“Living your Passion” – Millennial Leadership Coach, Fyiona Yong lets us in on how we can combine our passion with our profession.
Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life. But how do we become one of the lucky ones who seem to have this whole job thing figured out? We chat to Millennial Leadership Coach, Fyiona Yong who gives her advice on how we can begin to combine our passions with our profession.
What’s the best way to find out what fulfils and motivates me?
The million dollar question that I usually get asked by my clients is how they can find a career that ignites their passion. So many of us are searching for the perfect career that combines doing something we love “so that we won’t ever work another day in our life.” Most of my clients admit that even though they are seemingly successful in their jobs, they want to find work that is more meaningful and fulfilling.
Often we have the feeling we should be reasonable and grateful for having a stable job especially in times of lay-offs and reorganisations. But then we meet someone who truly loves what they do. We can feel their energy and passion – their eyes literally light up when they start talking about their job. They are calm, fulfilled and happier than many other people we come across – perhaps happier than the person who we see in the reflection of the mirror.
Working with my coaching clients, I see that they tend to be younger and already have that unsettling yearning for a fulfilling career. As much as I wish I can provide the answer on a silver platter, the truth is that no one knows what will actually make someone else happy and sometimes we are not good at guessing for ourselves either.
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Here are three simple ways to start finding your passion:
- Embrace the “University of Life”: Discovering your passion involves exploring new things and whenever we learn something new, we feel incompetent. Are you avoiding trying out new things because you’re afraid of failing, or looking like an amateur? A lot of successful individuals will vouch that it’s a learning curve and that practice helped them to become great at what they are doing – especially when it’s something that makes their heart sing.
- “Quality Me Time”: Are you a person who loves to strike off things on your to-do lists? I’ve personally observed people not focusing on things that are really important to them.
You probably spend most of your day reading and responding to emails, sitting in meetings, running errands but surely not a lot of meaningful, high quality, and memorable moments. “I don’t have time to focus on that.” Does this sound familiar? Let me tell you something: Successful and fulfilled individuals make the time for themselves.
I personally like to kick off my day with a simple morning routine that starts with meditation, yoga, journaling and identifying “the one thing that if I do it, everything else will be easier and better” which is inspired by Gary Keller. Create a new daily habit that includes 20 extra minutes in the morning that would help you to set the tone right at the start off your mornings by prioritising the important stuff in life.
- “Consult your Life Board of Directors”: I’m sure you’ve heard about the value of mentors plenty of times. Sometimes you’ll need guidance on your next career move, but sometimes you need someone to chat about your frustration regarding your boss or encourage you to join taking that yoga teaching course.
Take the pressure off finding “the one Yoda,” and instead start grabbing a coffee with people who inspire you. You might even consider having trusted individuals who help you in different areas of your life: Create your so-called Life Board of Directors. When meeting with these people, identify one thing you’d like to learn about and have a focused conversation.
What can help so I start believing in myself to pursue my passion?
Deep down most of us want to live our dream lives but most people never pursue it because of self-doubt and the fear of failure. Much too often have I heard that clients, friends and family members want to pursue something big and audacious, however they don’t go for it because it’s easier to stay at status quo and in their comfort zone. Changes are extremely uncomfortable for many of us because we are creatures of habits and moving out of our comfort zone will create a lot of uncertainties that many do not want to deal with. Fear and anxiety will be the key opponent we need to battle in order to find courage to live a meaningful life.
One of the questions I love to ask my clients and friends is based on Tim Ferriss’s book “The four-hour work week”: “What’s the worst thing that can happen if you pursue the path that makes you come alive?”
If your fear to pursue your passion is too overpowering, this is the first question you need to ask. Perhaps you will be unemployed for a few months if you decide to quit your job and if what you are pursuing is not going to pan out. Maybe you would lose your “social status” with your family and friends. It’s important that you write down all the bad things you imagine could happen. I can assure you that the absolute worst thing that could happen is actually not becoming homeless, losing everything and everyone in your life. And hopefully you will also come to realise that those “worst things” will unlikely happen.
The next step is to answer what you would do if things don’t work out. What do you need to do when the worst case scenario will happen? Think about a Plan B or even a Plan C. Drawing out a plan that will help you get back on track and restore the situation is a great safety net to have. Once you have concluded on the worst case scenarios and what you need to do in case those become reality – it’s time to consider what’s more probable that could happen. How would your experience look like if you finally pursue what you really want to do? What might need to happen first before you finally take the leap?
Without any actions, a dream will always remain a dream. So what are the next steps that you need to take in order to progress closer to what you desire? You don’t have to take a bold action. Sometimes what it takes is a small step into the direction of your goal and it will motivate us to continue taking further steps to get us closer. Another thing you want to consider is the cost of delaying. What does it cost you financially? What does it cost you emotionally? What are you missing out on because you are not pursing what you really want? How will you feel 10 years from now if you did not pursue your passion? Is the fear of failure or the regret of not trying bigger?
To some people identifying their passions and purpose in life might come easier than to others – perhaps also because these people are better at self-reflection and are masters at self-awareness. But recognise that passion is something that can grow. Sometimes thinking about identifying your passion or purpose might sound like a tremendous undertaking. Talk to people in your circle who are passionate about what they do and find out what got them there.
Now you have a few strategies to help you to identify your passions and even gain self-confidence to actually take actions. It’s not only about knowing what to do but rather doing what you know. If you feel that your job really doesn’t excite you and you feel you can’t pursue your passion because you are struggling with balancing your finances, then read on…
How do I manage my passion and my finances?
One of our biggest fears that prevents us from pursuing our passion is usually about money. What if we lose everything and we can’t pay the bills? What if we can’t support our family? The first steps of following your passion can sometimes have a financial impact. Perhaps it means the cost of education, the cost of leaving a job, or the cost of starting a business.
Living your passion is not easy to quantify and evaluate. We do have to be realistic and despite all the passion in the world, it still doesn’t guarantee us a dime yet we still have to pay our bills.
I want to encourage you to find a balance and combine your passions with the necessity for healthy personal finance. Don’t kill yourself for any job you’re not passionate about. If you hate what you’re doing and it seems to consume your life, but you desperately need the money to survive, stop letting it consume your life. Understand exactly how you can make money from your passion. Do your research on other people who can make money doing what they love to do.
Come up with a plan that doesn’t require you to immediately quit your current job. My solution was to side hustle i.e. running a side business whilst still being in my corporate comfort zone and maintaining my major income stream. Running a side business definitely requires some planning and so I set aside a block of time each day during which I can coach others and design a business concept that incorporates consulting companies and leaders to bridge the multi-generational gaps. Time management is essential when operating effectively in both your day job and your passion project.
Execute your plan and you will discover the magic: if you truly love something and can dedicate of yourself into it, people (and the money) will come – it’s infectious.
But what if you decide to dedicate your entire time to your passion and it turns out that everything fails? What can you do to have enough money to get things under control again? The notion that I could get back to my old job or easily find another job for a while that pays the bills has made me more confident to pursue my dream.
What happens if my job doesn’t allow me to live out my passion?
Sure, there are plenty of excuses we make for not being able to find our passion, but having a stable job that pays your bills shouldn’t be one of them. Consider volunteering with an organisation that focuses on a cause that’s important to you. In addition to being a great way to contribute to a cause you care about, it’s also a great addition to your resume, and may even lead to a job offer.
Perhaps we should expect less from our work and rather focus on enjoying our lives more holistically? Thinking about happiness beyond your job, we realise that we’re perfectly content to have a job that pays our bills and to get our deepest satisfaction from some other part of our lives.
So, what are you waiting for?
This is actually not a rhetorical question. If you can come up with nothing else than lame excuses of lack of time or financial resources, you are probably afraid and that’s human. The aim is to become more confident so that you can get things back on track and that the worst case scenario when you fail is definitely not the end of the world.
If you are still procrastinating to take actions that get you closer to your passion, consider working with a coach or mentor to help you overcome your self-limiting beliefs and hold you accountable for your actions and goals.
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash, image #1 courtesy of Unsplash, image #2 courtesy of Unsplash