HOW TO FINALLY DECIDE ON ONE PASSION TO PURSUE
You want to start your own business and blog — or maybe you already have but you don’t have any direction because you’re trying to pursue all your hobbies at once.
Let me tell you now: it’s not gonna work.
Because here’s the reality: you’re unknown. You’re not famous (most likely), and you won’t be known for being an expert in something broad like “Health” or “Business” or “Copywriting.”
You need to specialize. Be unique. Stand out as much as you possibly can in a micro-category (Think “Fermented Food for Health” or, say, “Storytelling in Business for Entrepreneurs” or “DIY Copywriting for Mompreneurs”)
You need to find your niche.
But, if you’re anything like me or most of people I know — that can be really fucking hard.
Very few people have one passion. Aaaand very few multi-passionate entrepreneurs like to accept that when we try to follow our passions that we usually can’t follow them all at once.
And therein incites a panic. Because choosing feels confining, final, and counter-intuitive to the whole vibe of following your passions.
If this sounds like your problem, this post is for you.
(I created the Passion Identifier Workbook to expand on what I talk about in this post. Click below to get your copy.)
You’re staying in place, not moving forward. Frozen where you’re at. Why? What’s really stopping you?
The number one thing that stands in the way when it comes to being decisive and taking action happens to be . . .
The only way to move past it is to go through it. Face it full-on.
You can’t eradicate fear. But you can choose if it invites inaction or incites action in you.
Make fear your fuel. Let it add to your drive.
You need to sit down and seriously ask yourself: What’s the WORST that could happen if I choose ONE passion (or a melding of only two)?
Pro Tip: Do this for anything that you have fears about. If you’re prepared for the worst, and you identify it clearly, it’s not as scary. It’s not like a dark cloud looming over you full of horrors you don’t know about and are too afraid to imagine.
Putting pen to paper can make you feel a world of a difference. Realize what your fears really are and make them real (on physical paper, people).
And they won’t be as scary.
Even if you don’t have full-on terror about deciding on what passion you’re going to pursue with your solo business, being even the least bit uncertain can block you and make you feel stuck.
You have time. Seriously. You could be 70 years old and that’s still a stupid excuse.
You have time to pursue one thing now and more things later on (even on the off-off chance that you really, really don’t have time, if you think about it too much you’ll be wasting that time instead of doing something with it).
This fear is born out of something even bigger. The thing that directs where your fear is placed.
Do you ever see those super decisive people who can be happy with their snap-decisions and wonder, “What do they have that I don’t?”
I wondered for a long time. I couldn’t understand — were they just stronger, smarter, and all around better than me at everything?
Possibly. But, I did find one specific thing that set us apart.
The wrong mindset. The wrong set of beliefs entrenched in my mind.
People box themselves in . . . because they deeply believe they’re boxed in. Whether they learned this habitual belief by accident or they were conditioned by their parents and society — it doesn’t matter.
It’s still holding them back, regardless. They think their choice is the end-all-say-all. Choosing one passion to pursue with your new business IS NOT written in stone.
“But what if I pick the wrong thing?”
Look, you just won’t know until you try. Those people who are decisive with seeming ease?
They’re not asking that question.
They aren’t worried about or tripped up with “what ifs.” They’re excited to simply enjoy the ride, see where it leads, and course-correct as they move forward. That’s the difference.
BUT THEY’RE AFRAID, TOO
We all have our fears. There’s no one out there who is fearless. It’s just not a thing.
What do these decisive people fear? They fear regret. It’s a motivator, a fear they use to fuel them. Because they understand that we’ll have more regret wasting time doing nothing than we will taking action, moving forward, and failing.
Mistakes do not automatically equal regrets.
Missed opportunity? Now that bites.
On the flip side of this, sometimes it can feel like you’re going to miss an opportunity because you’re not pursuing all your random passions. I understand. Sylvia Plath did, too.
When I was 17 I read her book, The Bell Jar, I came across one part I will remember for the rest of my life:
Her analogy of possibility.
The way she felt as if she had to choose one path made fer feel as if she was sitting underneath a fig tree, and as she plucked one fig and enjoyed it the other figs were falling to the ground and rotting.
But she wanted to enjoy them all.
This ties back into mindset and perspective — the sad, sinking feeling of not being able to enjoy the fruit of all the possible endeavors we could pursue is a real thing.
For Plath, it certainly didn’t help with her depression.
But this is a reality for everyone — no one has the time or the capability to be supermom, tour the world with their rockband, save baby belugas, visit other planets, star on a TV show, discover the cure for cancer, and find the meaning of life.
In our lifetimes, we have time for more than one thing, but we don’t have time for everything that we could possibly fancy.
The shift in perspective here is from viewing this as a negative drawback causing suffering regardless of what choices you make to viewing this as beautiful and it being amazing just to have the opportunity to choose some things and experience a lot, both wonderful and atrocious.
It’s not so much about being positive or negative — it’s about feeling fulfilled and being realistic with your expectations of your life.
But, that is a BIG shift, so from here you need some different solutions that are a little smaller is scale.
Okay, so we can’t change our mindsets overnight. What are some solutions for dealing with all this worry we’ve worked up to get us in this place of stuckness?
PEN TO PAPER
Like I said earlier, most people do better with putting pen to paper.
Make a list of pros and cons for every passion that you possibly want to turn into a business.
And the most viable one — the one that makes sense, the one you can work on every day, the one you can do a bunch of shit for that you typically hate doing (like accounting or writing) that’s the one.
(Plus, it should fulfill some other areas: something you’re actually skilled at & have knowledge in. So it’d be the overlap between passion, skill, and knowledge.)
If you have more than one purpose, it’s okay. if your purpose isn’t clear, that’s also okay. Life typically isn’t black-and-white or this-is-my-exact-path.
As Marie Forleo points out, finding your passion isn’t about getting to a destination, and there’s no one road there. But if you keep wondering and pondering you’re going to waste a lot of time you could be spending on getting out there.
The Workbook has some exercises for finding the overlap.
CONSIDER MELDING 2 OR 3 PASSIONS TOGETHER
I know narrowing down to one might feel like too little. I get it.
So, if your Purpose Venn Diagram has more than one “P”, consider blending them together.
This is also an interesting way to go about finding your niche.
Some passions and hobbies may be similar to each other and make nice compliments, and some may not go together in an expected way — which makes for something unique and interesting.
But if there is some way that you can tie them together, it can probably work for you.
THE WINDOW SHOPPING FRAMEWORK
Putting pen to paper, making lists, and being realistic should bring some clarity.
If you need more clarity, Ramit Sethi’s method, The Window Shopping Framework, is a great analogy for those who really can’t decide. He developed it for people who are looking for careers and jobs that fulfill them, but it still applies to those who work for themselves.
Basically, go window shopping through the mental mall of your passions.
Talk to those who are pursuing a passion that you’re considering. Ask them if they enjoy it, what it’s like, and anything else that’s relevant for you.
Get into the details, like Ramit suggests, and ask what their days look like, things that surprised them about going into that field, and if they could choose another field, would they? What would it be?
So while I talk about there not always being one right choice and having to be decisive to a point, you shouldn’t just go try out every whim that comes to you, right?
And “window shopping” is a great way to get to know the option before pursuing it further.
But still, even with these tactics . . .
“HOW DO YOU KNOW WHAT’S RIGHT?”
You don’t. You may regret your choice, but likely you’ll realize this very early on and change direction soon enough to not lose too much of the time, money, or the audience you’ve built up..
Remember: if something really doesn’t sit right with you, what’s the point?
Not to say that you’ll like doing it 100% of the time, but if you like it 0% of the time then you should walk.
Go pursue something that doesn’t feel as tedious and instead makes you feel fulfilled and interested (most of the time).
You’ll regret not doing anything at all much, much more.
Keep your other passions and hobbies as they are — things you occasionally do in your free time. Most likely, you’ll have time to pursue some others in the future.
Need some extra assistance? This small workbook will be quick to finish and give you some clarity.
I know, it’s not glamorous. There’s no secret formula to magically know if you’ll love what you choose in the long-term. I wish there was.
The closest you can get is having a good sense of intuition and a lot of faith in making decisions not just with your head but your heart, too.
And? Stop caring and worrying so much. It’s in your way, and it isn’t serving any purpose that propels you forward.
Meditate on it or let it sit in your subconscious for some time — but, really? Clarity comes through action, so if you just go do you’ll have a better idea than if you sit around wondering and asking questions to the air . . . and reading blog posts.