Following our passion or chasing the money seems to be the classic dilemma of life - especially for creative entrepreneurs.
Sure, we all know those who are not only passionate about their work but also incredibly successful. So even though this four minute mile has long been broken, we seem to believe that it’s reserved for the few and fortunate to achieve “the dream.”
Yet, when we look at 1000 True Fans by Kevin Kelly, he basically breaks down how success is very attainable to those of us without a Lady Gaga following.
My friend August gives some good advice on how to pay attention to your passions. She recommends taking time to meditate and to write down ideas.
I’m a big fan of both of these ideas. For a long time I resisted meditation - believing this to be too “passive” or just plain waste of time. In reality it is essential to creativity.
There’s been studies that one of the key reasons why we sleep is to “empty the cup.” Our brains literally need to dump their buffers filled with stuff that accumulates throughout day. According to this video and referenced study, it’s one or the other.. operating or flushing wastes..
On the other hand Mike Rowe shares why he says we shouldn’t follow our passions - he shares how his passion was to be a tradesman, but was told by his grandfather that life would be a lot more satisfying and productive if I got myself a different kind of toolbox.
That was a tough and bitter pill to swallow, but Rowe says, “I remember a very successful septic tank cleaner who told me his secret of success. ‘I looked around to see where everyone else was headed, and then I went the opposite way,’ he said. ‘Then I got good at my work. Then I found a way to love it. Then I got rich.’”
So, how can we “turn pro” as creative entrepreneurs?
While you’re building your bridge to creative life, invest in side projects. These will often be the building blocks to your future success. Felicia Day found that different skills like craft paid off when she needed to everything from graphics for her videos to promotional flyers.
Steve Jobs discovered that his passion for calligraphy helped Apple to find its niche with desktop publishers and graphic designers.
Surround yourself with creative entrepreneurs - especially those who are just a little ahead of you on the path you want to go down.
Whether it’s the new wave of film makers like George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola, or the Paris writers during the 1920s like Hemingway, you will find not only inspiration and encouragement but connections for funding or work.
Our school systems still teach the pass / fail mentality of the Industrial Age. Instead, choose to think in terms of only success and lessons. We’ve definitely talked about how fear is the death of creativity.
As Thomas A. Edison said, "I have not failed. I've just found 10000 ways that won't work."
Your creative business is a lot like tango. When I teach a class, I point out how students often get in their own way by being afraid to try a step. Being relaxed and open to possibilities allows your creativity to flow.
So where do you stand on this debate? How you feel about this decision?