You’ve heard the advice: “Follow your heart”. If you do that, you’ll eventually do the work you love and everything will just work out. Eventually. Hopefully.
That old advice is probably first used in romantic novels or movies. Then, it branches out to work and entrepreneurship. You have an idea that you think it can work as a business? Well, follow your heart and go for it!
So does “follow your heart” mean quitting your job and just do what you’re passionate about? Is it the answer to all the life’s purpose questions?
But if you do something days in and days out, every day, will you still be passionate about it?
If you love baking, now if you bake hundreds of pastries and cakes every day, will you still love doing it on your day off?
If you love sandwich, now if you work at a sandwich shop every day, will you still want a sandwich for lunch?
If you have a successful business doing what you love, that’s fantastic. It’s easy to say “follow your heart”. But if you’re struggling, do you doubt that “follow your heart” advice? Do you no longer feel joyful when you do activities that you used to enjoy?
If you making your passion as your business, you’re in constant creation mode. This is especially hard for artists. Because money is an inevitable aspect of business and when it’s a business, you have to think about money. So often, the questions you ask wouldn’t be “Do I enjoy this?” but you’d ask “Would people like this? Would this sell?”.
When you bake a cake for your own bakery, do you enjoy making it or do you rush through the process to meet the deadline? Would you want to explore new way to create or decorate a cake on your days off?
So, what am I saying? Should you or should you not follow your heart in business?
You should. There’s a difference between passion and purpose.
When you enter the entrepreneurship and build a business out of passion, the line between the two can be blurry. Passion is what you love doing. Purpose is WHY you do it.
Passion alone won’t sustain your business. Purpose can.
Purpose is tied with your impact in the world. How you serve or help others, how you make a difference in someone’s life, that’s meaningful.
Every successful business needs this purpose. It is the anchor that helps you weather the storms.
When you love baking, doing it every day for money might kill your creative sparks and your joy. But when you bake for a cause, for the purpose of celebrating others for example, your work becomes greater than you. It now has meaning and you can power through obstacles and actually enjoy the process and take pride in your accomplishment.
When we do something we love, we don’t always think of the purpose. Passion is a starting point that can leads to the discovery of our purpose.
So what if you start something out of passion for business and now nothing is working and you’ve also lost our joy in doing our used-to-be favorite activities?
That’s a beautiful about being humans. We don’t just like one thing. We like many things. We’re capable of doing many things that interest us.
When you temporarily lose your enjoyment on your path of finding purpose from passion, don’t force yourself to do more of it. Creation requires down time for you to replenish, to rejuvenate. So take break and enjoy other interests. Your interests don’t have to be another passion. They can be something you enjoy, even if it’s binging on Netflix. Hello entertainment!
After all, it is a journey. You don’t know the outcome yet. Maybe your passion will become a blockbuster business, maybe it won’t. That’s part of discovery. In the meantime, follow your passion and enjoy the ride.