You often hear the motivational phrases: “Dare to dream” or “Follow your passions.” These are well-meaning adages encouraging people to go after those things that could bring fulfillment and happiness to their lives. However, the mantras do not address the how-to steps nor such practicalities as whether your passion is related to your unique skills, experiences, and talents.
Having a passion for music is one thing, and having the talent for music is another. It would be foolish for a person to pursue his passion for music when he has no ability to back it up. Passion is not necessarily enough to get things done. You will need some tools to make things happen.
Before you venture out to follow your dreams, consider these important steps:
- Understand legacy – You need to clearly understand what you care about, what you are driven by, and what changes you want to create for yourself, for others, and for the world as a whole. This requires deep introspection and a lot of conversations with people who are familiar with your situation and willing to guide you. It requires that you do some fact-finding and systematic checking of your assumptions and their viability. Understanding legacy requires an acceptance that you will not get a single answer to what may be meaningful to you.
- Seek mastery – You need to have a clear understanding of the skills needed by the market or industry you want to be working in. Then figure out what you need to do to make your skillset fit the requirements.
- Seek freedom – This process involves cultivating your abilities to perform the work that is aligned with your legacy. Freedom means you can work with anyone and anywhere on projects that test your creativity, autonomy, and impact. It is up to you to define your idea of freedom.
Realize that you may not have just one passion in life. If a certain passion doesn’t translate into meaningful employment, try pursuing it as a hobby. Be honest and assess yourself along the way. Be prepared to re-route if what you are pursuing isn’t working. There’s no harm in trying again. In fact, it’s often a critical step in reaching your ultimate goals.