In the summer of 2018, I stumbled across a hobby that would soon change my life — writing. I didn’t know it at first, but writing was a passion I had never known I had. Soon, it was bleeding into my everyday life in the most wonderful ways possible.
Very quickly, my hobby turned into so much more. I began cultivating my writing into a habit, and soon it became a regular part of my daily life. I built it into my routine, studied the craft, practiced and tested new ideas, and soon it became my full time work.
Cultivating my passion changed my life in so many different ways, and my passion taught me so much more about who I was as a person. I went from aimless, confused post-college graduate who continued going to school just to put off not knowing what I wanted, to a self-assured and badass individual. Here’s what cultivating your passion reveals along the way.
Uncover your potential
I felt pretty self-assured before I started working on my passion, but something changed when I discovered writing. My passion brought out parts of my personality and inner-drive that made me such a talented athlete in college. Once sports were done for me, I wasn’t sure who I was anymore. Cultivating my passion showed me what my potential could be if I applied my brain to something I loved again.
I used to stand in the pitcher’s circle and command attention. Most people were surprised that I didn’t actually have that type of confidence outside the softball field. But something changed when I started cultivating my passion. Suddenly, I was proud again of something that required talent, brains, and courage to pursue. I felt like I could take control of the working area of my life, which led to another huge benefit in taking control of other parts of my life.
“What do you do?”
It’s a well-meaning question, but filled with social stigma and status-defining tones. When you’re getting to know someone for the first time, it’s a common question to ask, but if you think about it, the root of the question is asking what people do to make money. It’s determining where they fall on the social status ladder and, sadly, tied to how people perceive someone’s wealth or value.
But we are not what we do. We are who we are. And what tells people more about us than the things we are passionate about?
So, I stopped answering this question when people asked (ignore the fact that now, my passion and career align). If someone asked what I did, I instead replied with “I am actually really passionate about writing.” In fairness, it did catch almost everyone off guard, but after the initial confusion, I had some of the most wonderful conversations about passions and learned so much more than I would have by just remaining surface level.
Learn the true value of hard work
Cultivating your passion requires finding an activity that you’re willing to do the hard stuff for. Writing requires editing, some people’s least favorite activity, and even… writing. Yes, writing is hard sometimes. But when you cultivate your passion, sometimes it doesn’t feel like work any more and sometimes you have to drag yourself to the task. Then, you learn different ways to work on something that isn’t always so fun.
When you’re doing something you’re passionate about, hard work is still hard, but the rewards feel better afterward. Working through something you love teaches you a lot about hard work, but it also teaches you strategies for getting things done. Those strategies, and learning to make the hard work more enjoyable, can translate to your daily work as well. The menial tasks at your day job suddenly seem less annoying because you know at the end of the day you can go back to something you love. That’s also critical to help minimize burnout and keep your energy levels high.
Diversify your portfolio
Cultivating your passion outside of work gives you another thing to put on your resume or bring to the table at your current job. My talents as a writer helped me get the courage to bring new ideas to my job. I ended up starting a blog for the company I worked for, and by writing new topics related to our industry, I learned even better ways to write for myself.
The more I continued to write, the more other jobs opened up for me. I could market myself on multiple skills and knowledge, a lot of which I had learned through the act of researching and writing on new topics.
I’m not here to tell you I’ve found the answer to happiness or the secret to life, but working on your passion helps bring you some joy. That joy doesn’t just happen when you’re cultivating your passion. It spills over into your daily life.
Not to be dramatic, but I honestly believe that if it wasn’t for writing and the confidence and joy it gave me, I never would have built the courage to drive four hours for a date with someone I met on Tinder. A year and change later, we are married. I’m pretty happy. I think it’s a good deal.
You might just make a career out of it
Not all passions can turn into a money-making opportunity, but some can. The more you cultivate your passion, the better you get at it, the more you can turn it into a side-hustle and even a career.
A lot of people say that as soon as your passion becomes your sole source of income, you lose that spark and joy it once provided, but if you prepare for the future and give yourself a secure head start, there’s a lot more going for you. And it doesn’t have to be a self-made career either. There might be jobs that already exist within your company or with another that can fit your passion.
I’ve turned my passion into a full-time world of writing. You can read that work on Amazon and join my newsletter for updates on the new series I’ll be releasing in the next few months. You can order The Stolen Lives, book 1 in the series.