How to Turn Your Passion into a Career

By on May 15, 2013

"Money follows passion, not the other way around." - David Garland

How to Turn Your Passion into a Career

Close your eyes. Imagine you're on your deathbed right now. You're done living your life. You have zero time left. Game over. Forever.

Now, think: Are you content with the way you spent your life? What are some of the things you wish you had done? Is there a place you've always wanted to visit? A person you've always wanted to get to know? A skill you've always wanted to learn? A career you've always wanted to pursue? Ultimately, is there a life you've always wanted to live?

Right this moment, the story of your life is ending, and you'll never, ever have another chance to do any of those things. Really think about it, and let it all sink in.

Now, open your eyes and… surprise! You're still alive and well! You have your whole life ahead of you! Start doing the things you've always wanted to do before you're actually on your deathbed. Live your life, pursue your passions, and love what you do. Spend your life in the best, most fulfilling way possible.

Time is your most valuable asset. Spend it wisely. Spend it doing things that make you happy, and you'll be laying on your deathbed saying with a huge smile on your face, "What a helluva life!"

You spend most of your waking hours working, so it would only make sense that doing what you love is the key to living a happy life. If you're passionate about something, why not do it for a living? Right now, you might be holding up a hand and saying, "But…"

But what? It's that simple. It's perfectly possible to turn your passion into a career. Just look at me. I did it.

My little story

Deep down, I always knew that writing was what made me truly happy in life - I even majored in screenwriting in college - but I didn't really realize it until about a year and half ago. After I graduated college, I landed an office job, which was quite frankly mind-numbingly boring. Even though the pay was decent, I still became more and more miserable every day. Whittling away time in a cubicle day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year was pretty much a cruel and unusual punishment to an inherently creative person like me. I could feel my brain turning into mush, and I wasn't the least bit motivated to pursue creative projects like I was before I started the job. My mind was too occupied with work, and I would come home and veg out in front of the computer because I was too tired to do anything fun. You know that movie Office Space? That was my life.

One day, I went on Yelp and, for some reason, started reading my old reviews. At that time, I could barely put together a creative sentence without burning out my mushy brain. So I was sitting there, reading my eloquently-written reviews from three or four years before with my jaw on the floor. I had completely forgotten how well I could write! Next, I revisited my old blog and read some of the stuff I had written years before. I realized that I missed the old, adventurous, expressive Chiara who had disappeared after college. Right now, I was just a burnt-out office worker in pursuit of the American Dream with a salary, 401K plan, health savings account, and an apartment in the Chicago suburbs. If living such a life meant suppressing my creativity and ignoring the wonderful opportunities the world had to offer, I certainly didn't want to live it anymore. I was done being a cog in the wheel, and I was so ready to live the enriching, adventurous, and fulfilling life I had always wanted.

Right there and then, I started my freelance writing career. I worked at the office during the day, and then came home and wrote, wrote, and wrote. I barely had any free time, but I didn't care. I was happy again! I could finally reach out to people and help, educate, and inspire them - something I'd always wanted to do - and I felt creative, enriched, adventurous, and fulfilled - something I hadn't felt since college.

Six months later, in April 2012, I finally had enough clients to be able to support myself solely through writing, so I quit my office job and moved to my dream state - Colorado. I've been happily writing in front of a breathtaking view of the mountains since then, and I wouldn't change a single thing!

I had found my passion, and figured out a way to turn it into a viable career. If I can do it, so can you!

The first step of turning your passion into a career is the hardest one, and it is to…

1. Identify your passion.

If you're like most of us, you probably have a hard time identifying your passion. Think about what kind of legacy you want to leave behind after you leave this world. Think about what makes you happy and which activity makes you lose track of time. Is it helping people? Is it creating things? Is it trading stocks? Owning a business? Taking pictures? Growing food? Try the exercise mentioned in the beginning of this article ("Imagine you're on your deathbed right now…") What comes to mind? Really think about what your passion is. You'll figure it out sooner or later.

2. Find a career that will make you happy.

Once you figure out what you're passionate about, find a viable career that will allow you to express your passion. For example, if you're passionate about enriching young minds and helping shape the future of the country, you would make a perfect teacher. Think about all the aspects of each career that springs to mind - the hours, the pay, the environment, and the work itself - and decide whether or not it would bring fulfillment to your life.

If you have a hard time finding the perfect career for yourself, set some guidelines for yourself - determine how much you want to make, whether or not you want to spend time in school, and if you want to work for yourself or someone else. Those guidelines will help you narrow down the possible careers until you find one that meets your needs and allows you to earn a living around your passion.

3. Explore your options.

Once you have your heart set on a career, think about how you can bring it to fruition. The career is your goal. What do you need to do to achieve it? Is there any schooling required? Do you need to build a website? Is there an organization you have to join first? Are you able to set aside some time to work on acquiring the career you want?

4. Create an actionable list of steps.

As soon as you have your options all laid out, create an actionable list of steps that will have you acquiring your dream career in the best way possible. For example, my list was:

  • Create a detailed profile on Elance.com
  • Apply for freelance writing jobs every day
  • Get enough clients to keep yourself busy for 2 hours every day after work
  • Establish yourself as a writer - market your work online and beef up your Elance profile
  • Ensure steady income by getting regular/repeat clients
  • Make as much money as you do at your office job
  • Quit the office job and become a full-time writer

Each step is a goal to meet. Once you meet a goal, you can move on to the next one, and you'll reach the last one before you know it!

5. Do it!

So you have your list now. The only thing left to do is start the first step on your list. It'll happen before you know it!


 
Chiara Fucarino
Chiara Fucarino
Contributing Writer at ExcelLiving.com
A proud resident of the pristine High Rockies, Chiara Fucarino happily spends her days writing in front of a breathtaking view of the mountains. When she's not crafting words, Chiara cooks innovative meals, embarks on scenic hikes, travels to exciting new places, hangs out with domesticated animals, and takes her motorcycle out for a spin.

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