Stop Following Your Passion (Do This Instead)

Are you dying for change? If so, please read on…

I recently listened to a 2012 Jonathan Fields interview with Brene Brown, and the last 10 minutes of the conversation were pure gold.

Why?

1. Because Jonathan and Brene discuss vulnerability, dealing with critics, risk-taking, and pushing through uncertainty, fear, and pain.

2. Because a gigantic part of my “why” is inspiring people to reinvent themselves and spark major change at any age.

3. Because I want people to learn to move past fear and uncertainty, put their core strengths into action, and make the bold moves necessary to pursue what they love.

The entire interview was typical quality Fields, but Brown’s last 600 seconds of honesty made me smile. If you have a few minutes check it out.

What did she say? Here are some of my favorite nuggets of goodness…

“It is so easy to make a life and career out of sitting in the bleachers and making fun of people and putting them down.”

True. (It’s sooooo easy to be a critic.)

“There are people who have amazing gifts. Who could make the world a better place who won’t put their work out there for that very reason (they fear the bleacher critics). And that’s a loss.”

Agreed. (Oh, and there are those prophets of doom we call naysayers too.)

“There are songs we need to hear, stories that need to be heard, work that needs to be seen, ideas that need to be implemented, that we’ll never see or know because there are so many people out there who are so reflexively cynical, critical, and mean spirited.”

Yep.

So, how do we get past critics, naysayers, and our own self-defeating thoughts?

Well, before we dive into that let’s move on to my favorite quote of all…

“The greatest pain I’ve ever seen in my work is from people who’ve spent their lives on the outside of the arena wondering ‘what would have happened if I had shown up.’”

I feel ya, Brene.

To me “showing up” is how we get past critics, naysayers, and our own self-defeating thoughts. But, what the heck does it actually mean to “show up?” Well, assuming you have some “thing” you want to build, grow, and nurture, it has everything to do with being 100% honest with yourself, expanding your world by pushing your boundaries, and having the grit to see it through.

And “grit” is about having a growth mindset. For this, I’ll turn to Carol Dweck

“Some believe their success is based on innate ability; these are said to have a “fixed” theory of intelligence (fixed mindset). Others, who believe their success is based on hard work, learning, training and doggedness are said to have a “growth” or an “incremental” theory of intelligence (growth mindset).”

I think pursuing what you love — enjoying your craft, building a new business, designing a lifestyle of your making — is about creativity, determination, and ignoring the critics.

It’s also less about trying to be extraordinary and more about feeling that work is the reward. Don’t trade a rock-solid feeling of contentment at the end of each day for the pipe dream of “extraordinary.”

Many are in careers they hate.

Some still have no idea what they want to do.

Others see “it” but can’t get there.

If any or all of the above defines you, stop thinking about “success” and start thinking about what truly drives you, then set the wheels in motion to turn that thing that makes you feel alive into something real.

Work to become great at something — something that lights you up — then true passion will follow.

Work backward from an ideal lifestyle, hone, experiment, refine, get uncomfortable, then use said skills to reach your target. And while you’re forging ahead, ignore critics, naysayers, and that evil inner voice that keeps telling you “you can’t”.

Crazy what you can get out of a 10 minute conversation, huh?