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Last Updated on November 26, 2020

Why Following Your Passion Is Not Enough to Become Successful

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Why Following Your Passion Is Not Enough to Become Successful

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 September 27, 2021

8 Reasons Why Goal Setting Is Important to a Fulfilling Life

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8 Reasons Why Goal Setting Is Important to a Fulfilling Life

The importance of effective goal setting cannot be overstated on our personal journeys towards success. This is why there are countless articles out there on how to set your own SMART goals and even why it’s a skill commonly taught to a small degree in classrooms.

Learning the importance of goal setting and the benefits of sticking to those goals can be the defining factor determining whether we truly embrace the importance of goal setting. The more willing we are to embrace this method, the more likely we become to reach our personal definitions of personal and professional success.

Thus, this article is going to walk you through some of the benefits you’ll see from learning to set goals for yourself and answer the question — why is goal setting important?

1. Goals Guide and Align Our Focus

It’s hard to get to where you want to be in life if you don’t know what you’re aiming for. Some people believe avoiding goals means living a more care-free life. How many times have you heard the phrase “If I have no expectations, then I can’t be disappointed”?

But is that really what our lives have come to? Living just to avoid disappointment? It doesn’t seem like an overly optimistic view in my opinion. And since you’re reading this article, I’m willing to bet that you agree with me.

Without goals, we lack a degree of direction and focus. Sure you may be able to avoid disappointment, but just avoiding disappointment doesn’t mean you are necessarily happy.

Without goals, we will pointlessly waste our time, energy, and efforts. Listen to anybody who is the top of their field and they’ll tell you something like this,

“Yes talent is important, but often your success depends much more on what you decide to do with that talent.”

And what you will do with your talent largely depends on your focus.

Your goals give you direction. Your goals give you something to shoot for. This direction and target you create in your mind will help you to progress towards your main life goals rather than simply wander around aimlessly. These goals will help you align your actions and behaviors as you continue moving forward.

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So, why is goal setting important? Because it gives you direction, alignment, and purpose!

2. Goals Help You Avoid ‘Shiny Object Syndrome’

Basically, shiny object syndrome is always being in pursuit of the next big thing, constantly switching your goals based on what you feel is most fun and interesting at the given moment, but never actually giving yourself time to accomplish any of those goals.

You don’t get anywhere because you continually change the direction you are heading in. This is one of the consequences that may result if you decide to live a life without goals.

Your goals can sometimes help you to create mental barriers, or blinders, that help you to remain focused on what you think is important and avoid the things that are second priority. When you outline goals for yourself, you are better able to avoid things that distract you from achieving and accomplishing those goals.

Setting goals helps you to step around the other shiny objects because you’ve taken the time to make some mental notes that remind you what it is that you want from your life. Your goals act as subconscious deterrents to anything less than your main priorities. This is what helps you to reach your personal definition of success.

So, why is goal setting important? Because not only do goals tell you what you want from life, but they also help you realize what you need to give up and avoid to achieve that.

3. Goals Turn Our Largest Goals into Manageable Steps

A lot of us have big hopes and dreams. It’s one of the things that make our lives exciting!

But a lot of us never take the time to figure out how we can effectively get from point A to point B. So, sadly, we never fully achieve those goals. We look at our dreams and convince ourselves that only a select few people ever achieve them, so we write ourselves off as people not meant to reach that level of success. Looking at the end product of a goal can be intimidating, daunting, and discourage us from even pursuing them.

Thankfully, goal setting helps us break large intimidating goals into smaller ones. These small steps and more achievable goals will help us to build momentum and will encourage us to keep working towards the next phase of our goal. The form the foundation from which we can begin building the life that we truly hope to have for ourselves, our families, and may even for our communities depending on how big your goals are!

Whenever I get talking about this aspect of goal setting, I can’t help but think about the mountain climbing analogy, and that the easiest way to climb a mountain is simply step by step.

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So, why is goal setting important? Goal setting gives you a list of manageable steps that you can take in order to take your life from where it is now to where you want it to go both effectively and efficiently.

4. Goals Encourage You to Take Action

This builds on the last benefit of goal setting. Not only does effective goal setting help you break down your larger goals into smaller, more manageable ones, but it also encourages you to actually begin taking action on those goals. After all, a plan is completely worthless if you aren’t willing to invest the effort required to execute it.

Setting your goals and putting your plan in place motivates you to begin taking action towards achieving them. These goals give you something to plan and work towards. Essentially, they help propel you forward.

What I like to do is write out and place my goals somewhere that I’ll regularly see them. This constantly serves as a reminder of my top priorities. It allows me to focus on taking small progressive actions towards achieving these goals daily.

This ensures that I don’t fall into the trap of setting a goal, beginning to work towards it for a while, but then having my motivation fade resulting in me falling off track. This is exactly what many people see happen when it comes to their “New Year’s Resolutions.”

If you want to learn about how to take action towards achieving your goal, here’s how: How To Take Action Towards Your Goals Right Now

So, why is goal setting important? Because goal setting actually motivates you to stop thinking about your goals and actually get out there and achieve them!

5. Goal Setting Helps You Continually Improve

This is something that a lot of personal development and self-improvement writers talk about, continual improvement. For those of you who are not aware of the term, continual improvement is exactly what it sounds like — taking small steps towards improvement as frequently as you can to develop into the person you want to become.

What’s the point in improving a little bit each day if you’re not improving in the areas that you want to improve in after all?

The goals that you define for yourself will inevitably shape you into the person who you want to become. They’ll shape your character. Your goals can help you measure your progress as you strive for this type of development.

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Essentially, having goals helps you determine where you started, where you are now, and how much further you need to go. In this manner, your goal setting can serve as milestones and benchmarks that help you determine how well you’re progressing towards your most important goals!

So, why is goal setting important? Goal setting helps you make improvements each day that will slowly transition you into the person you want to become.

6. Goal Setting Keeps You Accountable

Not only does setting goals help you measure your progress, but it also is a means through which you can keep yourself accountable. Too many goals fail because they lack this crucial aspect of outlining accountability.

For example, if I have the goal to do 50 push-ups, that’s great. Most people would support that goal. However, this goal lacks accountability. When do I want to accomplish this goal by and what steps do I take to get there? These are important questions that the original goal leaves unanswered.

A much more descriptive and specific goal could be to do 50 push-ups within the next 3 months by starting at 5 push-ups, and then adding 5 each week. This goal outlines the deadline as well as the steps I’m going to take to achieve it. This plan will keep me accountable because if I fail to retain my progression schedule, I will know that I’m not going to achieve the goal on time.

Additionally, it can serve as a marker helping to signify when something is impeding my progress that I may not have initially accounted for. This tells me that I need to re-evaluate what I’m doing and figure out what adjustments I can make to facilitate my success.

So, why is goal setting important? Setting goals is key to keeping ourselves accountable and on-track towards accomplishing our goals according to the schedules and deadlines we set for ourselves.

7. Goals Make You Feel Good

Trust me, the progress you feel as you set and achieve goals can become super motivating and super addicting (in a good way)! The dopamine release you get from achieving your goals is like a little reward for our brains that continually motivates us to try and hit that next goal!

Having some clearly defined goals will help you to feel better about yourself and your life in general, especially when you stick to those goals, actively work towards achieving them, and end up accomplishing and surpassing your initial expectations. I’m not the oldest book on the shelf myself, but I can attest that there are not many feelings quite like the one you experience when you truly get on a roll!

Additionally, our goals give us an endpoint to shoot for. Rather than progress for progress’s sake, you can actually see where you’re heading! That’s so much more rewarding. Think about a long car trip as a kid. You ask “if you’re there yet?” ever 20 minutes. It seems like the drive drags on forever.

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If you don’t know where you’re going, you risk the journey becoming tedious. It doesn’t tend to be much fun wandering around aimlessly. Goals make us feel good about where we’re directing ourselves.

So, why is goal setting important? Because setting goals and accomplishing them plain and simply make us feel better about ourselves and our lives!

8. Goals Help You Live Your Best Life

I’ve talked a lot in this article about how goal setting helps us progress towards our top priorities and live the way we truly want to live. So I think it’s fit to end the article with this goal because, in the end, I feel it’s the most important one.

Setting your goals and clearly defining what they mean to you will help you live a life that is tailored to your beliefs and values. Your life will become directed towards the things that you most want to achieve.

Life is a tricky game and only in very rare circumstances are things handed to us on a silver platter. Often it takes a great degree of work, planning, and effortful execution of both.

There is no point clinging on to things in your life if they don’t bring you happiness or help you accomplish something that, in some way, aligns with your goals.

Simply put, setting goals helps us live a life that allows us to pursue the challenges and rewards that we truly want to achieve.

So, why is goal setting important? Because our time is always limited, and setting clearly defined goals can help ensure that you make the most of your life and live to the fullest! Find out more here: How to Use SMART Goal to Become Highly Successful in Life

Final Thoughts

These are just a few of the benefits of goal setting that outline why it truly is so important. If you take a moment or two, I bet that you can even think of a few more benefits yourself that you could add to this list.

If I could leave you with something, it would be this:

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Goal setting has the potential to take us to some amazing places in life because we all have talent and ambitions. To achieve your biggest dreams, you need to be willing to sit down and create a life design uniquely tailored to you that will help you achieve them!

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Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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