Haha! It sounds obvious, doesn’t it? Well it wasn’t, like all things, we learn little bits about ourselves by trial and error.
Fitness became a real passion of mine over the years (it wasn’t always – it was an uphill battle), and I began adding more and more of it into my spare time because it gave me a sense of purpose and belonging (what I know now) and it felt great to motivate people.
Just to be clear, my former career was something I enjoyed, but I was in a job that did not thrill or challenge me (working with very few motivated people, little development of technical skills, felt like I wasn’t contributing). So, I began dreaming about another career….something I had been doing in my spare time- personal training and fitness!
The day came when I took the plunge and quit my job, and didn’t look back. I didn’t have much of a plan at the time, and just figured I had to go all-in if I was ever going to make it happen. I took courses, seminars, read books; all in search of how to be successful at running a fitness business. I was managing pretty well, I was able to support myself (sort of), I enjoyed what I was doing, and I had a 6-10 year plan (a loose plan) to make it happen. Then…. after two and a half years of running a business I started realizing a lot of things about myself, and about what it meant to “follow my passion”.
Running a business takes more than just having passion. It’s kind of the cool thing to do right now, and a LOT of people are trying their hands at entrepreneurship. Of course, I believed in myself. I am smart, and hardworking. What I learned over the past few years is that it took an immense level of sacrifice and emotional toll, so I had better LOVE it. I had better be sure this is the career. Sacrificing money, comfort, time with friends, time with family, and a future that I didn’t know existed. I didn’t think about my “life” – hardly ever. I thought about my business, and what I needed to do to make it work, to make it grow, and to make it sustainable. I almost exclusively consumed my time with my business, and put everything else aside. I lost close friendships, I resented that people didn’t understand what I was going through or trying to achieve. I lost sleep, because I was always thinking about work and my next move. I was always worried about money, because as a frugal business owner, you don’t pay yourself so that your business can thrive. I kind of lost sight of why I was doing it, and realized it wasn’t the fitness industry that I wanted.
Finding your passion means you need to set aside time to explore things that fill you with joy and purpose
But what I really learned – the BIG lesson for me, was that I wanted to live my life. I wanted to contribute: to others, and to society. I wanted to be challenged, and to grow personally, emotionally and in business. That was the passion I found.
So, three years later, I did a full circle and came back to my previous industry. But, along with a new, challenging career in that industry, I have kept my fitness business (it will evolve with me), and started a new one (philanthropic Dare Girl)! It was all worth it, because I gained so much perspective about my potential, my life and my values. I finally started realizing really clearly the things that were important to me that what I wasn’t willing to sacrifice anymore.
So, my point here is not to have fear or listen to nay-sayers about discovering your passion. Not everyone is cut out to run a business, or to fully immerse their career in their passion (it’s not even necessary!). It means you need to set aside time to explore things that fill you with joy and purpose. It means living your life, and making time for things that ignite that passion. It means looking at what you value in your life, and keeping that as a priority. Maybe you will run a business, maybe you’ll quit your career. But reflecting on the “why” will lead you to your passion.
I found a career that gives me challenge, learning, fun, freedom, responsibility, and I feel that I am making an impact on the world, or in society. That’s all I want – to have fun, to contribute, and be challenged.
That’s my passion 😉