What is preventing us from pursuing out passion?
Following your passion can mean different things to different people, but no matter your definition, it seems people always have a reason why they can't do it. If you're someone who has always wanted to follow your dream in career building but never gained any traction, here are some advices.
"I want to learn the ways of The Force and become a Jedi like my father." - Luke Skywalker (Star Wars,A New Hope, 1977)
When we first met Luke Skywalker in Star Wars in the Episode IV (A New Hope), he was an overly idealistic young farmboy who dreamed of becoming a part of something much bigger than himself. His friend, Biggs Darklighter, had already left their homeworld to pursue a life of adventure by secretly joining the Rebel Alliance in its battle against the evil Galactic Empire. Luke couldn't join Biggs, as he was obligated to stay and help his Aunt and Uncle on their struggling moisture farm. After Luke's Aunt and Uncle were tragical murder by Stormtroopers, Luke decides to leave his hometown and join the legendary Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi and learn the ways of the Force to become a Jedi like his father.
We all have big dreams and passions. When it comes to our career building, we've heard the phrase "follow your passion" from a number of thought leaders. As encouraging as it sounds, how do we even begin to tackle something this large? Well, there is a way, and it involves more than just passion alone.
Dr. Tina Seelig, Professor of the Practice in the Department of Management Science and Engineering at Stanford University, states that, although passion is necessary, it is best to find the intersection between your passion, your skills and the market:
Passion + Skills = Hobby
If you are really good at something you are passionate about, but there is no market for it, you essentially have a hobby. Hobbies are great in the sense that it allows you to practice things you are good at in your spare time. For example, you are a great singer, but that dream of landing a record deal is just not possible. Therefore, you play with a cover band on the weekends at local clubs.
Skills + Market = Job
When referring to job search, it's more of a daily grind; you aren't passionate about the work you do. For example, you are great with numbers and have a job in accounting, as there is definitely a market for people with strong math and analytical skills. This job pays the bills (and sometimes can be very lucrative), but it may not be your passion in life.
Passion + Market = "Dream Job"
This is not real; it's in your head. You have a passion for something, and it's well in demand ... yet, you don't have the skills for it.
Passion + Skill + Market = Career Bliss
You reach the ultimate career path for yourself when you can find that perfect combination.
So what does it take to get from "Dream Job" to "Career Bliss?" A recent Harvard Business Review article points out ways in which we can develop our skills to fill in the gaps to make our dream job a reality:
Dorie Clark, the author of "Reinventing You: Define Your Brand, Imagine Your Future", recommends listing the 'concrete skills you need to develop in order to be successful at pursuing your passion full-time.' Once you have a list of necessary skills, figure out how to acquire them. Perhaps you need to take a class; maybe an internship or apprenticeship is in order. Clark suggests identifying ways to 'stretch your job description' to learn new skills. For example, if knowing how to build decorations for movies will be important to your new venture, see if your current job will subsidize a class in interior and outdoor design that will also help you in your current job."
We all tend to dream big. However, we need to be realistic as to what dreams are obtainable. In job search and career development, following your passion is about pursuing a practical dream in which you have marketable skills. And you don't have to go to a galaxy far, far away to get there!.
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