Follow your passion and you’ll be happy…. I call bullshit.
How many times have you heard an inspirational talk, speaker, successful business person or seemingly always happy friend, proclaim “If you find what you’re passionate about and do that for work, you’ll be happy?” Maybe even those around you seem to be giving this advice all so often? Personally, I feel like a motivational, inspirational, empowering speech isn’t complete without some sort of reference to “finding your passion...”
I was listening to an awesome trio of young, successful health leaders talk in front of hundreds of girls recently and couldn’t help but cringe when they all gave the same response to the question, “What advice would you give to those people unhappy in their current employment and wanting a change in career?” The response? “Learn what your passionate about and follow that path, then you’ll be happy”. They all agreed.
Now I don’t mean to be Negative Nancy here but I will be Realistic Ruth. Truth is, we can be passionate about many things and realising or knowing what they are, does not necessarily lead to a life of happiness.
Let me explain a few reasons why.
Firstly, happiness comes from within and can be your state of mind at all times through all types situations. It’s a conscious choice of the mind and soul and true happiness doesn’t need circumstance (things, actions, people, etc.) to be felt. Try to understand that no matter what the situation, you can always choose to be happy. Sure, there are times when we are faced with grief and sadness in ways like death, loss and pain, and whilst you are allowed to acknowledge the natural emotions that comes with these, you can also always be happy with who you are, what changes may be occurring in life and accepting that everything has a divine greater purpose. Proclaiming that a daily routine or task is making you unhappy, much like how people claim that other people make them unhappy, is just unconsciousness to the fact that you, yourself are choosing to feel that way.
Secondly, I believe it’s misguided that people will instantly feel a shift in happiness if the tasks they undertake everyday are somewhat related to their “passions.” Working for yourself (a situation also associated to happiness) regardless of the field or job title is a “passion” is nothing but darn bloody hard! Sure, it can be super rewarding, but again, rewards and highs, as with sadness and lows, should not influence your state of mind and therefore, neither your happiness. I’ve owned and ran my own cafés over the years and trust me there is very little within the hospitality world that I’m not passionate about. Food, drink, people, social, active work life, fast paced, and many more. Although I would look back on those times and say that’s when I was most unhappy. Hence, my ‘passion’ to educate people that just because you may love who you do dearly, doesn’t mean it will make you happy or the work any easier.
It can, sure, I’m not totally dissing the idea that loving your field will make for more enjoyment, I am just saying that it seems a bit fluffy to me to guide people into finding what they love, to make them happy about their work. Happiness is a choice and working for yourself or creating your or business is 99% dedication, time, slog and self-belief. Having your own successful business will certainly make most of us "happy" but achieving that rarely has anything to do with passion. I'll follow up with a post soon about our recommend formulation to starting and running a successful business, so watch this space...
To the people that say, it’s the other people around them that make them unhappy, like the old “I just don’t like working for people” think about it like this. They have their purpose. They are your boss or your employer for a reason, be it their skills, ambition or even their ability to bullshit, so learn from them what you can. Appreciate something they have to offer and use it to your advantage. They are higher than you in the workplace for a reason. Find it, know it, learn it and put it on your skills belt to use later in life.
What do I tell people when they ask why I am so happy with my job? I say, I choose be happy and I take that into my job. I work for myself, I have my own business, I absolutely love my brand and field and I’m super passionate about it, but it’s not what has made me happy. Trust me, even with all of those things, I have terrible days, weeks, months that are filled with disappointment, long hours, mistakes and people letting me down, but I just accept that’s life and I’m doing my best and that’s okay. That’s enough. If you can learn how to be happy in horrible situations, you are well on the path to pure happiness.
What’s one thing would I say to someone wanting to make the jump from their current job to working for themselves or changing industries? Just be prepared for the “other side.” It’s not always greener. No matter what business you are starting, it will be hard work. You will be faced with many challenges and learnings. Same goes for changing career paths. It will be confronting and you may go backwards for a while. Be prepared for this and understand it, be prepared to upskill, be prepared to work bloody hard and that whilst you may be your own “Girl Boss”, you may also have non-happy moments, so go in with a strong heart and ability allow yourself happiness as is….