We’ve all heard the advice, “Follow your passion”. “Do what you love and the money will come”. 

Or “If you choose a career that feeds your soul, you’ll never feel like you’ve worked a day in your life”.

I think we all on some level want to believe this advice to be true.  Many of us have been fortunate enough to pursue our passions and do what we love for a living.  

Maybe we wanted to be a musician or a writer. Maybe we sketched funny cartoons as a kid and dreamed of some day becoming an artist. Some of us patched up our toys or dolls and knew instantly we wanted to fix people and become a doctor.  

So we pursed those dreams whole-heartedly. If we were really lucky we’ve found a way to make a good living doing what we love or at the very least pay our bills.

But then there are those people… a whopping 85% based on a Gallup poll conducted in September 2017 who are working at jobs they hate. Gallup found that only 15% of workers feel engaged by their jobs. According to Forbes “engaged” means they feel a sense of “passion” and “deep connection” to their work.

These are dismal statistics.  If people really believe that they can make money doing what they truly love rather than working at jobs they hate well… then why aren’t we doing it?

Dangerously low bank accounts

There’s a reason the phrase “starving artist” is still around. The sad truth is for many people, making big bucks while following their passion can be tough.

There are people out there who are amazing singers. But they never get their big break on The Voice. There are an equally large number of talented actors and actresses out there. But snagging a juicy part let alone getting consistent work takes not just talent, but a whole lot of luck and relentless persistence.

When people discover that sometimes talent alone isn’t enough to make a living doing what they love, they find themselves taking meaningless jobs just to stay afloat and pay the bills.

The reality is we live in a society that requires a certain amount of income to live. In many parts of the country it requires a ridiculous amount of money just to exist. 

So people become resigned. After spending years pursuing their passion and trying to get their businesses off the ground, they find themselves taking any job just so they can eat and support their families.

Am I Good Enough?

We may love cooking but does that translate into the ability to open our own restaurant?

People may tell us that we have a knack for giving great advice, but does that mean we should run off and become a licensed therapist?

Most of us don’t know if we’re really that good to make a living doing the things we love. No matter how passionate we are about something, the bottom line is… we have to be really good at it to make a living out of it. It requires training and eduction. It requires experience. And even after we get that, we’re competing against thousands of other people who are also in our chosen field.

How are we really to know we can make it?

We don’t… which is why so many people play it safe and never try at all. They stay in safe jobs they already know they’re good at. They stay because it offers them a pension or good benefits and they know they can expect that cost-of-living pay increase every year.

People are scared to take the risk. In the ever-competitive market of entrepreneurs, we’re afraid that we just aren’t good enough to stand out.

I Already Failed Once…

For many people, they’ve already taken the risk. They’ve opened that cute retail store and gone bankrupt. They started an online business that failed. They wrote a book that never got a publisher.

So what’s to say it won’t happen again?

Sometimes it really is just timing. Sometimes we just don’t have all the knowledge and information we need at the time to make what we really want to be doing a success.

But does that mean we should give up? Does that mean we never try again?

Definitely not. There are loads of people who had bumpy starts following their passions but time and perseverance got them exactly where they wanted and they’ve lived to tell their tales of success. Let’s not forget how many rejection letters J.K. Rowling got from publishers before one literary agent finally saw the magic in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone!

But for some people who have tried and tried again… the philosophy that they can do what they love and the money will come sounds like complete bullshit.  And truth is… sometimes it really is impossible.

But it doesn’t mean we still shouldn’t go out into the world and do it anyway. 

We all have such unique gifts. Life is too short to not do what we love.  So money or not… whether we can make a living doing it or not, we can’t stop ourselves from doing those things that feed our soul.

Who knows… maybe when we least expect it the money will one day, actually come. And that’s a risk worth taking.