Thoughts: Letting Your Passion Follow You

This NY Times article from a couple weeks ago got me thinking quite a bit.  The author explained, how we are always told to “follow our passion” but ultimately (very thoughtfully) concludes that had he necessarily followed his passion right off the bat after school, he might not necessarily be in the (very happy) place he is today.  I couldn’t agree more.  My own career trajectory has been a bit of a bouncy one… starting out in retail buying… leveraging a connection I made there to get into marketing…  starting a blog, and leveraging the blog to get a job in social media.  Each one of those roles has been so fundamentally different, all the while building up different skill sets and leading me to the place I’m in today.

One point in particular really resonated with me.  “Every time our work becomes hard, we are pushed toward an existential crisis, centered on what for many is an obnoxiously unanswerable question: “Is this what I’m really meant to be doing?” This constant doubt generates anxiety and chronic job-hopping.”   I found these words to be very encouraging.  In both blogging and my day job, I frequently wonder if I’m living up to my potential.  There are challenging moments at work, tough days of blogging.  Traffic will dip, comments will wane, and I’ll wonder if I’m adding any actual value to the Internet – or just creating more clutter.  The reality is that these tougher times are what make us better at our jobs, better bloggers, better people.  If things were always easy (even in your dream job) you would never progress to the next level.

Instead of following your passion, he advises letting it follow you.  To do this often takes patience, but I have to say… I agree, wholeheartedly.  What do you think?  How do you stay motivated when the going gets tough?

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Comments

  1. christin schindewolf says 10.22.12

    a bottle of wine. 

  2. Between your post on turning 31 and this one, I’m loving your blog even more than I did before. (Plus, I used Cal Newport’s tips when I was a college student to get ahead on work and be more productive, so two thumbs up for the whole thing.)

    Hope you had a great time in Barca!

  3. Charlotte Walker says 10.22.12

    This is a great post and I couldn’t agree more. I have constantly job hopped and  have the feeling of not being where I thought I would be, I try not to let it effect me but use it as a push to get better  and try new things. 

    On another note – I always loved reading your blog you can really tell all your hard-work is paying off,  you post such a fab selection of lovely things. 

    Lotts x 

    http://lottsandlots.blogspot.co.uk/

  4. See Song Designs says 10.22.12

    I’m so happy your wrote this post! It’s great to know that so many people can identify with the indecision and stress that comes with trying to figure out what you love to do.

    I can definitely relate in being in my own quarter life crisis. I started my career in public accounting, and I struggled to figure out if it was really what I’m meant to be doing for the rest of my life. I’m forever grateful for the skills and connections I’ve gained, and my stress and unhappiness at work helped cultivate my love for art and creating as a stress reliever. I ended up starting my own jewelry line recently where my artsy side can come out. My new challenges are balancing my day job while trying to make it in the jewelry world, but it’s great to be on the road to figuring out what you’re passionate about!

    http://www.etsy.com/shop/SeeSongDesigns

  5. Bettina says 10.22.12

    Thoughts like his, letting your passion follow you, definitely help me get through the tough times. I like to believe everything happens for a reason and then it’s up to us to help to look inside ourselves to understand why something has or is happening. I am not doing what I’d love to be doing, but I’m working within some form of it, so to me that means I’m picking up skills for a reason. Sometimes me friend will tell me it’s just optimistic thinking, but I really believe that every experience happens for a reason and helps you grow as person, regardless of whether or not you feel it should. This is why I like your blog so much, because you acknowledge that life and the ideal path your heart would like to take is not easy. So many people I feel want the easy way and one clear set direction, but life just doesn’t work that way in the long haul. 

  6. Akaleistar says 10.22.12

    Thank you for highlighting this article!

  7. I completely agree with this too. I actually did follow my passion right out of school, and it didn’t really work out the way I thought it would. As a young 20-something, this was so discouraging, but now looking back, the internships and jobs I had as a result of that (now former) passion, like your trajectory too, led to different gigs, different skill sets, and ultimately put me in the seat I am today, which is a pretty good one. Even on days when my work is tough, I remind myself of the hard earned lesson that the grass is basically NEVER greener on the other side. Every job, no matter what it is, has its downfalls. I figure if I’m meeting my overall goals, feel challenged in my work, and have room to grow, then it’s really not the worst thing in the world (because I’ve honestly had some pretty terrible jobs that didn’t allow for any of these things, and just hardcore sucked. Have I ever told you about the job in which I had to dress up as a giant chicken? And yes, this was a post-college, 9-6, office job. There may still be photo evidence).

    In situations like that, I would turn to Christin’s plan. It never fails.

  8. lara / the glossarie. says 10.28.12

    i am OBSESSED with this post. as someone who is teetering on the edge of hopping to yet another job, it’s exactly what i needed to read. and i think that staying motivated when the going gets tough is as simple as doing exactly that – just keep going!