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Following Your Passion Is Not A Desire, But A Need

Following Your Passion Is Not A Desire, But A Need

 

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    Guilty as charged! How many of us growing up have made decisions like this? Never mind growing up — how many of us have made decisions like this as adults going through working life? Sacrificing our creative passions on the altar of making a buck! Do these excuses seem familiar to you?

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      Now that is a question! What would I want to do every day if money was no object? It’s worthwhile spending the time to not only daydream and really imagine our ideal day, but to actually write those dreams down on paper. What would my ideal day look like if time and money were no object? Try this, and you’ll be surprised by the passion it unleashes. Indeed, it is so useful as an exercise that it is one of the first questions the great Alan Watts asked when he addressed an audience of young people.

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        Is it possible to follow our passion and make a living? Ask writers from J.K. Rowling to Zadie Smith, filmmakers from Steven Spielberg to James Cameron, artists from Jeff Wall to Tracy Emin, musicians from Adele to Will.i.am, sportspeople from David Beckham to Usain Bolt. Whatever the creative industry, there are many, many people out there — not just the brightest stars — making their passion pay. It can even potentially pay much more than the traditionally esteemed jobs our education system places on a pedestal.

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          With the explosion of internet technology, social media and freelancing, it is easier than ever to make creative work pay. Indeed, the ability for anyone to self-publish online has been called the new Gutenburg revolution! Musicians no longer need record companies to get started, artists no longer need a sponsor, visual communicators no longer need a film production company. So, if you decide to quit your job to follow your passion, there are more avenues than ever for turning your avocation into a vocation!

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            For other industries and passions, business start-up help is actually quite easy to come by. You can even do it extremely low cost. So it is worthwhile channeling your passion: sitting down, getting creative and making a plan. Definitely look up a mentor who has already walked the path before you; someone who can cut years off your journey and give you priceless insight into opportunities and pitfalls. And if you don’t get started on this now …when will you?

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              A veteran care nurse recently revealed the top regrets of the dying.

              “I wish I had lived my own life rather than how society taught me to live.”

              “I wish I discovered my purpose earlier.”

              “I wish I had taken more risks.”

              “I wish I had taken better care of myself.”

              “I wish I’d allowed myself to love.”

              “I wish I had touched more lives and inspired more people.”

              “I wish I had been a better partner or parent.”

              Now if that list doesn’t prove why following your passion is a need, not a desire, then nothing will!

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                Doing something you hate. Ever tried it? Guilty once again! I’m sure many of us know the feeling. It’s the real life evidence that following our passion is a concrete need. We’re not going to get that time back, and it’s better to realize this sooner rather than later.

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                  “Contentment is the greatest wealth”

                  Once said a wise man.

                  Buddha. He was pretty wise.

                  “He who is not contented with what he has, would not be contented with what he would like to have”

                  Said another wise man.

                  Socrates. He was also pretty wise.

                  “Be content with what you have;
                  rejoice in the way things are.
                  When you realize there is nothing lacking,
                  the whole world belongs to you.”

                  Lao Tzu. Another ‘wise guy’.

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                    “I lived my own life, rather than how society taught me to live!”

                    “I discovered my purpose, and gave myself to it.”

                    “I was brave enough to take risks and learn lessons.”

                    “I took good care of myself, and reaped the rewards.”

                    “I loved.”

                    “I was a great partner and parent.”

                    “I touched many lives and inspired many people.”

                    What do you want to be saying at the end?

                    Thanks to Moga for this inspiring comic strip. You can visit her Tumblr here!

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                    Last Updated on January 15, 2019

                    What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

                    What Are Interpersonal Skills? Master Them for Better Relationships

                    When I wrote my book Extraordinary PR, Ordinary Budget: A Strategy Guide, I was surprised at the various layers of review and editing necessary to get the book to publication. Before I ever submitted the manuscript, I enlisted a former colleague to read and copy edit my work. Then, I submitted my work to an editor at the publisher’s house, and once she approved it, she sent it to her colleagues and then her company’s editorial board.

                    Upon editorial board approval of my book, my editor sent my work to reviewers in my field, then a developmental editor, then a designer and layout team and, finally, another copy editor. There were a host of personalities with whom I needed to interact along the way.

                    It turns out that getting a publishing contract was just the beginning – a lot happens between developing a concept, writing the book, finding an agent and publisher, and getting the book on bookshelves or on Audible or Kindle. Through every milestone of the publishing process, my ability to interact with others was crucial. This underscored for me that no matter what or how much a person accomplishes, you never do it alone – everyone needs assistance from others.

                    While I conceived of the book and wrote the manuscript, there is no way my book could have hit booksellers’ shelves without the dozens of people who were involved in the publishing process. Further, interpersonal skills can propel or stonewall success.

                    Even as someone who has written hundreds of essays, press releases, pitch notes and other correspondence, writing itself is not a solitary endeavor. Sure, I may write in solitude, but the moment I am finished writing, there are always clients, colleagues, partners, peers and others who review my content.

                    What is more, even as a published author and contributor for this platform, I try to never submit final copy (content) that has not been copy edited. I send everything to my copy editor, whom I pay out of my own pocket, for her review, edits and approval. Once she has reviewed my work, caught unbeknownst-to-me errors, I am much more confident putting my work out in the world.

                    How Interpersonal Skills Affect Relationships

                    It is clearer to me now more than ever before that interpersonal skills are needed in every profession and every trade.

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                    People don’t elect leaders because the leaders are smart. Individuals are motivated to vote when they have a hero and when they feel they have something to lose. If they seriously dislike the other candidate, they are much more likely vote according to a 2000 Ohio State University study:

                    “A disliked candidate is seen as a threat, and that will be motivation to go to the polls. But a threat alone isn’t enough – people need to have a hero to vote for, too, in order to inspire them to turn out on Election Day.”

                    In a work setting, interpersonal skills impact every facet of your development and success. Trainers must collaborate with a design team or the company hiring them to facilitate the training. During the training itself, the facilitators must connect with the audience and establish a rapport that supports vulnerability and openness. If the trainers interact poorly with the trainees, they are unlikely to be invited back. If they are invited back, they may be unlikely to inspire cooperation or growth in their trainees.

                    Solopreneurs interactions with clients and subcontractors, and those interactions will, in part, support or adversely impact their business. If you enjoy a career as an acclaimed surgeon or respected lawyer, your interactions with patients, clients, health insurance agencies and a team of other practitioners – many of whom are shielded from public view – will improve or decimate your practice.

                    As a hiring manager, one of the things I consider when interviewing candidates is their interpersonal skills. I assess the interpersonal skills they display in their content and face-to-face presentation. I ask probing questions to learn how they interact with others, manage conflict and contribute to a team atmosphere.

                    When candidates say things like, “I prefer to work alone” or “I can hit the ground running without assistance,” I bristle. When candidates appear to know everything and everyone, I wonder if they will be receptive to learning or open to feedback. Could these statements be indications that these individuals lack interpersonal skills?

                    It stands to reason, then, that interpersonal skills are among the most valuable and the bedrock of all talents and skills.

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                    What are Interpersonal Skills?

                    Interpersonal skills range from emotional intelligence, empathy, oral and written communication to leadership to collaboration and teamwork.

                    In sum, interpersonal skills are skills that enable you to interact well with others. They include teachability and receptiveness to feedback, active or mindful listening, self-confidence and conflict resolution.

                    From a communications standpoint, interpersonal skills are about understanding how colleagues prefer to communicate and then using the appropriate mediums to meet respective needs. It is about understanding how to communicate in a way to get the most out of different people.

                    For instance, in my career as a public relations practitioner, part of what I am constantly evaluating is which colleagues, clients and members of the media prefer email, text or phone calls. I am assessing how much frill to use with each person depending on what has worked in the past and depending on what I know about the person with whom I am interacting.

                    Making these decisions and being disciplined enough to follow each person’s known preferences helps me better connect with the various individuals in my orbit. Is this tiring at times? Yes. Is it necessary? Absolutely.

                    How to Improve Interpersonal Skills

                    There are tons of resources to teach interpersonal skills. I love books such as Leadership Presence by Belle Linda Halpern and Kathy Lubar, and The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

                    There are also a host of books and articles on emotional intelligence, which is the ability to manage one’s emotions and perceive and adapt to others’ emotions. Emotional intelligence is likewise a critical component of positive interpersonal relations. You can learn more about it in this article: What Is Emotional Intelligence and Why It Is Important

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                    Active and mindful listening also support improved interpersonal skills. I recommend you take a look at this piece: Active Listening – A Skill That Everyone Should Master

                    I have further found that humility helps a ton with interpersonal skills. It takes humility to admit you have more to learn and that you can learn from the people around you. In fact, everyone with whom you interact has a lesson to teach you. And employers are increasingly looking for team members who are lifelong learners, meaning they believe there is always room for growth and professional and personal development.

                    Forbes contributor Kevin H. Johnson noted in a July 2018 article,

                    “That’s why, when anyone asks what the next ‘hot’ skill will be, I say it’s the same skill that will serve people today, tomorrow, and far into the future—the ability to learn.”

                    Don’t overlook introspection.

                    While interpersonal skills may seem simple enough, introspection is critical to learning where and in what ways you need to grow.

                    Through introspection and observation, I have learned that my interpersonal skills suffer when I am sleep deprived, because then I am short-tempered and irritable. I’ve observed this connection over a significant period in my life. Unsurprisingly, it is also true of others. Fellow LifeHack contributor, health coach and personal trainer Jamie Logie noted:

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                    When you are chronically sleep deprived, it really does a number on you. A lack of sleep can keep your body in a constant state of stress and over time this can get pretty ugly. Elevated stress hormones can be involved in creating a bunch of pretty nasty conditions including anxiety, headaches and dizziness, weight gain, depression, stroke, hypertension, digestive disorders, immune system dysfunction, irritability.

                    Additionally, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development reported,

                    “Sleep deprivation can noticeably affect people’s performance, including their ability to think clearly, react quickly, and form memories. Sleep deprivation also affects mood, leading to irritability; problems with relationships, especially for children and teenagers; and depression. Sleep deprivation can also increase anxiety.”

                    The point is, even as you are identifying ways to improve interpersonal skills, think about what is getting in the way. While sleep deprivation is a trigger for me, your stumbling block may be different.

                    The Bottom Line

                    You cannot fix what you do not know is broken. Even as you work to understand and apply interpersonal skills, spend some time in mindful meditation to get clear on what is holding you back from developing solid relationships.

                    Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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