Leading with Passion + Purpose

How Following Your Heart Can Be The Ticket To Success

People spend a lot of time trying to get to the next step in life. We put a lot of effort into our careers and responsibilities, but when is the last time you thought about your why? Are you truly passionate about your career. Are you happy with the way you spend your days. Does it really even matter to you? If it does, keep reading.

I’ve always been the kind of person that led with my heart. I’ve never been able to do anything unless I was 110% in love with it. Passion for me is an intrinsic part of any relationship, any job or any art form. It’s the reason I wake up in the morning.

Some people may think that leading with your heart is the fastest way to failure, but I disagree. For many, success and passion go hand in hand.

I know that you don’t have to sacrifice your mental well being, your values, your aspirations or your creativity for your career. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a lot of work, but it’s possible.

Your WHY can be the driving force behind your career and you can still make a living. But, how exactly can you do that?

One of the main drivers of success, especially when leading with passion, is to explore opportunities as they arise. You can’t let your fear your stop you. You can’t give up and give in because people tell you, “you can’t”.

In my business, some of the most lucrative and interesting projects that I’ve worked on were born out of my desire to do work that I truly care about and opportunities that were presented to me at just the right time.

You see, when you take the time to figure out your why and start taking the steps, no matter how small, towards leading with passion, you just may be presented with the right opportunity at just the right time. The right opportunity coupled with the unstoppable will to be successful in something you love, is a step in the direction of success.

“If opportunity is a Mack driving down the highway, I’m in the middle of the road saying “Hit me!”

I recently had the privilege to chat with Jonathan Ferrara, owner of a 25 year old internationally acclaimed art gallery in New Orleans who started out showing the work of unknown and emerging local artists in a tiny gallery space adjacent to a housing project, to now being an internationally recognized name and key player in the contemporary art world.

According to Jonathan, one of the keys to his success has been leading from the heart, being open to the opportunities of the time and refusing to give up.

“One of the main ways I have set my gallery apart from other galleries, which has been very difficult, is that I’ve always let the art lead and not necessarily the commerce part of it…”

23 years ago, Jonathan started a small exhibition that has since grown into an international show that now catapults the careers of many contemporary artists alive today.

Photo By: Michael Alford

Unlike many art dealers, Jonathan created the No Dead Artists juried exhibition with the intention to give emerging artists a voice. He’s since grown his small unknown passion project into a thriving business.

“It’s just been a natural evolution for me of never giving up.”

Jonathan’s story about how his 22 year old project, No Dead Artists came to be and how it helped drive the success of his career, is an excellent example how leading with passion can drive success in ways you never thought possible.

In our chat we discussed how he got his start, the factors that led to his success, keeping up with the times and his advice for emerging artists (and entrepreneurs alike!).

No matter what industry you’re in, he shared some serious insight on what it takes to build a thriving career from the ground up.

You can read my full interview with him here.