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5 Things No One Ever Tells You About Following Your Passion

5 Things No One Ever Tells You About Following Your Passion

So you’ve found your passion and have decided to follow it professionally. A fairy tale ending awaits, right?

Yes…and no.

Doing work from a place of passion is amazing, but finding your passion doesn’t always mean that the Disney movie is over and happily ever after is upon you. Here are a few things to expect when you find that next great thing in your career:

1. You may feel worse before you feel better.

One the one hand, finding something you can be passionate about feels a lot like the universe giving you a big high-five. You feel great. Life is great. You don’t have to stay stuck anymore. And then reality reaches out a sticky hand and drags you back down. The euphoria passes and you start to question yourself. Did you really figure this out? Are you making a giant mistake? Is this going to be too hard? What are you doing?

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The safety net of your last job seems a little bit like a beautiful island that you left, and now you may feel like you are stuck on a rowboat drifting out to sea all alone.

Any time you take a big risk with your livelihood and step off the beaten path, you are going to feel many things, most of them uncomfortable. You should know that it’s completely normal to feel this way. As human beings we are wired to try and stay safe. So abandoning a safe job for your passion is a little bit like getting on a roller coaster–there’s going to be some great highs on the hills, and some deep lows as you fall. But the good news is that the ride is pretty spectacular.

2. Your fears will be bigger.

When I was still consulting, a lot of my fears were around not getting promoted, not getting a bonus, or not figuring out what I wanted to do when I grew up (I was in my early 30s). I feared losing my job when the company went through hard times, or getting into trouble by being too headstrong as an employee (any of these sound familiar?). It wasn’t until I left my company that I found a set of much bigger fears.

How was I going to pay my rent? Or my bills? Or build my company? What if I was a giant failure? What if people saw me as a fraud at this thing I desperately wanted to be great at? What would I do then?

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I couldn’t hide behind a bad manager, or a bad leader, and pretend it was someone else’s fault. Everything rested on my ability to succeed and if I failed I had only one person to blame. I wasn’t sleeping well when I felt drained and stuck by my corporate work, but I definitely slept a lot less in the first few months of owning my business.

I’d be lying if I said having so many fears at once was fun, but there is good news. It’s very motivating to care deeply about something and want it to succeed, and to be able to completely shape the success. More importantly, as you build your confidence and grow in your abilities, a lot of those fears will go away or become more manageable.

3. Your comfort zone is a thing of the past.

When you have a job, even one you might not enjoy, that you’ve done for a while, you have a fairly comfortable routine. You know what’s expected of you, you know the good and bad of those you work with, and when you have questions you know where to go. Things are stable, and you know how you fit. You feel comfortable with where you are.

When you find your passion, you often do things a little differently–whether that is changing careers or starting your own business. And when you do that, you have to push yourself to learn new skills, to get new clients, and to overcome new obstacles.

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It’s exhausting.

In the beginning, you may never have a chance to be in your comfort zone because it’s all new. And that stretched, bruised feeling that you have comes from putting yourself out there all the time for people to judge.

But don’t worry. Over time you will get comfortable in a new routine and, moreover, you’ll be capable of doing so much more! No one ever really grows or becomes better if they stay with what they know, and going after your passion forces you to learn more than you ever thought you could.

4. You lose the ability to make decisions.

Anyone that has a routine job, especially established small business owners, isn’t hard-pressed to make too many tough decisions in any one day. The safety of routine and organization takes that pressure off of you.

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When you start a business or step into a new demanding role, decisions are required. Whether it’s deciding what to wear to impress clients, or who to hire and what to do next, you can make tons of decisions every day. You start to suffer from decision fatigue and eventually when someone asks you if you want ketchup with that you answer, “I don’t know.”

As you get more comfortable and grow your comfort zone, decision fatigue and the problems that come with it will dramatically lessen. And, as you develop some criteria (when someone asks about ketchup always say yes!), your life will absolutely become easier. I promise.

5.  It’s absolutely worth it. 

Following your passion has a ton of challenges. Some of which can take you by surprise, some of which you see coming, but either way it is worth it. Facing your fears, feeling connected to the work that you do, and knowing that you are really living life make the highs higher. And the risks you take to get there often lead to surprising rewards.

Nothing is better than feeling like you love what you do. If you’ve found your passion and are working at it professionally, what surprised you the most? If you are still looking, what’s the biggest thing holding you back? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Featured photo credit: Thinkin’ about the code/Ed Yourdon via flickr.com

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Last Updated on October 13, 2020

How to Get Promoted When You Feel Stuck in Your Current Position

How to Get Promoted When You Feel Stuck in Your Current Position

Have you been stuck in the same position for too long and don’t really know how to get promoted and advance your career?

Feeling stuck could be caused by a variety of things:

  • Taking a job for the money
  • Staying with an employer that no longer aligns with your values
  • Realizing that you landed yourself in the wrong career
  • Not feeling valued or feeling underutilized
  • Taking a position without a full understanding of the role

There are many other reasons why you may be feeling this way, but let’s focus instead on learning what to do now in order to get unstuck and get promoted

One of the best ways to get promoted is by showing how you add value to your organization. Did you make money, save money, improve a process, or do some other amazing thing? How else might you demonstrate added value?

Let’s dive right in to how to get promoted when you feel stuck in your current position.

1. Be a Mentor

When I supervised students, I used to warm them — tongue in cheek, of course — about getting really good at their job.

“Be careful not to get too good at this, or you’ll never get to do anything else.”

This was my way of pestering them to take on additional challenges or think outside the box, but there is definitely some truth in doing something so well that your manager doesn’t trust anyone else to do it.

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This can get you stuck.

Jo Miller of Be Leaderly shares this insight on when your boss thinks you’re too valuable in your current job:

“Think back to a time when you really enjoyed your current role…You became known for doing your job so well that you built up some strong ‘personal brand’ equity, and people know you as the go-to-person for this particular job. That’s what we call ‘a good problem to have’: you did a really good job of building a positive perception about your suitability for the role, but you may have done ‘too’ good of a job!”[1]

With this in mind, how do you prove to your employer that you can add value by being promoted?

From Miller’s insight, she talks about building your personal brand and becoming known for doing a particular job well. So how can you link that work with a position or project that will earn you a promotion?

Consider leveraging your strengths and skills.

Let’s say that the project you do so well is hiring and training new entry-level employees. You have to post the job listing, read and review resumes, schedule interviews, make hiring decisions, and create the training schedules. These tasks require skills such as employee relations, onboarding, human resources software, performance management, teamwork, collaboration, customer service, and project management. That’s a serious amount of skills!

Are there any team members who can perform these skills? Try delegating and training some of your staff or colleagues to learn your job. There are a number of reasons why this is a good idea:

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  1. Cross-training helps in any situation in the event that there’s an extended illness and the main performer of a certain task is out for a while.
  2. As a mentor to a supervisee or colleague, you empower them to increase their job skills.
  3. You are already beginning to demonstrate that added value to your employer by encouraging your team or peers to learn your job and creating team players.

Now that you’ve trained others to do that work for which you have been so valued, you can see about re-requesting that promotion. Explain how you have saved the company money, encouraged employees to increase their skills, or reinvented that project of yours.

2. Work on Your Mindset

Another reason you may feel stuck in a position is explained through this quote:

“If you feel stuck at a job you used to love, it’s normally you—not the job—who needs to change. The position you got hired for is probably the exact same one you have now. But if you start to dread the work routine, you’re going to focus on the negatives.”[2]

In this situation, you should pursue a conversation with your supervisor and share your thoughts and feelings to help you learn how to get promoted. You can probably get some advice on how to rediscover the aspects of that job you enjoyed, and negotiate either some additional duties or a chance to move up.

Don’t express frustration. Express a desire for more.

Present your case and show your boss or supervisor that you want to be challenged, and you want to move up. You want more responsibility in order to continue moving the company forward. Focus on how you can do that with the skills you have and the positive mindset you’ve cultivated.

3. Improve Your Soft Skills

When was the last time you put focus and effort into upping your game with those soft skills? I’m talking about those seemingly intangible things that make you the experienced professional in your specific job skills[3].

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Use soft skills when learning how to get promoted.

    According to research, improving soft skills can boost productivity and retention 12 percent and deliver a 250 percent return on investment based on higher productivity and retention[4]. Those are only some of the benefits for both you and your employer when you want to learn how to get promoted.

    You can hone these skills and increase your chances of promotion into a leadership role by taking courses or seminars.

    Furthermore, you don’t necessarily need to request funding from your supervisor. There are dozens of online courses being presented by entrepreneurs and authors about these very subjects. Udemy and Creative Live both feature online courses at very reasonable prices. And some come with completion certificates for your portfolio!

    Another way to improve your soft skills is by connecting with an employee at your organization who has a position similar to the one you want.

    Express your desire to move up in the organization, and ask to shadow that person or see if you can sit in on some of their meetings. Offer to take that individual out for coffee and ask what their secret is! Take copious notes, and then immerse yourself in the learning.

    The key here is not to copy your new mentor. Rather, you want to observe, learn, and then adapt according to your strengths.

    4. Develop Your Strategy

    Do you even know specifically why you want to learn how to get promoted? Do you see a future at this company? Do you have a one-year, five-year, or ten-year plan for your career path? How often do you consider your “why” and insure that it aligns with your “what”?

    Sit down and make an old-fashioned pro and con list.

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    Write down every positive aspect of your current job and then every negative one. Which list is longer? Are there any themes present?

    Look at your lists and choose the most exciting pros and the most frustrating cons. Do those two pros make the cons worth it? If you can’t answer that question with a “yes,” then getting promoted at your current organization may not be what you really want[5].

    The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. —Mark Twain

    Here are some questions to ask yourself:

    • Why do you do what you do?
    • What thrills you about your current job role or career?
    • What does a great day look like?
    • What does success look and feel like beyond the paycheck?
    • How do you want to feel about your impact on the world when you retire?

    Define success to get promoted

      These questions would be great to reflect on in a journal or with your supervisor in your next one-on-one meeting. Or, bring it up with one of your work friends over coffee.

      Final Thoughts

      After considering all of these points and doing your best to learn how to get promoted, what you might find is that being stuck is your choice. Then, you can set yourself on the path of moving up where you are, or moving on to something different.

      Because sometimes the real promotion is finding your life’s purpose.

      More Tips on How to Get Promoted

      Featured photo credit: Razvan Chisu via unsplash.com

      Reference

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