Ignite your passion? Your probably exactly what that is? Here's another question for you. What do you want to be when you grow up? It's one of the most common questions you've been asked other than favorites "Chicken or Beef?" and "Boxers or Briefs?" And when you were eight years old your answer was probably along the lines of firefighter, policeman, scientist, race car driver or the lofty ambition of ballerina princess astronaut. For many of us adulthood proved an alternate career along with the realization that there is no Santa Claus and unlike the iconic scene from Disney's Fantasia, pots and pans in fact cannot wash and dry themselves. We learned to tuck away dreams as merely apart of childhood. The downturn of the economic market gave an added reason for the deficiency of going out and and reaching your dreams. Leaving many college grads with an extra shot of bitterness along with the abandonment of optimism. For many, dreaming seems hopeless when you find yourself living off the meager ramen you found yourself depending on in your undergrad days. But dreams, hopes and aspirations are no form of child's play but exist as real and breathing things. In a lot of ways your dreams are a lot like you, they develop along the same lines as you do. They go through awkward stages-like your teens, center on meaningless thrills-like your 20s, and eventually smooth out into concrete visions-like your 30s. But it's easy to lose your ambitions while punching a clock. I, Shavon Coleman, on behalf of 4-Star Explorer want show you some ways to refuel your drive and ignite your passion.
But what exactly do I know? I'm working day by day as part of the huddled masses myself. It felt necessary to consult someone with experience on how to overcome some of the common pitfalls of adjusting to unideal employment situations.
Journalist and author of Tap Your Passion: The Art and Heart of Reporting and Writing, Lou Carlozo has a whole host of credentials a few being: a former Chicago Tribune columnist, contributor for DealNews.com and Reuters Wealth, as well as playing what some may peg as a nutty professor for National Louis University. When asked to speak on the subject of passion, Lou first pinpoints the problem with initiating progress. It's sad for me to think that most people live crossing days off the calendar at work, dreading Monday mornings, or simply trying to find meaning in anything other than their job. That comes from finding what you're passionate about, and I think it only gets deeper as you explore the ways that your passion can make a larger contribution. For many this analysis comes from trial and error. Lou often jokes that the only reason he first got into journalism was because it was the only job that didn't demand he cut his hair. Now 20+ years later, writing has become his weapon of choice. But Lou is no stranger to work setbacks. "In 25 years as a professional writing, I have experienced a broad range of ups and downs. I got laid off in 2009, I began to explore the meaning of passion more thoroughly." After his departure from the Chicago Tribune, Lou had to reassess his skills. Mostly writing entertainment related pieces, interest stories and news breaks, Lou eventually added financial management to his metaphoric talent tool belt. " I've done a lot of work in the years since as a personal finance journalist, trying to teach people how to build wealth and handle their money responsibly. It's hard work, but very rewarding, because I can see how it helps people live better lives."
Helpful Tips for how to Ignite Your Passion
Start Today!- One thing stopping people from reaching their potential is taking the stance that everything will work out tomorrow. News flash folks! This ain't Annie. The first steps to getting closer to whatever it is you want to do is action. From music to owning your own business, you have to make an actual start. Lou also mentioned a great point pertaining to this. 'Dreaming of the day' is not the same as making a dream specific, present and true. You have to act in the present, and keep practicing until you achieve mastery.
For example, I can remember the day I came up with the concept of 4-Star Explorer. I had the idea in my head for months but I never did anything with it. It wasn't until I sat down on the evening of July 8th 2012, typed out a sort of manifesto of what I wanted 4-Star Explorer to be and started to plan behind that idea. Now, I didn't get around to actually setting up a site and writing articles until about 2 weeks later, but it was that initial kick off that framed the rest of my action for the publication.
Asses Your Talents- Ok, so you've jotted the down the ideas for your "Grand Master Plan." Now what? Start with what you're good at. It's a lot easier to build upon those skill in which you are satisfactory than the sometimes discouraging practice of focusing on what you lack. Maybe you're a people person? Hospitality can be applied to any facet of work or ability. Being a lifelong proponent for Google Search, researching can help pair your mismatched skills into a sustainable occupation.
Make Moves- Get out and meet people! When trying to break out into writing, the two most prized possessions is a writing crew and a mentor. The same applies to any facet of business. We all know of the advantages of networking but many times, being apart of a community of similar interested workers can be therapeutic. They can help you find tools that will aid in your growth or merely be a different set of ears to gripe to. Chances are, at least one person in your team has been through the same dredges. A mentor helps with venting as well but is much more focused critiquing. A mentor has extensive experience and offers you tried and true methods for success. Through research either online or word of mouth, start to build those connections. And don't be afraid. Most people are decent and will offer at least a smidgen of help to aid in your pursuits.
Be Realistic- In most cases you won't learn to master the guitar in one year. That custom cupcake shop might not meet your sales expectations for the first quarter as well. Failure is a natural part of life. We need failure to give us lessons and experience to build upon. In the end, the final person to have the conversation of whether something is worth the effort is you. How's that song go? Know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em... ah, you get the point. Don't be so fast to run in the first signs of trouble but don't necessarily buy furniture for a sinking ship. Leaving not breadcrumbs but pearls of wisdom for us to collect and cherish, it seemed fitting to offer this last word from that sultan of scribe, Lou Carlozo.
Most people think 'passion' means love or excitement. People who read Scripture know of its more nuanced and rich meaning: It also means 'to suffer,' as in the famous movie title, 'The Passion of the Christ.' Anything worth doing well is hard. You will suffer. You will get rejected, teased and ignored. But if you love what you do--if you are truly passionate about it--your dedication and satisfaction will get you through anything.
Do you have an inspiring story of how you landed the "dream job?" Have any tips to offer on how people can ignite their passion? Share your success stories below!
Thanks to Lou Carlozo for offering his sage advice and well-placed humor that have helped me firsthand, seek and recognize my dreams.
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