Common wisdom suggests that if you love what you do you’ll do just fine. I’ve found that while passion for your chosen line of work is certainly important – if you don’t get good and what you do and people don’t value what you do – money will not necessarily follow.
My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast, Cal Newport author of So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love, takes this even farther to suggest that skill, not passion, is the key to successfully finding work your love.
The problem with “Follow your passion” it that it assumes you have preexisting passion and that if you match this passion to your job you’ll enjoy that job.
Newport advocates cultivating your passion as a more realistic approach.
“Cultivate” implies that you work toward building passion for your job. It requires you to approach your work like a crafstman. Honing your ability, and then leveraging your value, once good, to shape your working life toward the type of lifestyle that resonates with you.
Cultivating a passion requires you to try new things in order to discover what you’re good at and then take the time to get so good you come to enjoy it.
This approach is a lot like starting a business. In the beginning you have an idea about who you want to serve and what you want the business to become, but quite often as you experiment with how to build it you find that it naturally evolves into something very different.