Follow Your Passion – Worst Advice Ever?

By: | |

Not long ago, I read a book entitled:

So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love

The author, Cal Newport, argues that “follow your passion” is bad advice.

So often, we hear this advice “follow your passion”, that we don't question its validity.

What I love about Cal Newport’s book is that it’s truly thought provoking, and questions that assumption that so many people have that “follow your passion” is the most effective way to find the work we love.

It’s easy to find examples of people who took this advice to heart.

They left their paying jobs, followed their passion, and started their own businesses.

However, a great number of these people failed in their small business adventures.

Many wonder what they have done wrong.

They followed their passion.

They tried hard, but… What was missing?

Probably many ingredients.

For instance:

Lack of business skills (in this case the Book Yourself Solid® System can be a life saver.)

Lack of time and finances to keep going during the start-up stages of the business.

– The belief that ”follow your passion” is the secret ingredient to love every minute of your work.

Let’s focus for a moment on this quote from the book:

“If you want to love what you do, abandon the passion mindset (“what can the world offer me?”) And instead adopt the craftsman mindset (“what can I offer the world?”).”
– Cal Newport

This quote reminds me of what I spoke about in Episode 4 of this podcast:

The Growth Mindset versus the Fixed Mindset.

The craftsman mindset is totally in line with the growth mindset – this is why I find it so appealing.

If you read the book “So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love” you soon realize that the focus is on career advice, yet there are clear applications for any self-employed professional.

It opens new possibilities to combine Cal’s ideas with the Book Yourself Solid® System perspective.

For instance:

1- Start by defining your ideal clients. Those people who energize and inspire you. This is easier and more effective than to begin by defining your passion.

2- Define a specific interest and target your market. Aim to make your services remarkable, so people remark about it to others. An ideal target market has communication networks in place that will spread your services' remarkability.

3- It’s important to articulate your why and what you stand for. This is the core of your personal brand. As Michael Port, Book Yourself Solid®’s author, reminds us, ‘Rome wasn't build in a day,’ nor are most personal brands.  As a self-employed professional, patience is one of your most important skills.

4- Work to be an expert in a specific field and become recognized. However, before you go all out, be sure to check that people will pay for your expertise. If so, create a deliberate practice to improve your skills, and become “So Good They Can't Ignore You.” You are then in a position to leverage your services to build the lifestyle you desire. Be realistic—don’t expect to love every minute of your work.

Moreover, as Michael Port always tells us, “to succeed in business you have to learn to be comfortable with discomfort.”

[Tweet “”To succeed in business you have to learn to be comfortable with discomfort.” Michael Port”]

Or using Cal’s words:

This is what you should experience in your own pursuit of “good.” If you’re not uncomfortable, then you’re probably stuck at an “acceptable level.”

And you will probably never become “So Good They Can't Ignore You.”