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Last Updated on November 26, 2020

Why Following Your Passion Is Not Enough to Become Successful

Why Following Your Passion Is Not Enough to Become Successful
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Did you know that Vincent Van Gogh never made it big in his lifetime? Despite a prolific passion for painting and producing over 900 paintings in 10 years, he only ever sold one in his lifetime for 400 Francs, 7 months before his death in 1890. Jump forward 100 years, and his painting Portrait of Dr. Gachet sold for 148.6 million dollars![1]

So, is it enough to follow your passion to be successful? If it hadn’t been for Van Gogh’s sister-in-law, we may never have heard of the ear cutting genius.

If you find you are not achieving the success you want, have you considered that your idea of “passion” needs to change? Do you get up on a Monday morning feeling less than 100% positive about the week ahead?

According to a global poll by Gallup, of the world’s one billion full-time workers, only 15% are engaged at work. That means 85% are plodding through the motions, unhappy in the place they spend most of their time, and lacking in passion for the work at hand.[2]

Sad, right?

Let’s explore what you can do to ensure your success in everything you want to do in any area of your life.

Is It Enough to Follow Your Passion?

Van Gogh famously said, “a great fire burns within me, but no one stops to warm themselves at it, and passers-by only see a wisp of smoke.”

I’ve seen business owners bemused at why their passion is not equating profits, bosses who can’t comprehend why their staff doesn’t have their passion for the business, and people frustrated that their best endeavors aren’t delivering success when they are so passionate about the result.

What do all of these have in common?

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A warped impression of passion.

Take the person frustrated that they can’t get what they want despite their passion for it. If you’ve ever read The Secret or books that say what you think is what you get, it would be annoying that something you are so passionate about doesn’t magically appear!

It’s all very well to dream a dream in your mind, but you then have to spot the signs and take action on them. Noticing what is around you can be a lifehack to improving your results when it comes to your passion.

  • Do you notice the throwaway comments some people make that could lead to your dreams?
  • Do you follow up with people who said, “wow, I’d love to know more?” And no, sorry to disappoint you, but using email or messenger is not a powerful way to follow up. This is your life’s ambition, pick up the phone!
  • Do you listen to your body when it says, “I’m too hot,” “I’m thirsty,” or “I’m struggling”? All of these are signs that you need something. If you want to achieve your dreams, being attached to the plan/office/goal with no breaks doesn’t mean you are going to get it.
  • Do you have a written plan of action? We have all heard that a goal written down is more tangible and more likely to be achieved. A study conducted about goal-setting with nearly 270 participants showed that 42% were more likely to achieve their goals if they write them down.[3]

Goals With Passion

If you aren’t getting to your dream destination, what are you not noticing?

Passion needs focus and a plan for when you realize what you’ve not been paying attention to. You then need to ensure that you have a plan that covers everything.

When I work with a client on a goal, we ensure the goal has the following elements:

  1. Laser clear focus on how the goal will feel when you achieve it.
  2. What will the goal do for you?
  3. How will it change your life?
  4. What actions could you do? You won’t be doing all of these, but you want to create at least 50 ideas. The more you think, the better the ideas will be.
  5. Who will keep you on track and focused and stop you from getting the Shiny Thing Syndrome where you disappear off in a new direction and your results get diluted?
  6. What actions will you take? Narrow this to the first 3 to 5 actions you need to take. Don’t do the easy ones, do the essential ones, and don’t add more until these initial ones are achieved. Everything else becomes back burner ideas to add at a later date according to your results.
  7. When will you achieve this? It’s a good idea to schedule those actions and work to a 4 to 6 weeks mini-goal schedule. This does several things, including ensuring you stay motivated and believing it will work.
  8. Using this strategy, revisit elements 1 to 3 regularly and ensure you are adding new actions every 4 to 6 weeks, allowing time for reflection and understanding what is working and what is not.

This strategy takes the guesswork out of passion and gives it structure to ensure you get what you want.

When to Ignore or When to Follow Your Passion

Sounds contrary to success, doesn’t it? However, some jobs aren’t fun. You may love your career, business, body, home, partner, friends, or ambition, but that doesn’t mean you will love every aspect of it. Sometimes, it is better not to blindly follow your passion.

Ever heard the saying, “build it and they will come.”? This just isn’t true. Passion will not get you to where you want to go.

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Don’t believe me? Ask yourself this: “Do I want a surgeon with passion or a surgeon with skill?”

It makes me shudder when I see posts on social media telling people to go for it and don’t look back. Many sayings have been morphed into a new dangerous approach to personal and professional success. A great example is public speaking. I’ve fixed lots of people’s fears of public speaking to make them awesome communicators but unlike many issues that impact success, a new mindset is not enough.

For example, if you get on stage without the skills, your great mindset will not necessarily deliver the results you want. It could actively damage them!

Procrastination Hides Your Passion Downfalls

“My fault, my failure, is not in the passions I have, but in my lack of control of them.” –– Jack Kerouac

Challenge and question yourself if passion is stopping you from investing in new skills or new habits. For instance, I adore writing and coaching, but I’ve never enjoyed writing coaching reports and my publisher will tell you how much I loathe editing!

Look for the procrastination in your life, and you may have the answers to where passion needs to be ignored. You don’t always have to follow your passion.

Big Picture—Questioning Yourself

In number 2, we looked at the quality of your passion and its impact on your goals. Passion is not going to get you through when your laptop is broken, having a clear definition of the big picture will.

If you want to understand what this looks like, ask yourself these questions:

  • What will success look like to you?
  • How will you know you are successful?
  • How will you celebrate being successful?
  • What does your passion bring to your ambitions?
  • What risk factors do your passions present to you in achieving your goals?
  • What could ensure that getting carried away with your passion is not an obstacle to your success?

Now, notice what words you’ve used. Have you talked about how amazing it will be or how great it will be to get away from everything you didn’t want?

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Some of us are drawn to the results and others are running away from the failings and limits of their current life. The more you can understand who you are and how you think, the more you will rise above passion.

This is essential because it will:

  • ensure you keep going when passion is flagging;
  • stop you from getting sidetracked into something that stirs passion but doesn’t deliver results; and
  • help you create a passion for things you have hated doing in the past.

One client had been knocked back for funding their charitable endeavors five times. After one session, they were given thousands of dollars. I know nothing about funding applications, but I do know about the power of our minds, so take the time to question yourself.

A Damaged Mindset—Using Those Power Words

Passion can drive your success forward, or it can drive you to insanity.

To constantly work and work and work and not get the results you want is, at the least, depressing and demotivating and at worse, demoralizing and soul-destroying. Just as passion can be used to motivate you into action, a lack of results from passion can seriously damage your mindset—and a damaged mindset can lead to poor judgment, poor decisions, and poor results.

Use the above questions to discover your power words. These will drive you on. Write them down and make them visual in your everyday life, or add them to the home page of your phone. You need to remember what is driving that passion every day.

By understanding your unique take on the idea of achievement, you can keep going and know when passion is damaging your success instead of enabling it.

Getting It Wrong

If you are passionate about a result but aren’t achieving anything, have you considered what you are going to do about it?

Many describe themselves as busy fools or looking busy to avoid doing any real work. That’s a lack of passion right there. There are times when you shouldn’t follow your passions. Instead, you have to find a passion for the things you don’t want to do.

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In every job, there are elements you won’t enjoy. You will often find that the mindset connected to passion is wrong. Passion can cause you to have a fixed mindset that doesn’t look around at possible ways of working better to get the results you want.

Gregory Walton Associate Professor, Psychology at Stanford University said,

“Many advances in sciences and business happen when people bring different fields together, when people see novel connections between fields that maybe hadn’t been seen before.”[4]

In their research with Carol Dweck and Paul O’Keefe, they concluded that those popular mantras like “follow your passion” make people think that pursuing a passion will be easy. Believers are then more likely to give up when they face challenges or roadblocks.

Final Thoughts

So, when to follow your passion?

Ultimately, passion is a driver to success but only if you are managing its impact on your results. You must know when you should and should not follow your passions.

Hopefully, I’ve shared 7 valuable points to ensure you really challenge that passion of yours so you get the results you want. Please feel free to get in touch on what you learn about yourself and its impact on your success.

More Articles About Following Your Passion

Featured photo credit: Timur Romanov via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Mandie Holgate

International Coach, Best Selling Author & Speaker inspiring people around the world to success.

50 Words of Encouragement for Moving Forward 7 Types Of Emotional Baggage And How To Deal With Them How to Control the Uncontrollable In Life 6 Types of Fear of Success (And How to Overcome Them) Self Awareness Is Underrated: Why the Conscious Mind Leads to Happiness

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Last Updated on July 29, 2021

A Complete Guide to Goal Setting for Personal Success

A Complete Guide to Goal Setting for Personal Success
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If there was a rule book of life, there would be one particular page that was highlighted, underlined, and titled as most important. It would be the one which told you that you need to master effective goal setting and have an aim in mind before you get on with the process. While there may not be an actual rule book of life, we do have this helpful goal setting guide to offer.

Yes, goal setting is important. In fact, it’s more important than achieving the goal itself. This is because it is the sense of direction that is needed for you to fulfill any task in life.

You don’t have to feel overwhelmed if this sounds new to you, as all the following information has you covered.

Today, you’ll find out all about the importance of goal setting, types of goals, and tips to define realistic goals for yourself!

What Are Goals?

To kick off our goal setting tips guide, you need to first recognize what goals are and how they are different from objectives, dreams, and expectations.

A goal is essentially your aim for the long-term future. It is the bigger umbrella, the main focus.

Objectives, on the other hand, fall under the umbrella of goals. They are the stepping stones that help you achieve your goals[1].

Objects vs goals for goal setting tips

    For example, you may decide you want to learn a new language. Your goal is to be fluent in the new language. Everything you do to achieve this goal, such as the daily tasks and monthly learning aims, are the objectives.

    Similarly, your expectations, visions, and dreams are not your goals. If you wish to learn a new language someday, that is your dream. If you see yourself fluently speaking multiple foreign languages, that is your vision. If you think you’re capable of learning a new language, that is your expectation.

    However, if you aim to fulfill these visions, dreams, and expectations practically, that is your goal.

    Why Is Goal Setting Important?

    Why should you bother with goal setting at all? Wouldn’t it be more convenient to just get on with your daily objectives, follow a dream or vision, and let life take you wherever?

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    While that road can feel exciting and spontaneous, if you actually want to tick off things from your list of goals to achieve, learning how to set goals is necessary.

    Being committed to a goal puts your brain to work in one specific direction. Believe it or not, by having a defined goal, your brain does its magic unconsciously, 24/7, with full efficiency, to achieve the desired results[2].

    Goal setting is important to shift your focus, boost your motivation, and give you a sense of direction. Without formally defining a particular aim that you want to reach, you won’t be able to keep your objectives in line.

    Hence, this one tiny step can end up saving you a lot of hassle and time while also encouraging your productivity.

    Types of Goals

    Before we move onto the technique of setting effective goals, we need to first take a look at all types of goals in this goal setting tips guide.

    These categories will not just help you brainstorm new one for yourself, but it will also guide you to list them down in the right way.

    Time-Based

    One of the two broad categories of goals is based on time. These goals define how far in the future you want to achieve them.

    Daily

    There are certain smaller goals that you can easily achieve in a day or two. In fact, some of these daily goals can be recurring, too. For example, you may want to run for an hour every morning.

    Now, these daily goals can also serve as objectives for a long-term goal. You may be running every day because, in the long-term, you want to increase your stamina.

    Daily goals are highly effective for people who want to improve their mental wellbeing, time management skills, and stress management.

    Short-Term

    Next in line are short-term goals. As you would have already guessed, goal setting in this area is aimed at the near future.

    The great thing about these is that they are generally easier to achieve. This is because short-term goals are set for the foreseeable future. You are aware of the circumstances and have a general idea of how much the situation can change.

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    Just like daily goals, short-term goals may also serve as objectives for a long-term goal. Your short-term goal may be to lose 5 pounds in one month. That could be a goal in itself, or maybe it is just one objective to fulfill your goal to adopt a healthy lifestyle in the next two years.

    Another example of a short-term goal is to fulfill the checklist for promotion within the next 6 months. Or, you may want to reduce your screen time within the coming week.

    Long-Term

    Lastly, we have long-term goals that are meant to be completed over a stretched period.

    Whatever you want to achieve in a later stage of life is a long-term goal. An insurance plan, for example, is a long-term goal.

    Some long-term goals don’t have any time frame at all. They are goals that you want to accomplish at some point in your life. So, something like traveling the whole world is a lifelong goal with no specific time constraint at all.

    There’s one thing about long-term goals that isn’t great.

    They are the hardest to keep up with since you’re not seeing any huge achievements regularly. This may take a toll on your motivation. To tackle this problem, it is best to divide a long-term goal into various, short-term and daily objectives so that you’re always tracking the progress you’re making.

    Life-Based

    Moving forward, you can also start goal setting based on the results you want to achieve instead of the time period.

    Career

    Like most people, you will likely want to succeed and excel in your career. Anything that has to do with this intention, regardless of the time frame, is a career goal. These are usually measurable goals, such as receiving a promotion within two years, finding a job at a certain company within the next six months, etc.

    You can learn more about how to set successful career goals here.

    Personal

    The past few years have all been about emphasizing your personal health. So, when it comes to goals, how can we forget the ones that have to do with our personal gains?

    From health to finances to relationships, everything that brings you happiness and composure as a person is a personal goal. It’s important that these are realistic and attainable goals for your life.

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    Whether you want to get rid of your debt, quit smoking, start a side hustle, have children, or travel the world, all of these goals are personal and very important to have on your list.

    How to Set Goals

    The best way to guarantee the fulfillment of goals is to set them the right way.

    1. Use SMART Goals

    Every goal you define has to be SMART[3].

    SMART stands for:

    • Specific
    • Measurable
    • Attainable
    • Relevant
    • Time-Bound

    In summary, your specific goals should be very well defined. They shouldn’t be generic or broad, and every detail should be clarified as you’re goal setting. 

    If you want to start running, how often do you want to do it? How long will each session be? For how long will you continue this habit?

    There has to be a connection between your goals and beliefs or you’ll never be able to achieve the results you want. Most importantly, do not be unrealistic. You cannot learn to fly, and forcing yourself to try is only going to demotivate and stress you out.

    2. Prioritize Your Goals

    As you’re looking into how to write goals for the next month or year, it’s likely you’ll come up with more than one. In this case, it’s important to prioritize which are the most important or the ones that have the tightest deadline. This is going to be subjective, as only you know which goals will have the most impact on your life.

    3. Think of Those Around You

    As you’re working on goal setting, keep your loved ones in mind. You may have a partner, children, or employees that depend on you, and you should take them into consideration with your goals. For example, if you set a goal to travel to 10 different countries in the next two years, how will this affect your children?

    If you want to lose 30 pounds this year, is there something your partner can do to support you? S/he will need to be made aware of this before you set off on your weight loss journey.

    4. Take Action

    Setting goals is the first step, but in order to be successful, you have to follow this with action. If you set goals but never act on them, they become dreams. Create an action plan laying out the steps you need to take each day or week in order to achieve your big and small goals.

    You can also check out Lifehack’s free guide: The Dreamers’ Guide for Taking Action and Making Goals Happen. This helpful guide will push you to take action on your goals, so check it out today!

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    5. Don’t Forget the Bigger Picture

    Most people refer to the big picture as their vision. Whether it is the long-term result or the connection of the goal with your desire, keep it in mind to keep yourself from getting distracted.

    You can learn more about creating a vision for your life here.

    I also recommend you to watch this video to learn 7 strategies to set goals effectively:

    How to Reach Your Goals

    You can ensure your progress by following some foolproof tactics. The use of relevant helpful tools can also keep you on the right track.

    Tactics

    One rookie mistake that most people make is that they work on too many goals simultaneously. Create an action plan and focus on one thing at a time.

    Divide your goal into smaller, easily achievable tasks. Taking it one step at a time makes it much easier. However, do not break them down too much. For example, for long-term goals, you should go for weekly checkpoints instead of daily ones.

    Also, keep track of your progress. This will keep you motivated to work harder.

    Tools

    With so many categories of goals and so many aims, it is almost impossible to remember, let alone work, on all of them.

    Luckily, numerous goal tracker apps will help you keep track of your goals, as well as your plan to achieve every single one. Have at least one installed in your smartphone so that your plan is always within reach.

    The Bottom Line

    In conclusion, using a goal setting tips guide is not rocket science. All that it takes is strong will power along with all the knowledge that you’ve learned so far.

    Try out the tactics and goals setting tips mentioned above to be able to set successful goals so that you can achieve the life that you want!

    More Tips on Achieving Success

    Featured photo credit: Danielle MacInnes via unsplash.com

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    Reference

    [1] Smart Insights: The difference between marketing objectives and marketing goals?
    [2] Confluence: Goal Setting Theory
    [3] University of California: SMART Goals: A How-To Guide

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