Yesterday I commented on a post by David Siteman Garland about why blogging on a subject you are passionate about trumps blogging on a subject you are skilled in. After I commented, I realized that those of you who read this blog might be interested in a more detailed answer.
We’ve heard over and over again, from Marsha Sinetar to Gary Vaynerchuk to Marcus Buckingham, that working in your area of passion will bring you personal fulfillment (and often fame and fortune as well).
Some people have a tough time with that, thinking it’s a Utopian fantasy. However, you have the power to live in a Utopian world of strengths if you do three key things: feel passion, take action and claim your strength.
Passion is a starting point, not a strength. Finding out what drives you is an essential step in developing your strengths. Many are lost when it comes to identifying what they are passionate about, and its no wonder considering that most of us live in a culture that over emphasizes the intellect and dismisses emotions.
Did you know that people with brain injuries that have lost the ability to feel emotion cannot make decisions? In the video below, scientist Antonio Damasio talks about his work with patients who have suffered brain injuries. Though they can process data, they cannot make even simple decisions without the use of emotion.
If you are struggling with finding your passion, the key is opening yourself up to emotion again. What makes you feel happy? Excited? Involved? These feelings are all keys to finding your passion.
Once you find your passion, what do you do about it? Most people dream about it, study it and talk about it. Then they complain that they aren’t seeing any results and they just KNEW that “do what you love and the money will follow” was a myth. But what did they do?
Do is a verb. It requires action, real action. Speak in public about your passion. Start a blog. Write a book. Create a product. If you want more ideas for taking action in your area of passion, get the book Career Renegade by Jonathan Fields. It guides you through several types of thinking exercises that will prompt you to think of some amazing opportunities. The trick is to select one and follow through on it.
Claim Your Strength
Once you’ve taken action and have built up your experience and some success, you are ready to claim your strength. Start thinking of yourself as an expert in the field. Communicate that expertise. Look for opportunities to build your credibility by reaching out to people who haven’t heard of your work. Refer back to the work that has built your reputation so that you capitalize on the action you’ve taken to date. Make your strength the focus of your 30 second elevator speech.
When you claim something, it becomes a part of you. You own it. You have confidence. These traits inspire confidence in others, and the people you talk to will open doors you never imagined.
Do you have a passion you’ve turned into a strength? Are you stuck at identifying your passion? Not sure how to take action? Write a comment, and let’s talk about it!