I believe each day is a blank canvas of opportunity or disappointment. Sure, there are days when nothing seems to “go right”, but there is an overarching joy found when you actively pursue your passion.
When things get hard, it is important to maintain focus on that internal passion to overcome the challenges you’re experiencing.
There are some things you just can’t teach, like passion and excitement.
– Laurie A Meacham
As an agency owner or leader within your organization, the job is even harder because your team expects you to fearlessly lead and keep the course.
If you find yourself wavering, or lacking that internal drive, I’ve outlined 9 key challenges that will help you identify and pursue your passion:
1. Why Do You Want This?
Before embarking on any journey, whether professionally or personally, ask yourself why you want to achieve the result. Often, the answer to this simple question is complex, but the discovery of the answer reveals aspects of your vision that you only subconsciously considered.
For example, last year, when I set out to write one blog post per day for 90 days, I evaluated the underlying reason for the challenge. It was much more than just the ability to point and say, “look what I did!” The deeper reason was I wanted an outlet to express my thoughts in easy to digest messages. I knew I had experience that could help others grow their business and wanted to share them succinctly. A secondary reason is because I want to improve my writing. Nothing improves your skill like practice … every day … for three months.
2. What Are You Already Passionate About?
I am surprised to talk to consultants or agency owners who cannot articulate their true passion. Even more surprised by the number of those who know their passion and can admit that they are not pursuing it in a regular basis.
One friend of mine owns a website design firm. He and his team do well financially and attract high-level clients and are well respected in the industry. But he is not passionate about building websites.
There is a unique joy that comes with aligning your daily work with your passion. What are you already passionate about? Can you turn that into your job?
Chose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.
3. What Can You Do That Will Most Impact Your Business Today?
Many of us get caught up in the operations of running our business. It is easy to lose sight of the long-game and fixate on the growing list of tasks to do. On a regular basis, ask yourself, “What can I do today that will most impact my business?”
This will help you prioritize what really needs to be handled. As a leader, you must maintain focus on the big picture while being attentive to the many moving pieces necessary to make it happen.
Just as a ship’s captain is continually scanning the horizon, he is also aware of the thousands of routine tasks required to keep the ship running.
4. What is Preventing Your From Accomplishing Your Goals?
I know from personal experience that we sometimes unnecessarily cloud the path to our goals.
Just today, a friend was talking about her desire to return to Thailand. She said, “I cannot wait to get back there. Someday I will.”
“Why don’t you?” I asked.
She was stumped. Her reasoning was simply putting it off. Unintentionally, she had clouded the path with unsubstantiated reasons. All of which were quite easy to overcome.
Today, take a serious look at what stands between you and your goals. Make a plan to overcome those challenges!
5. How Big Should You Be?
A common comparison making the rounds in VC circles right now is, “the Uber for ____________.”
Be realistic in the actual potential of your brand. Based on the needs of your audience and industry, your niche may be incredibly valuable to a much smaller group. Uber solves a very ubiquitous problem, making their audience incredibly vast.
Having a niche product is not an inherently bad thing. In fact, I often argue that the more specialized your product/service/expertise, the better your return in the long run.
6. What Wakes You Up In The Morning?
What is the first thing you think about when getting out of bed? I doubt it is your passion for checking emails, responding to change orders, or handling human resources problems.
More likely is the desire to break free of traditional work hours, spending time with loved ones, financial freedom, or even changing the world.
These desires are your goals, being an entrepreneur allows us the freedom to pursue these goals. Make sure you heed the advice above about removing unsubstantiated obstacles and unrealistic expectations.
Don’t let anything stop you from actively pursuing that desire!
7. How Much Time Are You Willing To Put Into This?
Every day, I encounter entrepreneurs who spend too much of their precious time on tasks that don’t matter. The tasks that we allow to creep into our schedules that do not keep our attention on the prize.
Not only do we need to aggressively fight off these time wasting activities, but we need to understand that our time is incredibly valuable as experts.
In everything we do, from mentoring others to growing our business; or time with our families and personal development, we must exercise disciple to ensure our time is spent intentionally.
Make a detailed list of the tasks competing for attention and pulling you off course. Delicate these to people who have a passion for such things.
When I hired a housekeeper, I faced some ridicule and judgement from others. What they didn’t realize is the value I place on my time. Since I work from a home office most of the time, having a clean home is a way for me to maintain my mental clarity. Further, it allowed me to spend 2+ hours per week doing what I actually cared about; whether that is volunteering, sitting on the board of a local charity, family time, or helping clients grow their business. I like to believe that my attention and abilities achieved more than just a clean toilet, but change on a larger scale.
8. Are You In It For The Long-Haul?
Imagine yourself in 5, 10, or even 15 years. Would you be content driving the business you have built?
When you are operating in a place of passionate pursuit, each day is a new opportunity. There are very few days that I don’t enjoy my job – it is truly my calling.
If you cannot stand the thought of doing this in a handful of years, I urge you to look at new ventures or adjust the course of your ship.
9. Are You Ready?
To become a successful leader, agency, or freelancer, you must be brutally honest with yourself. Are you ready for the journey ahead?
As a leader, there will be external pressures and expectations placed upon you. You will face your own internal pressures and will be required to make decisions you never thought imaginable.
Give thoughtful consideration to your journey. Be honest with yourself about why you want to take this route, what are your passions now and how can you position yourself to pursue them daily, refuse to accept roadblocks and challenge yourself to find ways around them.
The road to pursuing your passion is paved with exciting challenges, new experiences, and more obstacles than you can list. But the payoffs are incredible and the rewards are many.