By Stephen A. Taylor, JD, CFP®

It’s vital to figure out what your Life Passion is, but don’t let the flapping mouths say you need to build your business around it to find true happiness and reward.  For me, my Life Passion is coaching, which comes in many different forms.  Coaching my young kids in basketball was the most rewarding venture I ever was involved with.  I also read to my kids in school for years and what I loved was the teachable moments that came out of every story.  However, I knew that being a sports coach would not provide me with the time and flexibility for the life I wanted to lead.  Bringing passion “TO” your job and having “A” passion are two very different things. When it turns out trying to make a career out of your Life Passion doesn’t work for your personal life goals, that doesn’t mean you can’t find a career or profession which you can pursue and grow on a daily basis with absolute passion and be extremely rewarding.

I never dreamed or aspired to be an attorney growing up, it simply became what I did as I made my life choices.  After college I wasn’t ready to start working, so I went to law school.  I went through a few jobs before I realized I wasn’t able to work for anyone.  Having a license to practice law, it was the most logical career path to pursue.  Does this sound familiar to anyone?I vividly remember the last few years of practicing law. Every Sunday morning I would get depressed realizing I had to go back to work on Monday. It wasn’t always like that. When I was growing the business and figuring things out, there was a lot of reward with accomplishing goals for clients and growing my income to support my family.  My confidence was growing daily as I was learning my craft and my reputation grew that I was someone that knew what they were doing and could be trusted.  I do remember feeling and conveying passion to clients, judges and other attorneys and my advice was followed due to the conviction of my arguments.  I cannot pinpoint one exact moment, but eventually the passion dissipated every part of the job started to feel like a chore.  I didn’t want to meet with clients as often and have my staff handle that whenever possible.  As my income increased, all I could think about was saving that money as every dollar I saved would mean I could leave my firm that much sooner.  I absolutely felt trapped in a prison which was completely my own doing.

Find your Life Passion and Purpose

While it’s easy to say, figuring out your Life Passion can be one of the hardest exercises a person can take.  Don’t enter into the process with any preconceptions or beliefs. What is it in your life which provides you the greatest amount of happiness?  If there was one thing you could do all day, taking money out of it, what would that be? Once you find out what that is, you MUST make that a part of your life. That doesn’t mean you have to start a business around it, you just need to actively engage in that activity or you will always feel something is missing. I have found that most people tend to take the time to reconnect with their passion in their late 20’s to early 30’s when being in the rat race for a few years makes them stop and ask, “there needs to be more t life than this.”

Start with the end in mind.

This second step is really easier than finding out what your Life Passion is. Once you truly find your passion, you can then analyze whether pursuing that Life Passion in business will lead you to the life you want to live.  If you are married or have children, you need to first determine the life you want for them and yourself.  Is it expensive cars, homes and private schools or is more focused on quality of life and experiences?  It is very much possible to be able to “have it all” but you need to be honest with yourself and know what will make you happy at the end of the day.  If you desire a life of yachts and jet planes, there is NOTHING wrong with that and the career path you choose should keep that in mind.  I wanted a life of low stress and ample time to engage with my family for which I knew my financial gain would be somewhat limited. It is my independence and control of my time which I value highest above all.  You have to be honest with yourself and really understand what material items you will want in your life to make you happy. Once you understand that, then you can launch passionately down the path which you feel will give you the greatest chance to achieve that goal. If that path is not your Life Passion, you MUST make time to pursue that as well.

 

Can you have the life you want by pursuing your Life Passion

If the answer is yes, great.  If it’s not, that is great also.  If your end goal is to enjoy more of the benefits that money can buy for you, you need to choose a business that can scale and produce high revenue.  If you want a life more of the things money cannot buy, pursuing your Life Passion may be the right choice for you.  You need to discuss this with your significant other or family and they need to understand the sacrifices that will go into either option.  What is absolutely critical is to ensure that every person in your nuclear group is aware of and pursuing their Life Passion. With everyone pursuing their Life Passion, the ability to come together on family goals becomes so much easier as everyone is fulfilled in their personal life and are able to fully commit to the family goals without derailing them searching for the personal fulfillment they are lacking.

Your Process will drive your Passion.

After I abruptly and imprudently walked away from my law practice, I put the time in to discover my Life Passion and realized it wasn’t so much the practice of law that made me unhappy, it was the way I unconsciously allowed my practice to change which as the problem.  It’s truly more a matter of how you do it rather than what you do. There are actions and activities that you like to do and other ones you do not.  The key is to tailor your profession so that the vast majority of time you are doing only the things you want to do, are passionate about doing, and the other things you either delegate or simply don’t do them.  This is vital to maintaining your passion. The mind shift is simple to understand, but so incredibly hard to put into place. You must clearly communicate to the world and your customers and clients exactly what you do and how you do it for them to see if what you do brings value to them.  If it does not, you MUST not change what you do or how you do it to accommodate anyone else as you will quickly resent that decision.  That one accommodation will lead to many other accommodations.  Before you know it you will then have exactly what I had, a business I built from the ground up that I no longer wanted or had a passion for.  With that guiding principal in mind, I opened this business.  I made some of the same mistakes as before but I quickly realized the mistakes and corrected them.  You must focus your process strictly on doing those activities and work which you enjoy doing and bring you fulfillment. When you focus on that, the passion will easily shine through.

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