Posted: 28 Nov 2011 09:24 AM PST
Editor’s note: This is a guest post by Scott Dinsmore of Live Your Legend.
Is it possible to have your passion also be your core source of income?
We seem to hear more and more stories of people reaching the promised land, but is it really possible for the everyday person? Or are those 'lucky few' just that— lucky?
After years of research I have good news for you…
I bet you there’s something you love doing that someone else would be happy to pay you for right this second. I might go as far as saying I’m sure of it.
But let's start with a question.
Why is it that the people who succeed once, seem to have similar successes on future endeavors? Whether it's fitness, entrepreneurship, career, relationships, you name it.
Success begets success.
What are the things that consistently allow certain people to build a business and living around the things they love most, but allow the other 80% of the world to continue to drag themselves, day in and day out, to a job they can't stand?
Why can some people charge seamlessly from one creative endeavor and passion project to the next, experiencing all sorts of success along the way, while many others can't take the first step to finding their passion, let alone building a career around it?
The steps aren't foreign, they aren't cryptic, or hidden behind some secret handshake. They aren't complicated and in many cases not even that difficult. But yet they are still massively underused.
Why is that?
These questions have kept me up at night for years.
As it turns out, the answer is pretty simple…
The passionate people simply know what's actually possible. They are crystal clear about the steps that work, so they don't think twice in applying them to whatever the excitement of the day is.
The rest of the world doesn't know the first move to distinguish up from down.
It doesn't have to be that way.
Living Off Your Passion Is a Right – For Everyone
For the past eight years, and more specifically the past three, I've lived and breathed passion. I've done case studies with hundreds of passionate workers around the world, conducted countless experiments and profiled 14 of the top experts on and off the web.
Not only have I been obsessed with how people find their passion, but also how the seemingly ‘lucky few’ (hint: it’s not about the luck) are able to push through to the next level and turn their passion into a career – as entrepreneurs and employees alike.
My goal was to combine the art of discovering your passion with the science of making money from it. I recently published the results and process into a self-study course called Live Off Your Passion.
The results were invigorating. But as it turned out, they were not as complicated and unique as one would think.
Living off your passion is more possible than most realize. We just have to condition it.
I wanted to share some of the most profound lessons with you all. If you follow the steps below, I'm sure you can monetize your passion in record time if you want it badly enough.
The 3 Sacred Steps to Converting Passion to Income
1. Separate passion from reality.
We must start with brainstorming your passion projects in a way that encourages success. Unfortunately most people do the opposite.
As humans, our immediate reaction to someone’s new idea (or our own) often is to figure out why it won’t work. I know, sad but true. The problem is that when you get critical of something the moment the idea comes up, it gets stomped out immediately. It might not even make it more than a sentence or two before someone else yells out the reasons it ‘obviously’ won’t work. Then you feel stupid and move on.
But if that idea were given say five or ten minutes of brainstorming whiteboard action, along with a solid dose of open, creative and non-critical discussion, it’s very possible that the idea would turn out to have some merit.
Imagine how many brilliant ideas get killed too soon due to premature criticism.
This happens with passion every day—even if we’re just doing it in our own head (which is the most likely and most dangerous case). A lot of times when we task ourselves to think of our passions we only allow ourselves to play in part of the sandbox. Since the end goal is to find something we can make a living from, we subconsciously discard the ideas that are totally off the wall. We stifle our creativity without even knowing it.
In order to have a fighting chance at developing world-changing business ideas or personal passion pursuits, you absolutely must separate the creative and the critical stages.
Brainstorm your most far-out dreams of passion careers you can think of. Then wait for at least a few days if not a week or more before you start to get practical and critical. Mark my words, for every wild idea you come up with, I'm sure there's already someone out there making a great living off it (and that's a good thing). More on finding them below.
2. Be the expert you already are.
One of the most common barriers keeping people from making money from their passion is the belief that you don’t know something well enough to get paid to teach it to someone else.
That's just flat wrong – You know more than you think. Being an expert is purely relative and based largely on perception.
The crazy thing is once you find something you’re passionate about, you’ll likely realize it’s something you’ve been learning and improving upon for years and maybe even decades. You have more experience with your passion than likely 99% of those around you, simply because you love doing it.
If you’ve been on this earth for at least a couple decades, I guarantee you’re an expert at something. Give yourself some credit. Find what it is and find the people who desperately need your help. Combine the two and living off your passion starts to become a reality.
3. Do the impossible.
For decades, breaking the four-minute mile was believed to be scientifically impossible. Right up until Roger Banister did it in 1954. Then you know what happened? 16 more people ran sub four-minutes in the three years to follow.
We've been largely conditioned that it's not possible to build a career around passion. So many people hate their jobs and many of us have decided to accept that as a fact of life. I did too, right up until I started meeting people who showed me another way.
Listen carefully. The most crucial ingredient to loving your work and living off passion is to surround yourself with people already doing it. You must reverse the brainwashing. Spend time around enough people living squarely in their dreams, and living off passion not only becomes possible, it becomes probable. That shift in psychology will change your world.
My recent course, Live Off Your Passion, as well as my site, Live Your Legend, would not exist today if it wasn't for the 'crazy' people I spend time with every day. Leo is at the top of that list. He and others changed my thinking from "making a living online, helping people while doing something I love, isn't possible" to "I can't imagine any other way to build a career". Thanks to Leo and the rest of you.
Once someone knows the process and is convinced not only that it works, but that it is indeed possible, their creative and business potential becomes limitless. It's just a matter of time before they turn the passion of their choosing into a full-blown career.
Start surrounding yourself with people doing the impossible. Don't look back.
Who can you help right now?
Often the first step to living off passion, and the most realistic for those scared of the threatening income gap, is to start working with people one-on-one.
Remember, there are things you are better at (and enjoy more) than the great majority of those around you. There are also people actively looking for the expertise you have.
Find the right connection and you could begin making money from a passion tomorrow if you wanted to. It's that powerful. And it's that fast.
Need reassurance? Go do some research on some of the people charging folks and making a living from the skill and passion you enjoy. Are they all the next Steve Jobs? I doubt it. They just decided to focus their energy where they could help the most.
The great majority of people who have not been able to monetize a passion does not come down to lack of skill. It does not come down to lack of credentials. It does not come from lack of experience.
It comes from lack of creativity and courage.
Combine those two with something that makes you come alive, and the world will be beating your door down to give you their money.
Crossing the Chasm—From 80% to 20%
A recent study reported that as many as 80% of the people in the workforce don't enjoy their job. And nearly 75% don't know their true passion.
This is not a coincidence.
You don't have to be one of them.
What would happen if we could reverse that statistic? Think about it for a second.
If we can begin building an income around the things that excite us, our work will no longer be something we loathe. It will be something we can't get enough of. Which quickly becomes something the world can't get enough of. If we can do that, we can literally change the world.
The all-important first dollar
The first hurdle in living off your passion is realizing it's possible to get paid to do what you enjoy—to show yourself that you're capable of helping people and they are willing to pay you for it. Whether it's $1, $15, $100 or $1,000, the point is to make the massively huge leap from earning exactly ZERO from what you enjoy doing, to earning something. Anything.
People will find value in what you have to offer, but you'll never know unless you start offering it.
In my years of passion research around the world, one belief has become a part of my core more than any other: If you can find something you're passionate about, you can find a way to turn that passion into profit. I’ve seen too many examples of people living their dreams to believe anything else.
You just have to be willing to get a little creative.
So when are you going to join the 20% club?
You have the tools. The rest is on you.
For the next four days he's offered up a special discount for Zen Habits readers to get 25% off. Just enter discount code "zenpassion" upon checkout. Live Off Your Passion
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