Finding Your Drive – Part 2

Dreams Vs Reality Venn Diagram Overlapping Achievable Opportunit

In Part 1 of Finding Your Drive, we took you through a process for identifying your passion and critically examining what you love about it.  In part 2, we will help you make sure you are following your dream with one foot firmly planted on the ground.

Several years ago, I was watching an episode of Oprah dedicated to following your career passion.  Oprah’s first guest was a man who gave up a high six figure salary to follow his passion and open up a cupcake store.  While this was a very moving ‘Oprah moment’, I couldn’t help but think about what an enormous risk that this individual took to follow his dream.  The Oprah Effect notwithstanding, I often wonder where the cupcake guy is today, if the job was what he expected, and if it was all worth it.

Before you start thinking that I am a buzz kill, understand that I strongly believe that everyone should strive to be in a career that they are passionate about.  However, I also believe that this path needs to be grounded in reality.  It is important to understand and be prepared for the risk & and the reality of your dream job.  Essentially, look before you leap.

The Risk

Any career move is a risk, but are there ways to take calculated risks so that we minimize the stress on ourselves and our families.  I see entrepreneurs all the time that will take second mortgages on their house and borrow from friends and family to follow their dream.  There are some incredible successes that resulted from an entrepreneur taking the leap.  There are however many more examples of where the risk didn’t pay off.  Want to give up a great job to open a cupcake store, keep your day job and start at a farmers markets on the weekend until you prove the concept and prove to yourself that it is what you want to do.

The Reality

The cruel reality of reality is that the ‘dreamy’ part of your dream job may be only 25% of what you actually do on a day to day basis.  Do you love to bake cupcakes but hate dealing with customers?  Understand that every job has its’ good, bad, and ugly.  Does your passion for the good outweigh the bad and ugly? Are you willing to

I know a woman whose dream job was to work in journalism – specifically TV news – and was able to fulfill that dream for several years.  The ugly side of the job was ridiculously unpredictable hours that she was happy to tolerate until it was time to start a family.  Like many do, she assumed that the dream was dead.  When the baby was born she would look for job with predictable hours, but that certainly wouldn’t fuel her passion.  Fortunately, she as able to identify a role with an HR research firm.  While admittedly not as exciting as being a news anchor, she is able to do many of the things she loved about investigative news reporting as the star member of the companies research team.  She also gets screen time every week delivering the companies video webcast.

Society sets up career choices as two extremes of either loving what you do our dreading every minute of your job while you die inside. In actuality, there are a variety of opportunities in the middle…you just need to know where to look.

Once you have done this exercise for yourself, build it into the work you do with your team.  Imagine if we spent less time completing employee engagement surveys and more time helping employees actually get engaged by finding ways to express their passion in their current jobs.

Next up…Part three will help you find your real-world opportunity.

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