In the last three years I've made a small science out of the study of passion. I've even become a little obsessed.
Not only have I set out to understand what allows certain people to find their passions, but also what allows the seemingly rare few to transform that passion into a career, business and way of life. When you look hard enough, the people living off their passion aren't quite so rare.
After hundreds of case studies, interviews and interactions with passionate people all over the world, I've come up with some pretty useful answers and tools to help get us there.
As it turns out, the results are not as complicated as you'd think. What most consider impossible, becomes probable if looked at through the proper framework.
How to Convert Passion to Money:
1. Become a self-expert.
Discovering your passion (and making it a career) is directly proportional to how well you know yourself. Few people take the time to fully understand who they are and as a result most the world is lost.
What things do you kick-ass at? What are your strengths (aka "˜superpowers')? What natural talents do you possess and love using? What do people thank you for? What values do you hold above all others? What emotions and experiences are you absolutely not willing to compromise on?
How do you define success? Don't give me what school, society or the corporate world has brainwashed you to think"”that is not success. If you didn't come up with the definition, it's meaningless and in fact dangerous. We must forget what they all told us. What really matters to you? If you were to look back on your life once it's over, what do you want to be known for? Success is not about money and fame and status and prestige. Most people who believe it is, only do because they haven't taken the time to understand their own true success. Identify and write down your own unique definition.
2. Align your life with who you actually are.
Your talents, values and unique success are your compass. With it you can guide yourself anywhere. Without it, you're lost (and might guide yourself off a cliff). With our finely-tuned compass, we can then begin to notice the things that come our way that turn us on "“ the things that make us come alive. Only once we start to see what excites us, can we start to make it a part of our lives. When you begin to experience your values, talents and success on a daily basis, everything feels right. Nothing else matters. This is the alchemy that creates and fuels passion.
3. Offer it to the world.
For everyone I've met, passion almost always comes back to helping others in a way that only you can by doing something you can't not do (i.e. that you absolutely love). Everyone needs help. All you have to do is start looking for the right people. For some reason we tend to put up these barriers that people will not be willing to pay us for the things we love doing. It kills our creativity before it even begins.
The real truth is people want nothing more than to pay a person for something they are awesome at. We love it. Think back to some of your most positive and memorable interactions with products and services. Who'd you enjoy more: the salesman who tried to shove a used car down your throat or the one who could hardly breathe because he was so excited about the craftsmanship and art of the German engine and the unbelievable feeling of freedom he got every time he drove it down the coast?
We love working with people who are passionate about what they do. We refer those people to our close friends. We buy again from those people. You can be one of those people. Think of the things you have helped people with in the past and the ones you know people need help with now. Go out and find a few people who need help. Coach or consult them one-on-one or in groups or use an online service to offer virtual courses and seminars. The moment you realize it's possible, is the moment you'll start to see the endless ways that exist to monetize a passion. Find the people who need your help the most. Do that and getting paid won't be a problem.
4. You're an expert and you don't even know it.
"˜But there are all kinds of people better than me – I'm not experienced enough!' you yell back. Experience and expertise are likely the biggest limiting beliefs keeping people from making money from what they love. The word expert is purely relative and based largely on perception. If people perceive you to be an expert and you can truly help them with something important, that's all the expertise you (or they) need.
There will always be people better than you at your given passion. That's the case with everything. Fine. But there are also plenty more people who are much worse off in your area of excitement. I bet you could dramatically help them without even rolling out of bed. Start with those people.
As it turns out, many of the top "˜experts' in the world have very little formal education. Take Tony Robbins who's considered one of the world's top psychologists, yet he has no real "˜credentials' or education in the traditional sense. Instead, he took to experiential learning and as a result he is more effective in helping people achieve positive change than probably anyone in the world.
Thinking you need more qualifications and experience is usually just an excuse for inaction. Recognize it and then start getting paid to help people. You're already an expert, you just might not know it yet. Start acting like it.
Change Your Mind, Live Off Your Passion
As with most things in life, the biggest barrier to building a life and career around your passion comes down to your psychology. Realize you have skills, tools and interests that people would pay you for right this second if you asked for it. But you must first ask.
Know yourself inside out and notice how to help people in a way unique to who you are. Suddenly trading your passions for money will start to become a lot less difficult. Soon it will become a way of life.