Don’t let your true passions to fall by the wayside: embrace five ways to rediscover them. By Stacey Horowitz (Founder & CEO, Shopping for a Change)
Sometimes it’s easy to let our passions get buried under all of the responsibilities that often come along with living in a fast-paced, hyper-connected world.
Beyond just a full plate, many of us have a full house! In fact, the vast majority of women I know who have full-time jobs also spend a great deal of time fulfilling domestic duties (laundry, shopping, cleaning) while being the primary caregiver for their children… even though they have a supportive spouse or partner.
Given those odds, how can we combine our passion for business with caring for people while still turning a profit?
As someone who founded a social enterprise combining past work experience with new passions, I believe it’s possible.Here are five steps for how to get there, along with questions to ask yourself along the way!
Step #1 – Cultivate Your Creative Juices
Do your best to grasp snippets of alone time in order to reconnect with what once got your creative juices flowing or to discover what new interests lie just below the surface.
Let’s face it, that time may only come along when you’re in the shower, in the bathroom, walking the dog or pushing the stroller. I’ve come up with some of my best ideas in some of these situations.
Reflect on when you’re the happiest, what brings a smile to your face and warmth to your heart. Maybe it’s just something you can imagine doing, but haven’t actually had time to experience yet first-hand.
Step #2 – Explore What’s Possible
Once you’re in touch with your (potential) passion, explore all the ways and variations in which you can bring that into your life.
Is it something to which you can devote five hours a week, or five days a week? Is it something you do alone or it involves others? Is it something you can do by joining up with others already doing it, or do you desire to create whatever it is from scratch? Maybe it’s similar in some ways to something that exists, but you are going to put your own spin on it and create something new as a result.
Step #3 – Get Real with What You Want
Once you have an idea, decide whether this is something you’re doing for passion alone, for money or for both. Is this something you will only do if it becomes a money-making venture? Can you afford to do it for passion alone (and if it makes money too, then great)?
When I created Shopping for a Change as a self-sustaining nonprofit, I did it with the idea that someday I would be able to take a salary from the business. While we’re still young and growing, my main motivation is to continue helpingothers around the world who are marginalized for a variety of reasons and when finances permit, I would like to hire staff prior to paying myself.
Step #4 – Rally Your Support System
Starting a business is a tough game, but it can be decidedly less daunting if you have an amazing support system of friends and family. I have been fortunate in that my husband has been a wonderful partner in raising our son and he helps share the load whenever his own hectic schedule (he works six days a week) allows.
Every time I’ve wanted to explore a passion, he has been right there to support me, whether it was painting and creating jewelry for customers by commission, learning to play the bass guitar at age 45, or founding a web-based nonprofit organization at age 50. Both he and my son have both been extremely supportive, and it would have been next to impossible for me to do what I do now without their buy-in.
Step #5 – Get up and Go
Ideas and dreams are all good things, but at some point – assuming Steps 1 through 4 are aligned – the final piece of the puzzle is to step out and take that final leap of faith.
Know you will encounter little failures along the way and nothing will ever turn out exactly how you envisioned, but if you follow your passion rest assured the fulfillment you’ll feel far exceeds humming along wondering to yourself “What if, what if, what if?”
From a personal standpoint, though there are times I go to bed tired and wake up still exhausted, I know what I’m doing matters. My work is making a difference in the lives of others and for me, and that’s the richest paycheck ever. Additionally, being in touch with our passions can make us happier, healthier and a more balanced wife, partner, mother and friend.
How do you make time for your passions?
Photo credit: seeyou via Shutterstock.
About the guest blogger: Stacey Horowitz is the founder of Shopping for a Change, a marketplace for fair trade products by artisans from economically disadvantaged areas. The company's mission is to help the artisans raise themselves out of poverty, fund community improvement projects in the artisans’ communities, and raise additional funds for U.S. based nonprofits. Follow on Twitter at @ShopForAChange