I recently had a conversation with a friend who had tried to turn their passion into a business and had become quite miserable as a result. Instead of finding financial freedom and happiness, they found themselves working every day of the week. It took only a short time for their “passion” to become a chore.
In a world where everybody wants to be the next Dangote, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates or Elon Musk, it’s easy to sell people a motivational speech that says Follow your passion and become a billionaire. What the motivational speaker won’t tell you is that the Steve Jobs of the world are the outliers. For every successful individual who turned their passion into a money-spinner, there are a million failed businesses you won’t read about in the papers.
Passion is NOT the magic ingredient that will ensure most people succeed. Perseverance (Call it grit, mental toughness or resilience) is. More than being able to start tasks, you need to be able to see them through to the finish. That can only happen if you develop the strength to keep going even on bad days.
The path to success is not a linear graph as most people envision. You will face challenges and setbacks. There will be times when you feel like quitting. It is at those times that the resilient shine through. At that point, the glamour will have worn off and passion is no longer enough to see you through.
It is ok to be passionate about something and do it on weekends. Your passion does not have to become your main source of income. You can have a career that you do on weekdays and do something you are passionate about in your spare time. I have two friends who write poems in their spare time. Both have promising corporate careers. They happen to enjoy writing poems but acknowledge the difficulty of earning a living as a poet in Nigeria.
That you happen to be a great chef does not automatically mean you have the skill to manage a restaurant. Before you quit your job to follow your passion, talk to people who have walked the path. You will hear the stories that never made it to social media.