7 Common Myths About Following Your Passion
You hear it all the time: “Follow your passion!” “Follow your heart!“ or “Follow your dreams!” But what exactly do those catchy phrases actually mean and, more specifically, what do they not mean?
As a personal brand strategist, I help ambitious solopreneurs use their strengths and knowledge to pursue work they love. To do this, I give them encouragement to share that unique thing that not only lights them up, but also simultaneously highly benefits a unique group of people and makes the world a better place. I also gently infuse a dose of reality when it comes down to what it actually takes to do what they want to do, with the intention of busting open some of their pre-conceived notions about the ever-so-popular phrase, “follow your passions.”
There are several common assumptions I have encountered about “following your passions.” Some are completely romanticized ideas and others play on the fear, limitation, and scarcity mindset, but the assumptions in either category are indeed myths.
Below are seven of the most common myths about “following your passions.”
Myth #1: Pursuing Work You Are Passionate about is Selfish and Egoistic
Many of my clients express feelings of guilt about pursuing work that has more meaning to them or that uses their passions. They have voiced fears that their dreams of finding more rewarding work are ego-driven. A common theme that emerges is, “Why should I be able to do …? or “Who am I to…?” Well, I say “Who are you to not?”
There is a common fear that spending time focusing on your passions is greedy and selfish to others, when in fact the opposite is true.
Studies have shown that pursuing and engaging in activity that you are passionate about increases happiness and well-being. In fact, a study published in the Journal of Happiness Studies suggests that having two “harmonious passions” is even more beneficial than just one!
And the benefits don’t stop at you: when a person is fulfilled and happy, it is actually beneficial to the people around them as well. In a study conducted by Harvard researchers, they found that when a person becomes happy, a friend living close by has a 25 percent higher chance of becoming happy themselves. A spouse experiences an 8 percent chance of being happy themselves and for next-door neighbors, it’s 34 percent.
So not only can following your passions make you happy, it can also potentially make others happy too!
Myth #2: Passion Is All It Takes to Create Success or “Do What You Love, and the Money Will Follow”
Building a successful career or business by following your passion does not guarantee success or wealth, even if you are great at what you do. It does not mean you have the skills or knowledge that you need to bring that passion to your market.