Editor’s Note: This post was originally published as a guest post on The Daily Brainstorm.
“It’s good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven’t lost the things that money can’t buy.” ~ George Lorimer
Around the world, numerous people are doing what they love, but unfortunately, for many the money just hasn’t followed. Others have chosen a path toward money forsaking what they love. Then there are those who are fortunate to do what they love and make great money doing it.
Do you follow your passion with no regard for your financial well being? Or, do you focus on work to provide the income you need while ignoring your passions?
Love and Money
In my early years, I came across the famous book and phrase from Marsha Sinetar, “Do what you love, the money will follow.” So at 19, I decided to fully embrace doing what I love and give 100% of myself to my mission of passion while refusing the advice of a back-up plan. I believed that if I had something to fall back on, I would be encouraging myself to fall back and use it. If I didn’t have a back-up plan, I would be encouraging myself to succeed. Yes, this may sound naïve, but it’s still a widely held belief among aspiring artists.
Passionately, I stayed true to my decision and found myself at age 26 with a bachelors degree in theatre and insurmountable student loans. Luckily I had jobs scooping ice cream and waitressing to help barely pay my rent and provide my daily ramen noodle meals to survive.
Not everyone follows this lifestyle. There are those who map out their careers based on the earning potential, yet although they are successful, they feel something is missing in their life.
The Raw Truth
The reality is you can have both.
Financial ruin, possible eviction and hunger aren’t great ingredients for a happy fulfilling life. Yes, absolutely you can choose to be happy regardless of your life situation, Viktor Frankl taught us that very clearly in “Mans Search for Meaning.”
Similarly, a secure financial life that is devoid of one’s passions isn’t completely fulfilling either.
There are always options. Why suffer if you don’t have to? We all deserve a fulfilling life, and we are capable of having it.
Whether your passion is travel, the creative arts, or having your own business …whatever it is there is a way to experience what you love and be financially healthy.
The Small Steps
Here are some kaizen adjustments that you can try to keep the love going and the money flowing…
1. Downsize your Budget Mindfully – Go over your finances and find where you can reduce your expenses. It might take several iterations to fully trim it down but it will give you a clear sense of the minimum amount of money you need to bring in every month. This will help if you are considering a job that may pay less, but brings you closer to what you love. A further suggestion would be to practice living on the budget you created for a while to be sure it fits your needs.
2. Side-Business – Maybe your love can become a side business that you can grow slowly. It might not be feasible to quit your current job immediately, but perhaps you can find a way to do both by carving out an hour or two a night and a few more hours on the weekends. I’m very familiar with the frustrations of growing slowly. Yes, sometimes it looks like it won’t ever happen, but if you continue taking small steps in that one direction and take bigger ones when you can, it does work.
3. Evaluate – Look at your transferable skills. Perhaps you can work in another field or a variation of the field you work in now, one that would allow you to work fewer hours or more towards your passion.
4. Be Flexible – Be open to looking at options and find how you can have your passions in your current reality. Maybe you can’t see how you can earn a side income doing what you love but you still want to actually do it. So get out there. Take a class at a local community college, or through your city or join a local meet-up group.
5. Volunteer – Look at Charities or other non-profits in your local community for opportunities to use your skills or learn some new ones. This worked out well for someone I knew who had a small dance company that she was growing. Volunteering is a great way to give back, put your talents to good use, or even gain experience.
6. Work it – Keep a journal of your ideas as they come up. Try them and if they fail, be willing to work them again a little differently. A friend of mine wanted to be an illustrator but couldn’t get a job, so she took a different approach and offered custom illustrated newsletters to small businesses in her neighborhood. This led to a business of her own, which led to job offers and a full time career.
7. Be open – When we refuse an opportunity because it doesn’t look like one, we miss out on the very thing we’re looking for. The opportunity may appear inconvenient or not quite right at first, but give it a try and see what happens.
Keeping it Real
“Come to the edge, He said. They said, ‘We are afraid’. ‘Come to the edge’, He said. They came. He pushed them… and they flew.” – Christopher Logue (*often attributed to Guillaume Apollinaire)
Although these words sound lovely and inspiring, what I’ve learned is that it’s wise to have something in place because we won’t always fly, sometimes we fall.
My adorable father-in-law once told me, “My passion was coaching kids’ soccer and I love bowling and playing golf… being a lawyer provided me the living to do all these things.”
We can live our dreams if we are flexible in how we see what that dream looks like. So commit to what you love but be fiscally responsible. This is a tough balancing act. Sometimes you may feel like you’re sacrificing one over the other. Just try to be open to adjustments as you walk the high wire in this circus of life.
What is one of your passions? How do you weave it into your life?