How amazing would it be if you could begin each day feeling inspired and excited because you are able to work on something that you truly love? If you could feel that your future rests in your own hands because you have the inner power to utilise your innate abilities? Would you feel an immense sense of freedom and an ample amount of joy? Would you feel more fulfilled and rich from within because, by embracing your own natural talents and striving to be your best, you’re on the path to personal growth and self-actualisation?
Since I was a child, I’ve always believed in turning my passion into my life’s work. My dad is a passionate golfer, an ex-national marathon runner, and an entrepreneur who lives life with passion. When he becomes interested in something, he gets obsessed with it and becomes the best at it. I believe that I was also born this way, and maybe I was also influenced and inspired by my father’s way of life. No matter what I engage in, I make sure I become really good at it. However, as I grew up, I realised that it is not so easy to earn money from my passion. I spent several years of my life thinking about my passions and which one I could turn into my life’s work. I went on so many different paths, from doing music marketing to advertising, media, new product development, and tech startups. I can fully say now that my current venture, The Happiness Planner, is my true calling. Not only does it give me an ample amount of joy and motivation when I wake up each morning, but it also gives me freedom. If you have been thinking about turning your passion into your life’s work, here are a few tips from my own experience of finding my true calling and turning it into my life’s work.
1. Know yourself
This might sound easy. But not many of us actually know ourselves. We may think we do, but if we really sit down and think about who we truly are and what we truly want in life, we might feel stuck for weeks and months before we can come up with answers. Most of us live life based on the opinions of others - of society, of parents, of what we read and were taught to believe. We go from step one, two, three, without questioning whether those steps are even necessary or if it’s possible to break away from the societal norms and patterns. At some point in our lives, we will start to feel stuck, because the path we have been on doesn’t actually give us true fulfilment. Often, we have stayed on the path because it is familiar, it is predictable, it is stable, and it is secure. Paving a new path for one’s self is scary. But when you reach that point in your life, you realise that in order for you to feel truly fulfilled, you need to understand what would make you feel fulfilled. And you can only do that when you know who you truly are.
If you find yourself stuck at this stage of your life, make a conscious practice to self-reflect regularly and read personal development books. This practice will help you look further within yourself and eventually, one day, you will wake up with an epiphany - a life-changing moment where you feel like a brand new person with a new mindset.
These exercises below might help you understand yourself better and find out what truly makes you feel fulfilled:
Look at your past experiences and the situations you’ve been in. When you had to pick between two critical decisions in life, which path did you go with? The path your gut instinct tells you to choose normally reflects your core values.
Look at the people you dislike. Why do you dislike someone? What is it about them that you don’t like? What is it about their behavior that you don’t like? Is it their work ethic? Is it their perspective of the world, their attitude, or their beliefs?
Look at the people you like and admire. Why do you like someone? What is it about them that you like or admire? Is it their work ethic, their attitude, their perspective of the world, and their beliefs? Is it their way of life? Is it their ambition, their aspiration, the way they work, or the way they think? Is it what they’ve done in life? Is it the “reason” behind why they do what they do?
What did you love doing as a child? What were your childhood hobbies? Were you good at drawing, painting, writing, music, or sports? When you role-played as a kid, what role did you enjoy playing? A lot of the time, these relate to your natural talents. Natural talents are what you’re innately good at, especially when you’re not restricted by societal norms and your dreams and imagination are still running wild.
What do you love doing in general? Do you find joy in making sure things are organised? Do you like freedom? Do you hate or love routine? Do you like talking to people you don’t know? Do you enjoy learning something that is methodological and systematic or abstract and conceptual? How do you describe the way you think and the way you see things?
It might be quite hard to know what our purpose in life is. However, it is pretty obvious what our passions and interests are. Whether you have one or several passions, embrace your passion at full force and become the best at it. Never leave it astray or forget what used to make your heart beat or what used to soothe you emotionally.
Do you remember what you’re good at as a child and at school? Look beyond the surface of what you loved. For example, if math was your favourite subject, what did you love about it? Did you love it because it got you to think strategically? What side of the brain did it use? Was science your favourite subject? Why did you love science? Was it because it relates to things you can relate to in real life or the fact that you can prove it factual? Did you love art? How did you feel when you engaged in art? What made you love art? Was it the sense of freedom you got from being able to draw and paint and let your imagination run wild? Was it an escape from the unpleasant environment you were in? Did it provide emotional comfort? Did you like it because there are no set rules in art and being creative means being and thinking differently? Look deep into the underlying psychological side of why you love something and turn that into something you can apply to your work and career. And sometimes, you don’t even need to step away from your childhood dreams and hobbies. You just need to know how to turn what you’re good at into a valuable asset that people want to pay for.
3. Evaluate all of your passions and see what stands out the most.
Most of us are passionate about and are good at a lot of things. It can be quite confusing to figure out which one we should strive to be the best at and turn into our life’s work.
Make a list of all of your passions and see which one you’re the best at and if there are a lot of people with the same passion. If what you’re good at is something that a lot of people are also good at, it can be very challenging for you to earn sufficient money, especially if the demand for what you offer is lower than the supply. Pick the one passion where you think you have the most opportunity to stand out, and stick to it.
4. Master what you’re great at
Once you’ve decided which passion you’re going to become the best at, pour your heart and soul into it and focus on doing it better than everyone else.
In my own life, I love inspiring people. I also love marketing and branding and I’m good at it. I have proved to myself and to other people that I am capable of inspiring people through my blog. Although, when I started my blog, I didn’t really think about how I would monetise it. I was just focusing on creating great content that inspired people. Receiving daily emails from my readers telling me how inspiring my blog was made me very happy. That’s when I realised this is what I want to do well and do for the rest of my life.
5. Find your niche
Being good at something is not enough. You also have to be different. You need to find your niche or your unique value proposition.
How can you be different? How are you better than the other people who are doing the same thing as you? What is the gap in the market? What can you offer that others don’t? What is unique about you? How can you make people remember you?
I believe my voice is my unique value proposition. Everything I write about relates to me and comes from my own thoughts and experiences. This cannot be replicated. It is important that you find out what makes you stand out and that it cannot be replaced or copied easily. People can copy you or be similar to you, but that’s just one facet of it. You are a combination of several things put together. Make sure that is reflected in your work.
6. Create something new
Once you know what your niche is, create a product or a service that you can offer to the world. Sometimes it’s hard to create something that stands out, especially in such a crowded market. If that’s the case, you have to create something totally new and different.
What is missing in the market?Can you create something new by merging a few simple things together? What are the two genres or niches that people love? How can you combine the two and create something new and interesting?How can you use new technology and trends to create something innovative that the market doesn’t currently have?
In my case, I realised that people love personal development stuff - self-help books, inspirational blogs, motivational articles. People (especially females) also love and still use paper planners and journals. However, there’s nothing in the market that is a combination of the two. This is how the idea of The Happiness Planner was conceived.
7. Find your market
Now that you know what you’re going to offer to the world, and have established your unique value proposition and branding, you need to know who your audience is. Who is going to like your work and your style? Who is going to vouch for you? Who is going to appreciate what you put out in the world? Define this and build a fan base by showcasing your talents and gifts through content creation. Find ways to reach out to them and attract them to you.
Most importantly, you need to understand who your customers are. You need to understand them beyond their age, gender, or other demographics. It is important that you dig deep into human psychology to uncover their attitudes, lifestyle, hopes, and dreams, and to build an authentic connection with them.
8. Build a system
Your business won’t run on its own. You won’t become successful and have freedom to yourself if you don’t build an effective and efficient system. With the power of technology and globalisation, you can do things on a big scale with a small team or as a solo entrepreneur. You just have to find a system that works for you. Find a way to automate work. Assign tasks that can be done by others - tasks that are tedious and time-consuming. Pour your time and energy towards something you’re good at. It may take quite a while for you to come up with the most feasible structure, but once you’ve worked out the system, things will become much easier, and you will have more time to focus on the bigger picture and on yourself.