Do these sound familiar?
You’re either almost done with college or have been out for a few years?
You’re extremely driven and hungry for success, but not sure where to aim your motivation?
People always talk about finding your passion, but for some of us it’s way harder than it seems. You may be good at some things but still have no clue where to focus your energy.
Some say to do what you’re good at; others say to follow your passion.
Here are my suggestions on managing this difficulty and setting yourself up for success.
Put the puzzle together piece by piece
Imagine your future is like a complex puzzle with 1000 small pieces. The puzzle’s box has no image of the final picture so your only option is to pour all 1000 pieces on the ground and get started. When you first pour them out of the box, the pieces are strewn about with no order and you can’t expect to have any idea what the finished product will look like.
So where do you start?
Well, you certainly could try to start in the middle of the puzzle, but you will soon be hopelessly floundering.
In order to have any chance, you have to begin elsewhere… the corners. You find the 4 corners and slowly add all the pieces with one flat side until the picture begins taking shape.
Like the initial disorder of the puzzle, you can’t expect to know what your future will look like. In addition, you can’t expect to be able to immediately dive into the middle with no frame or structure.
What you can do, however, is start with the corners, the things you are already good at or interested in. Start by exploring these things and you will slowly start to see the related possibilities.
Try new things and dig deeper into what peaks your interest.
With the resources we have today, it’s so easy to google something or grab a book about topics that are interesting. If you see or hear about something that sparks your interest, learn as much as you can about it.
For me, this was business and digital marketing. I stumbled upon Tim Ferriss’ Four Hour Work Week, devoured it, and became very interested in the world of business.
If you are still intrigued after reading a couple books or doing some research online, DIG DEEPER. Go find a way to get experience in this interest. I suggest working alongside someone that can teach you, even if you offer to work for free. Do this by reaching out and saying that you’re looking to learn or help give them a hand.
For example, the first place I was able to practice digital marketing was when I reached out to Todd Mashburn, Founder of MashBall. The company was growing quickly and Todd was more than willing to teach me what he knew in exchange for me helping him out. Now I had a way to start practicing the marketing tactics I had been reading about!
Follow Your Energy
When filtering through the expanse of options to follow, ask yourself these questions to help find the activities to pursue further.
“Does this charge me up or drain me?”
How do you feel after the activity? Are you jacked up and babbling to anyone that’ll listen or are you drained and lacking in enthusiasm after?
“What does time feel like when I’m working on it?”
Does time fly and you wish you had longer to keep going or do you find yourself checking the clock every fifteen minutes while it’s hands stare back at you laughing? For me, every time I meet with someone to talk business or marketing strategy, the time flies by and I leave the meeting wanting to rush home and write out even more ideas.
“Could I do something like this for years?”
Some people find one thing and do it forever. Others find multiple passions and follow each of them for a number of years. Either way, asking yourself if you can do this for an extended period of time is a BIG question. Just because something was fun once doesn’t mean that you will enjoy it forever.
Have some mother loving patience!
“Gee what a cliché final tip bro” you may be saying, but I can promise you, this is THE MOST IMPORTANT tip of them all.
I’m convinced that only 1% of people know their “thing” early in life. Therefore, for the rest of us, it is a very gradual process of discovery.
Just as in the puzzle analogy, you will start with the corners and SLOWLY connect the next pieces in your journey.
Don’t expect to find your calling on the first try. Don’t think that success will come to you overnight. You’ll have to try and fail again and again. Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, sold garbage bags door to door, and was a bartender and salesman for a software company before he started his first business.
We are playing the long game here. It can take you years to build your experience, network, and education. The bigger your dream, the more blood, sweat, and tears will be needed for you to accomplish it!
With this being said, don’t be afraid to do something that’s less than your dream in order to put food on the table while you work on what you really enjoy.
I’ve been working for an oil company for the last year in order to save up money while I explore my other interests on the side. Think of this gig as your temporary way of surviving while you search for your real calling.
Your Life Compass
Use your interests and your energy as a compass to guide you on your journey to success. Keep in mind, however, that a compass isn’t a GPS. A compass won’t give you a clear route to your destination, but it will point you in the right direction.
At the end of the day, you’re going to be most successful when you find something that combines your interests and your natural skills so have patience and allow yourself to explore the puzzle pieces you have to find which pieces fit best for your masterpiece.
- Comment 3 current interests you could pursue more.
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