Screw Passion! Get “So Good They Can’t Ignore You”: Why I Made It Traveling the World with NO Online (or any) Business.
Just finished the book “So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love”.
The book is an amazing discovery and an eye-opener. It was for me at least. Will be probably for many of you if you think “Follow Your Passion” is a good career advice.
Finding the time to do what we love IS important.
And loving the work we do IS important too. There is no question about it.
But it doesn’t mean that we can have only one passion in life that we need to make a career of.
It also doesn’t mean that what we are most passionate about will pay our bills.
And that we can’t love what we do, even if it’s not our biggest passion.
We hear many success stories with “Follow Your Passion” subtext, but we also don’t hear about countless failures related to that theory. We are definitely not going to read about any of them on the cover of “Success” magazine any time soon. Or any other magazine, unless there is a magazine called “Failure”, or something like that.
Till this very year, the end of the last year actually, I was searching everywhere for my passion. Something that will blow me away, engage all of my talents and interests, put me in the constant state of flow and bring me the financial rewards I want. Something that I love so much, that it never feels like an actual work. Having many things I love and am good at does not help the search. That’s for sure. Just makes you feel more lost and disoriented.
6 years ago I quit my job as a PT (personal trainer), nutritionist, health coach in the best club in my city, and decided to go and look for adventures, to explore the world, to find my passion on the way.
I don’t regret going away. I loved every bit of it and planning my next adventure now.
But one thing I recently realized, especially clear after reading this book – I was looking for something that didn’t need to be found.
I started working out and studying nutrition when I was a kid – my father (physical training teacher and health enthusiast) sparked the interest, plus my own insecurities and also my own interests.
I started training others while still at school. Was attending dance classes. Was teaching aerobics and dance classes.
At university, while majoring as a programmer, I also worked part-time in the gym training people, teaching aerobics and dance classes to fellow students. At the same time was studying nutrition, experimenting on myself and anyone who would ask for advice.
After university, spending time in US as an exchange student, trying the work as a programmer, I realized I wanted to learn more about nutrition and personal training and I wanted to try that as my actual career. So I got certified as a personal trainer, nutritionist in Russia. Started working in a local fitness center – got offered a job there while training actually – I was always pretty impressive, not to brag, when it comes to physical development and getting amazing results in the gym. Maybe my athletic childhood helped, I don’t know. But when I go to the gym people always notice me, and I always have some knowledge I can share to help people.
So why am I talking so much about my personal training/nutritionist/coach career?
I thought it wasn’t my passion. I never thought it was anything special. I thought that was something I do daily.
And I did it daily. And I learned more. And got more certifications. And read a lot about it.
And that what fed me all my years of traveling!
I worked as a weight loss/detox/health/lifestyle/fitness coach. Taught yoga. Did workshops, classes, designed menus for health food restaurant, did retreats. I got experience. I provided value. Maybe nothing exceptional (probably because I never aimed for anything exceptional in the area), but still.
That was what paid my bills.
And I enjoyed doing all that. I love health, studying it. I love helping people to improve their health, fitness, get in the best shape ever. I truly enjoy all of it! I enjoy getting “Thank you” from people for my work, help.
And still I was looking for some fucking passion. – That search fucked me up, not the fact that I didn’t have my “true passion”.
I learned many lessons recently. About making money, making plans VS living life daily, about passion search and career that pays the bills, about lack of focus that prevented me from achieving things, about looking for something really special in my life and losing the sight of what truly made me special because it was so natural for me, that I failed to notice it.
This book. I learned a lot. It made even more clear, what I need to focus on. Book teaches us 4 major lessons we can apply to have an amazing career we love.
#1: Screw passion.
Focus on getting good at things you like. Whatever comes easier and makes more sense at the moment – that will feed you in the future and that will become the basis for the career you are proud of.
#2: Practice what you suck at.
To get really good at something we need to do “deliberate practice”. It’s not enough to practice skills for a period of time, we need to constantly do something out of our comfort zone to get better, and better, and better. Don’t practice what you are already good at. Practice what you suck at. – That’s the way to becoming a true master of anything.
#3: Do what people want to pay for. Or the Law of Financial Viability.
Want an amazing career? You got to be doing something people want. Not only because it’s easier to make a living that way (I don’t know if it’s possible any other way), but also because it’s more satisfying to do what people need.
When do you feel better honestly? When you do something you like, that doesn’t bring any value to others and is pure pleasure for your satisfaction, or when you do something that actually helps people to improve their life in some way? Things that people thank you for? What feels better at the end of the say? If you anything like me, bringing value to other people’s lives feels better than any fucking passion.
#4: Mission comes later.
Mission or goal of your career doesn’t always come to you right away before the start of something. Most often than not, our big mission comes to us, when we practice our skills, acquiring career capital (skills people are willing to pay for), doing “little bets” – trying few small things in our career, receiving feedback about the value our work produces, about the demand and willingness of people to pay for it, doing something remarkable (creating your “purple cow“)– something people remark about, and something that we can distribute in a conductive environment.
The book made me realize, that for me it doesn’t really matter what I do. I’m a passionate person. That’s how I am. I have a passion for life and I love doing many things, so I can as well do what I’m good at already, take it to the next level, make a really good living out of it and as hobbies pursue whatever it is I want to get passionate about on top of that.
What is YOUR takeaway?
Stop looking for some illusive special thing that’s gonna be your BIG thing. You already have your thing! Just make it big! Just get good at it. Exceptionally good. The rest will come automatically: the recognition, good pay, control over your life and things you do, big mission – it will all come. Our main focus is exactly what the book says: get “so good they can’t ignore you”.
And let’s face it, we are all pretty damn capable of achieving greatness at many things, we just got to be ready to put in the work, focus on something, do deliberate practice, day in and day out.
Be the best you can be at something, at anything – THE BEST is always in high demand.