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Pursuing Your Interests: Baby Steps or Big Plunge?

As you begin reading this article, ask yourself a question ... are you pursuing your passion right now? If you aren't, why not? What's holding you back?

For a lot of people, it's the fear of taking The Big Plunge.

There's an underlying belief in our culture that we need to do everything in one fell swoop. To make a commitment and charge ahead with both guns blazing. We want maximum results - right here, right now.

And that leaves some people feeling paralyzed.

That's unfortunate, because the passion pursuit is really a long-term gig. At the risk of being cliché, it's a journey, not a destination.

Your passion may not manifest fully right away. It may take a year, or five, or ten. And that's OK. The important thing is that you start taking those first steps, because you'll never know what your journey has to offer unless you do. We forget that there's a shallow end of the pool as well! We can dip our toes in and see how the water feels.

The Passion Pool

I like to describe committing to the passion pursuit as getting in the Passion Pool. We're conditioned to think that we need to climb the high dive and take a soaring leap into the deep end. For many, that's a terrifying thought that keeps them on the edge of the pool, looking longingly at the water, but unwilling to take The Big Plunge.

We forget that there's a shallow end of the pool as well! We can dip our toes in and see how the water feels. We can wade in up to our knees and start splashing about, taking small steps to bring that passion into our lives. As we get accustomed to it, we can start going a little deeper.Hey! Up to my waist!.and deeper.Whoohoo! Up to my armpits! Wow! This feels kinda good!

I've heard countless excuses from people for why they can't pursue their passions. "I've got a mortgage. I've got to put the kids through college. I've got this obligation or that obligation."

OK. So you've got major obligations that are standing in the way of taking The Big Plunge. That's reasonable. But what's stopping you from delighting in a little splashing in the shallow end? You may not be in a position to jump in feet first, but I'll bet you dollars to donuts that you are able to find a way to dip in your toes.

Stomping grapes in the Passion Pool

Paul Beveridge, an environmental attorney in Seattle, has had a long-standing love affair with wine. In 1988, in the cellar of his wife's restaurant, Paul dipped his toes in his own Passion Pool and made his first two barrels of wine.

In the years since, the number of barrels has grown steadily, though Paul has kept it small enough to manage as a side business. Wilridge Winery (www.wilridgewinery.com) now produces 80 barrels a year and has won numerous awards for its wine.

Paul has also been able to add his passion for ceramics to the mix, creating extraordinary ceramic wine bottles (even taking on the challenge of creating a huge magnum holding fourteen cases of his wine, which sold for $10,000 at a local charity auction).

He still practices environmental law downtown. The potential is always there for taking The Big Plunge and focusing exclusively on the winery, but for now Paul has created an opportunity to pursue his passion on a scale that makes sense for him and his family. It has been - and continues to be - a slowly evolving, ongoing journey.

Start now!

I'd like to encourage you to make a commitment to yourself. In the next seven days, identify one thing you can do to begin pursuing your passion - and start doing it! How can you work within your current obligations and take those first steps along your passionate path?

It doesn't matter how small it is - the important thing is that you do it!

If you've already got a clear picture of the passions you'd like to pursue, then identify small, achievable ways you can start bringing them into your life.

Are you a budding artist? Commit to painting for an hour each week. Love to teach people? Start mentoring or tutoring someone for an hour a week, or spend an hour each week teaching your kids something new. Want to be an outdoor guide? Plan a weekend trip with friends once a month.

And remember, there are no wrong decisions. Nothing you explore is cast in stone, so feel free to experiment.

-Curt Rosengren
As a Passion Catalyst (sm), Curt Rosengren helps people identify their passions and create careers that ignite them. He works with individuals, conducts workshops, and speaks on passion-focused topics. He also publishes PassionKey (sm), an online newsletter dedicated to helping you live your passion.
E-mail: curt@passioncatalyst.com
Web: www.passioncatalyst.com