Productivity Showdown Day 2

March 23rd, 2005 by Steve Pavlina

The hard work vs. laziness productivity blog showdown between myself and Fred Gratzon continues at Slacker Manager. Today we tackle the following questions:

1) The money and the passion… You both seem to encourage paying less attention to how much money you make, and pay more attention to what you’re passionate about. With that in mind, please address the following:
a. What if your passion IS money?
b. What should I do if my passion requires money, and in order to make money, I need to work a whole bunch of hours per week at a job I’m not passionate about, leaving no time for my passion?
c. Conversely, what should I do if I know that my passion is staying home with my family (or similar non-paying passion), but doing that won’t pay the bills? How can I reconcile being away from my family/passion in order to “just” make money?

Here is my response, and here is Fred’s.

What can I say about Fred’s answers? I totally agree with him.

I think our answers are extremely congruent — we each addressed the questions on different levels though. Fred tackled them on the level of belief and attitude, whereas I gave more “how to” answers. We both agree that you shouldn’t remain stuck in a situation where you aren’t loving life.

Fred writes: “I don’t believe any passion is non-paying. You can always find a way.” I agree. Too many people are held back by the limiting belief that you can’t make money doing what you love. But I think that a lot of people don’t feel comfortable challenging that assumption until they can mentally envision a safe path for themselves from where they are now to where they want to go. This is why I outlined a decision-making process to help people understand exactly how to do that. Once you can envision a path and believe it will work, then it’s a lot easier to drop limiting beliefs and get moving. You don’t have to blindly dive into pursuing your passion and risk it all — that certainly works for some people, but it’s very risky and has a high failure rate too. It will take some courage no matter what path you take, but it doesn’t require a blind leap of faith in my opinion. I think it’s important to consider how you’re going to pay your rent and support your family and whether you can actually make a living from your passion… before you make your move.

For example, when I wanted to transition to my new career in speaking and writing, I outlined a plan to navigate the transition that would keep in balance my needs (like paying my mortgage), abilities (do I have the talent and skills to pull this off?), passion (will I be doing what I love?), and conscience (will I be contributing and making a meaningful difference in the world?). This included cutting some of my expenses to keep my cashflow needs reasonable, keeping my old business running on the side, and planning to build a new high-traffic web site with lots of free content and eventually info products for sale; developing my speaking skills via Toastmasters and competing in speech contests; spending the majority of my time doing work I love (like writing and speaking); and doing work that I believed was truly helping people. It was easier to get moving when I could see on paper just how this transition was going to work AND convinced myself that it would work. Even with all this planning, it still took courage to commit to this transition and get started, and I certainly met a lot of resistance from those who preferred to see me stay put, but I knew it was just a matter of overcoming inertia until the momentum would carry me forward (as it’s doing now).

Fred and I both agree that passion is critical. If you overemphasize passion though, especially as you make the transition to living with more passion, then you risk neglecting your needs, failing to upgrade your skills, and building a career that’s devoid of meaning. And these factors will ultimately degrade your passion if you don’t address them. Your passion will only magnify if you achieve abundance instead of scarcity, if you become ever more skilled at doing what you love, and if you’re making a meaningful contribution.

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