Why ‘Follow Your Passion’ is an Incomplete Advice

You hear people say all the time that if you want to be successful and if you want to have a fulfilling career, you should follow your passion.

While that’s definitely true, it’s not a complete advice.

So what is the statement that completes it? 

Follow your passion and align it with your strengths.” 

I’ll give you my own example for this:

Entrepreneurship and Digital Marketing are two fields I’m really passionate about.

Now naturally someone will think “Okay you’re interested in marketing and entrepreneurship, that’s great! So you should have a company of your own, or you should have some kind of a digital marketing agency, or you should have something like a proper startup.

So that would be the natural thinking because I would be following my passion very directly in that case.

But you see the problem with that is that it’s not aligned with my strengths and my natural talent. My strengths do not involve working with teams or being very innovative when it comes to coming up with some product idea or something like that. That’s not my strength.

My strength always has been research and communication – that I can research something and communicate that particular topic to others in a very simple way.

A second strength of mine is that I can speak and write well – I’m good at inter-personal communication and I’m very confident when it comes to speaking in front of other people.

So both these strengths naturally make me go towards teaching or training. So when I teach something I’m passionate about (subjects like entrepreneurship or digital marketing), I feel much more fulfilled than I would feel if I was, let’s say, to start a marketing agency.

So you can see even though my passion, the field or the area of interest remains the same, I can have two completely different careers depending on whether I align it with my strengths or if I don’t.

Another example of this is from my other online course business, where I’m into teaching photography.  Now I’ve always loved photography and the moment someone sees that photography is my passion, the natural reaction I’ve seen in this field is – “Oh that’s it, you’ve found your calling, you should be a professional photographer.”  But I say this from first-hand experience that whenever I did commercial shoots I just hated doing them. I just did not enjoy doing them at all.

Instead, when I switched over to teaching photography and realized that teaching is my strength and that I need to align it with my passion for photography, I started my photography workshops where the job of being a photography trainer fulfilled me much more and I was much happier.

For example, learning about all the settings on a DSLR camera is a complex thing when you start off, so I broke the process down into simple steps and made it into something easy for people to understand so that they could learn photography in an easy way.  That was the value I enjoyed giving, not the value that people would normally associate with photography which is taking professional looking photographs.

When you align your passion with your strength, you stand a higher chance of giving more value because you are enjoying the process more.

Another benefit of aligning your passion with your strength or talent is that you’ll have to work less harder because your natural talent will make things easier for you.

So first figure out your passion or your area of interest because that is definitely very important because that’s what’s going to keep you going once your initial surge of passion or the energy goes away.

So passion is definitely very important because it just gives you that boost and it’s going to make you sustain things.

In fact you might have to discover new passions every time or keep steering yourself towards something that feels better and more in tune with your nature.  That is a never-ending process.

So doing something you like is definitely important but then do not forget about aligning it with your strengths.

In order to be able to do, sometimes you may have to take an approach which against the norm and expect people to criticize you.

For instance, in my my field of training and teaching, I have heard the following saying countless times:

Those who cannot do, teach.

I do not believe that at all because in my experience I’ve seen that some people, who are the top experts in their fields, can be awful teachers. They just do not have that natural acumen to teach something.

So strengths can be very different and you will have to just ask yourself  – What are you naturally good at? What comes to you easily which other people just find very tough?  And I keep saying this over and over that a lot of times we take our strengths, our natural strengths, for granted because it comes so easily to us, we never feel that we made any effort to get this. So we feel that we do not deserve this because this came to us so easily. It’s been hardwired into us that every good thing has to be difficult and that’s why sometimes we don’t become aware of what our true strengths are.

So follow your passion but then align it with your innate strengths.

You’ll be much more happy, fulfilled, and you will have a much higher chance of success, there is no doubt about that.

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