According to Merriam-Webster, passion means to have a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.
Many of us know a thing or two about passion, whether it’s between the sheets or about our ideals and beliefs. But what about when it comes to our business? Most businesses are sparked out of ideas that people are passionate about. It’s what drives a person even when they don’t see a return.
When I began writing over 15 years ago, the only return I saw was the feeling of joy bubbling on the inside. I wasn’t seeing any profit. There wasn’t an audience reading what I wrote. It was just my fingers making music with the click of keys. Watching words appear on blank pages filled me with such a fervor I hadn’t experienced before. I knew from that moment I was on the cusp of something grand in my life. Writing was something I was willing to do for free. Not to say that your passion shouldn’t yield profit. But knowing that you’d do it for free simply out of your love for it, bringing in bucks would be an added bonus.
Passion drives you when there’s nothing else. What I’ve found is some days I just don’t feel like it. Whatever it may be. I recently told someone that if I’m not 100% enthusiastic about it, I’m not going to do it. Passion has to be there or else…
I’ve found a few ways to determine whether it’s passion or a pastime before I invest too much time.
1 – Is this worth pursuing?
Figure out what excites you about the idea. Get out a piece of paper, draw a line down the middle. On one side put your likes and on the other list the drawbacks. Typically when you have to weigh your options, there’s already a level of doubt. Albeit small, it’s still there. Follow your hunches before going through the motions.
2 – Should I, Would I, Could I?
Should I pursue this? Would I get bored after a while, especially if it doesn’t pan out to be more than a hobby? Could I see myself devoted to this for the rest of my life? Those are questions to ask when deciding whether to move forward or not. True, passion grows the more you do work at it, but if it’s not initially there, it will take that much more effort to press the accelerator.
3 – Do I have the time?
Twenty-four hours can pass rather quickly the more you have on your plate. As the quote goes, “People make time for what’s important.” Is this idea you’re passionate about feasible with your daily/weekly schedule? If carving out time on a consistent basis to work on your passion sounds overwhelming, it may not be what you want to move forward with. Passion excites, it doesn’t overwhelm. It doesn’t have to be an hour a day. Fifteen minutes will stir you up enough to keep the motivation flowing until the next time.
4 – At what cost?
What will my passion cost me? It’s not always about money or even time. It can cost friendships, relationships, your sanity, and at worst, your 9-to-5 because you’re not able to focus because you’d rather be home working on your craft. You have to evaluate everything. Are you willing to let things go to pursue your passion?
5 – When the going gets tough
You realize why you started in the first place. What birthed your passion? What made it keep you up into the wee hours of the morning? What about it made you forget dinner and bathing and socializing over drinks and picking up the kids from school? (Please don’t forget the kids.) You have to remember why you fell in love and keep it at the forefront of your thoughts when you feel like giving up and in.
6 – Is it really real?
Sometimes what we think is passion is just something we’ve consistently done to avoid doing other things more pressing. It can be a form of avoidance. I took up esthetics some years ago and pursued a career in makeup artistry. You couldn’t tell me I wasn’t passionate about painting faces and waxing hairs off various body parts. I’d invested over five grand building a business in it. I went so hard after it I didn’t notice it left me unfulfilled. It wasn’t until I picked up a pen and began beautifying blank pages with stories that I realized I had abandoned my passion for a pastime. As a result, I donated every last piece of my makeup kit to budding artists.
If it’s true passion, it will always find its way back to you. You will always find your way back to it. Better yet, you will always find your way back to each other.
It took an honest friend (well, that’s what they’re supposed to be, right?) to point out how I didn’t have that “bark” for what I claimed to love one too many times for me to finally get the message that I had lost my passion. My passion for writing needed to be reignited once again which is one reason why I’m up at two in the morning finishing this article. And now I’m sure of why writing became my passion to begin with.
Do what you love. Do what makes your heart beat. Honor your passion and watch it honor you. It will never be something to pass the time, but something you give your life.