When I was a kid, a friend of mine made the most delicious candy I have ever tasted. He didn’t even have a food thermometer, but he could follow a recipe with incredible patience. The result was perfect. At school bake sales, his candy sold out, and people asked where they could get more.
As we got older, I encouraged him to pursue his talent for candy-making and try to make money doing it. We could go into business together, I said: I’d have cakes and pies, he’d have his candy.
But wherever we went, there were naysayers who said: You can’t make money selling chocolate and cakes. It’s too much work. You’ll go into debt and fail. So he never took me up on the offer.
I’ve noticed a lot of recent articles lately, all with the same theme: “Don’t follow your passion. The world needs janitors, and jobs that are joyless but essential. If you try to get a job you enjoy, it’ll make you miserable in the end.”
I’ve been a janitor. I’ve vacuumed and mopped and scrubbed toilets and washed dishes. It paid my way through college. There’s nothing wrong with doing a job and getting paid. But if you have a passion, and a real talent for that passion, don’t let it go to waste.
Today I don’t own a bakery, but I still make pies, cakes, brownies, and bread. I know how to whip up a dessert that’s suitable for someone with allergies, and it costs me way less than if I just picked it up at the grocery store.
If you have a passion, and a real talent for that passion, don’t let it go to waste.
I also write. For years I believed that if I wasn’t successful, a flash-in-the-pan, overnight sensation, that I was no good and should quit. Give up writing for money and go punch the clock.
That kind of thinking is really harmful. Every day I put on a blouse and slacks and sit in one of so many office cubicles, like an ice cube frozen in its tray. And it’s miserable.
So I went back to writing.
Society’s idea of success is that you must be famous, with a mansion and tons of money in the bank. That’s not success. Success is feeling secure in what you do, and feeling proud of it. Success is saying no to the haters and saying yes to what you want.
There may be times when you have to work nonstop and take care of kids or a sick relative, or all over the above, and there’s no time for anything else. I’ve been there. It’s okay to tuck away your passion for a better time. Just don’t lose sight of it. Work toward it, even if you only think about it for five minutes a day.
Because someday it can be a side hustle one day a week, and then it could change your life.
People are jaded. They’ll tell you: Why bother working hard? Doors will slam in your face. People may laugh and respond with confusion. You might fail.
Failure is viewed as something horrible, something to avoid at all costs. But if you fail, guess what? You can keep going. And someday, you could succeed.
Write down every idea you have for a business, a side hustle, art, whatever it is you want to do. Not every idea may be worth pursuing, but all ideas are worth considering.
Find where your passion can help others. Find where it resonates with people. That’s the secret of success: making what you love and what people need.
If you have a passion, go for it. Listen to the voice inside yourself that tells you what you want to do, and what you want to be. And don’t let anyone else silence it.