in any sense of the imagination. Yet, there are small principles that I have learned along the way that keep me going.

Why Following Your Passion Works

Following your passion gives you a deep, rich well to draw from. When you follow your passion, you are working in your “sweet spot.” You allow yourself to work on energizing activities. I believe that you can divide all work activities into green, yellow and red activities. Green activities are tasks that when you do them you are so energized that you lose track of time. Reading books and writing for me is a green activity. I can sit down and either read or write for hours and still be energized to do more. Time never drags for me. A green activity is a task that you could work 3+ hours on and still be energized about it in the end. Yellow activities would be items that you can do well but really do not love doing. Red activities do not come naturally to you. In fact, it is something that will take you twice as long to do as someone else. While at times, we all need to work on red activities, we should be looking at ways to minimize them. Web design and graphics is in the red zone for me. I can do it, but it will take me twice as long to do. This is why I always outsource these tasks personally.

Those looking at their watch during the work day and wondering why it is only 2:00 in the afternoon are spending too much time in the red zone. I woke up at 7:00am on vacation to write this post because I was so energized about doing it.

Following your passion opens up new opportunities along the way. Many people look at super-successful people and think: “Well, they just got lucky.” They just happen to be at the right place at the right time. They believe that success and wealth are an event. The truth is that success comes to those who are active. There is a long hidden process that is happening below the surface before the “event” ever takes place. The “event” is the result of following your passion every single day and one step at a time. Those that follow their passion are not focused on an event. Opportunities that have open up for me are things I could have never imagined when I began the journey. They opened up along the way after I took action.

Following your passion provides satisfaction in the journey and not just the destination. The current American culture is so focused on “arriving.” We want the big house, picket fence, nice car, and easy lifestyle as soon as possible. In fact, we want it so bad, we finance our ways through credit cards just to “arrive.” I have been in this trap in the past. Even further, we spend the majority of our hours each week working jobs we don’t like with people we don’t enjoy being around all for the sake of keeping up our standard of living that we really cannot afford. If you are in this trap don’t lose heart. There is a way out. There is no easy button and things will not change overnight. However, if this is what you truly want, you will make time for it. Start following your passion in the early morning hours before work, in the evenings when everyone else is watching tv, or on the weekends when others are sleeping in.

What you will discover might surprise you. You will want to wake up early. You are actually energized about the task at hand. You will find fulfillment in the creative process of following your passion and not just the result you are looking for. Do this often enough and results begin to happen. When you give your best to the world over and over again, it can’t but help to get noticed eventually. Especially in the Internet age that we live in. You can get your message to the world easier today than ever before. There is nothing more rewarding then being fulfilled in the work you do everyday.

Following your passion gives your life a sense of purpose. We all want to know that we matter. We all want to know that our life counts for something. Following your passion can begin to open up a whole new life for you. Sure the road is not easy and yes you will be discouraged at the lack of progress at times. Blogging Your Passion was something that I began well over a year ago on a social media site called 48 days and it is just beginning to gain traction in the last two months. Yet, I was so excited about the topic that I kept creating new content, providing value, and helping others for almost a year before it made it’s first dollar online. What kept me going? I was living out my sense of purpose. If you read my first blog post on Blogging Your Passion, you will recall that I created a purpose statement for my life which states

“My unique purpose is to use my creativity and coaching to support and inspire others to reach their full potential for the glory of God.”

Starting this blog was an application of that purpose. Purpose cannot be purchased, borrowed, rented or sold. It is the best of you that can bring out the best in others. Do you have a sense of purpose about your life? If you say no, don’t be discouraged. Just get really excited about launching out in the journey.

Following your passion positions you to give your best every single day. Ending your work day knowing that your work was given the best of you that there is to give is incredibly energizing. As mentioned before, when you are working in your sweet spot, time never weighs heavy on your hands. In fact, if there is any discouragement along the way, it is that you have to stop working. Yet, the flip side is sitting back, drawing a check for work that you know is not receiving the best of you. Our culture has taught people to head this way. Follow the money, they say. Find out where the big bucks are and fake it till you make it. Sure you may be able to adapt your talents and see some success, but you will never be totally fulfilled until you can begin to give the best of you that there is to give every single day.

There are so many more benefits to following your passion that could be listed here. Just to be fair, your talents have to align with your passions, but hopefully you have already come to that conclusion. Have you begun to follow your passion? Do you know what your passion is? Do you have a purpose statement that can guide your life and your future work decisions? if not, join us on the journey as we explore all of these questions in the days ahead.

  • R Angel 89

    This is a very beautiful encouraging blog!! I have started following my passion for English since I was 14 years old, and thank God I’m 24 and right where I want and belong to. Everything you said is so true.. But I loved the Colors part :D Very original and applicable!

    An important thing about following your passion is that this passion will be your strength when you’re brought down to that moment when you have to decide whether to give up or go on. And you go on in spite of all the difficulties you know you will pass through.

    I believe the greatest thing about passion is that it never fails to make you feel happy, and that’s a blessing :)

    • Jonathan Milligan

      Thanks! I agree with you.

  • Troi Jordan

    Wonderful article. I’ve been in the process of platforming and reaching out with my passion for language and self-help, mixed with my love of writing/reading and cartooning. I certainly have my days, but it’s really a good experience. At the end of the day, I want people to believe that they can change their life just as I am going after change in mines by following my passion. Besides that, I feel so much better knowing I own something. From a blog, Youtube channel, etc., I’m present in all of this and it’s wonderful! Your words on how opporutnities will open along the way is so encouraging! Honestly, it was something I *needed* to hear today.