Helping Creative People Create

Letting Your Passion Lead You

by glen


Photo by Zevotron

On most days there is blind woman that goes to the coffee shop I frequent. Karen’s one of the sweetest and most genuine people you’ll ever meet.

What’s most amazing about Karen is her complete trust in her guide dog, Comet. Comet leads her everywhere she needs to go, and allows Karen to do nearly everything that those of us blessed with two eyes can do. Comet leads Karen to the register, around tables, and waits patiently while Karen types away on her braille keyboard and sips coffee. Karen has given over control to something that she trusts completely. Comet senses this and never lets Karen down.

I’ve noticed that creative workers (ie. artists, writers, bloggers, musicians, etc.), sometimes fall prey to not letting their passion lead them. Instead of letting the fire in their gut create wonderful masterpieces, they let money or other forces control their output, and it changes things.

Sometimes you have to give up control of what you want, and let your passion lead you.

the legend of bagger vance

In 1995 bestselling author Steven Pressfield had the idea for The Legend of Bagger Vance, and almost didn’t work on it. Traditionally there isn’t much of a market for golf fiction, and he knew that if he wrote the novel it probably wouldn’t be read by many. Still, he had been given the idea, and he knew that he wouldn’t feel good about himself until he finished the work. The Legend of Bagger Vance is now an international bestseller, and touts a major motion picture based on the movie. Only because Pressfield followed his passion.

We humans are attracted to passion, and we can sense it immediately. It’s contagious. We thrive on it, and we thrive on others who have it. It’s a quality we all possess, but it’s not something we all use. In fact, many of us ignore what we’re really supposed to be doing, because it’s much “safer”. If we fail at what we really want to do, then it would devastate us, right?

Following our passion makes us vulnerable, as it exposes us for what we really are. It opens us up to critics, to people who wish they could find their own passion and ride it into the sunset. But they would rather scrutinize those who do what they love. We can’t be afraid of critics.

When it comes down to it, there really isn’t much of an option to being happy if we don’t follow our passion. Whether it’s writing, blogging, creating web sites, directing films, writing music… all of these things have to be directed by what’s in our gut and what’s in our heart. There can’t be any nagging thoughts about small market share, or competition, or public reaction. Those are just distractions to keep us from doing the real work that needs to be done, the work worth doing.

Nobody really follows an artist with a potentially great business plan. We follow passion. The business plan comes later.

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{ 16 comments… read them below or add one }

Deb Owen May 28, 2009 at 10:41 am

What a great post and a great reminder! I received such a great compliment from a friend of mine this past weekend. Her comment? That from where she sat, she was amazed that I always remark on what is POSSIBLE. (Not small market share and business plans, but about passion leading to possibility.)

I am grateful, though. Because if it weren't for the ability to look to others, such as the book you mention, it would be much easier to get mired down in fear and forget what we're meant to do with our lives. We help each other remember our passion and fulfill possibilities.

All the best!
deb

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Glen Stansberry May 28, 2009 at 10:49 am

Thanks for the kind words Deb! Glad it could help.

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Circuitbomb May 28, 2009 at 2:36 pm

Great article on here, very moving. Passion is such a powerful asset we have as human beings. Great post man, deserves a retweet.

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Glen Stansberry May 28, 2009 at 2:38 pm

Thanks!

Yeah, I think people who want to create something get so bogged down with the little details so much that it overshadows the passion behind the product.

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Liz May 28, 2009 at 5:50 pm

Right on! There's a reason we never ask kids what kind of business plan they want to write when they grow up — we ask them what to be. Sometimes I wish we could all stay in touch with our childlike selves. Things would be much more imaginative, altho we'd probably be using Lego's for currency!

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Glen Stansberry May 29, 2009 at 12:33 am

As a Lego junkie growing up, I wouldn't mind having a “creative currency” or something of the sort. Maybe we drop the penny and adopt the lego? Then we could put tons more people on the Lego. Presidents, Einstein… everybody! :)

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Christine Martell May 28, 2009 at 6:10 pm

Great reminder. So easy to get distracted from the passion by all the expectations of those around us. And by trying to take our big picture vision and squash it into little business boxes. Grateful to see the possibilities enlarging everyday for new ways of doing business and bringing our work into the world

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David Turnbull May 28, 2009 at 7:50 pm

I've definitely fallen into the trap of following the money, but since I've started blogging about things that really interest me it doesn't really even feel like work anymore and although I still have plans to build a sustainable income it feels a lot less urgent.

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allproactive May 28, 2009 at 8:41 pm

Thanks Glen! This post was very timely because today I found myself being influenced by the critics and allowing them to obscure my vision.

It was just the boost I needed!

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Glen Stansberry May 29, 2009 at 12:31 am

Sweet! It's easy to throw fruit from the cheap seats… don't let them get you down :)

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Jared Goralnick May 30, 2009 at 1:17 pm

Amen. If only there was juts one solution to keeping that focus. Perhaps I could use a guide dog…

Thanks for a little push, Glen.

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Tim @ 360 Degree Self May 31, 2009 at 11:29 pm

Glen:

Great post! You are so right. I think I have made it a habit to put off or to suppress my passions. As we all know, habits are hard to break. But as someone who just turned 40 and is in a “job transition” I know this is the perfect time for me to hit the reset button and let my passions guide me a bit more. Thanks for this great reminder!

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Glen Stansberry May 31, 2009 at 11:36 pm

Yeah, you might as well make a complete transition, if that's what is going on in your life right now.

Also, I like the visual of the “reset button”… nice one!

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Jason of Kim and Jason June 20, 2009 at 12:22 am

Great post. So true. I think a lot of people get caught up in believing that work and play can't exist together. Following your passion can be a lot of fun, which makes it too good to be true for them. And so they settle.

I've often wondered what the world would look like if everyone actually took the risk to follow their passion.

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Jason of Kim and Jason June 20, 2009 at 4:22 am

Great post. So true. I think a lot of people get caught up in believing that work and play can't exist together. Following your passion can be a lot of fun, which makes it too good to be true for them. And so they settle.

I've often wondered what the world would look like if everyone actually took the risk to follow their passion.

Reply

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