You’ve started down the path of finding your passion. By now you should have at least identified a few things that you are passionate about and be exploring at least one or two of them. Hopefully, you’re enjoying this foray into fun and learning more about yourself. In the meantime, let’s get back to why you stopped pursuing your passions in the first place; practicality.
Many of the things we’re passionate about aren’t really the most practical things to do when you grow up and become a “responsible” adult (Let’s be honest. Who actually feels like a responsible adult when you become one?). Once you’ve settled into “real life” and started working and taking care of all of the not so fun adult responsibilities, you may find it challenging to do things that don’t contribute to your personal bottom line.
It may feel indulgent to take time off to do things like fly kites or write short stories when they don’t directly contribute to maintaining your household. So while you may do them occasionally, they will often be put off when more pressing “responsible” concerns arise like having to take the car in for repairs or take the kids to their extracurricular activities.
While doing something purely for enjoyment may feel indulgent, most passion pursuits require a level of skill. Some people really enjoy building websites and that’s obviously a marketable skill but if your passion is more obscure, it may be tough to find the practical skills behind it. Don’t give up and move on to something that you kind of like and abandon your passion.
Pursuing Your Passion
It is possible to find the practical skills behind your passion. I’m going to take two examples of passions, one more common and the other more fanciful and show you how it can be done.
Writing Short Stories
Let’ start with the more common one. There are many secret writers out there who love to create poetry or prose be it non-fiction or fiction but we all know that most authors don’t end up on the best seller list. In fact, most writers never make a dime from their writings. But just because they may not profit from their narrative musings, it doesn’t mean that writers aren’t building a skill set. While it may seem obvious, there are some skills there that might not be so immediately noticeable as well as the more obvious ones. There are some steps to discover these skills.
1. Take an objective look at what you do as a writer.
When you sit down to write something, take a moment and jot down all of the things that you’re doing or are about to do. For example:
a. Create a story
b. Organize the idea
c. Create characters
d. Research/describe the setting of the story
e. Commit to a project from start to finish
2. Research the job descriptions of writers.
Do a web search for “writer job description”. This will give you some great insight into the skills built through writing.
a. Make a list of the skills you find in a few of the job descriptions.
b. Go through the list and pull out skills that you feel apply best to you and add them to the first list.
3. Research writers’ websites and look at the services they provide. These services might give you some insight into skills you hadn’t considered. Add them to your list.
4. Go to writing events and talk to other writers. There are conferences, festivals and networking events for a wide variety of topics. Find local writing events by doing a web search. Not only will you learn about the skills that you have developed, you might meet some cool new writing friends to support you in following your passion.
Now we can move to a more fanciful hobby like flying kites. It may be tough to see that there are practical skills involved in this particular hobby but there are. For this example, we’re going to assume that you also enjoy creating and building kites. Let’s go through the same steps.
1. Take an objective look at what you do as a kite flyer.
a. Visualize the kite
b. Draw the vision
c. Figure out the materials you plan to use
d. Map out how you plan to put it together
e. Build the kite
f. Test the kite
g. Tweak the kite in case it doesn’t fly properly the first time
h. Commit to a project from start to finish
2. Research job descriptions of kite flyers and builders. You may not think these descriptions exist but you’d be surprised at the types of jobs that exist. Kite flying might very well be a viable job somewhere so it doesn’t hurt to look.
3. Do some video website research. Find a how to video on kite making and make note of the steps. Then go through the steps objectively and pull out any skills you notice.
4. Research festivals, events and conferences related to kite building. Many of the more obscure or fanciful passions have festivals, events and parties created around them. These events will often have seminars and workshops that discuss the more technical aspects of
the hobby. This is a great place to find those hidden skills you may be developing by building and flying kites. As an added bonus, you will begin to meet people who share your passion and might make some new friends.
As you can see, it is very possible to find practical skills that are being developed by pursuing your passion. Plus since it’s something you truly enjoy doing and actively pursue, you’re going to be really good at it.