Turning a passion into a full-time gig can equally be a rewarding and challenging process. When we label something as ‘our passion’, we have already created a personal attachment to it on some level. Offering a greater sense of value and meaning, our business, born from our passion, can become an expression of our self-love and equally self-defining.
For example, as we put our passion into action, the process can feel more personal, like we are exposing parts of ourselves to the world. We may believe that we have more to lose if our business doesn’t work out.
This is how beliefs and behaviours like the fear of failure, perfection, or judgement arise prior to, and throughout the business development process.
To ensure we give our new venture the best possible chance of survival, we must make our “inner game” (self-development) a full-time gig alongside our “outer game” (business).
For those looking to make the move, here is my advice – both as an executive developmental coach, and someone that made the move from a decade long career in the corporate world to follow their true passion;
Clarity on Intention
“Why do I want to do this?”
The question to ask yourself is, what is my intention here?
Is this decision purpose-led or does it just seem like a pretty good idea? Really challenge your beliefs and motivations to get clarity on whether you are doing this for the right reasons and not out of distraction or escape from your current situation e.g. a difficult boss or needing more money.
At the outset, it’s easy to fantasise and visualise how we ‘think’ the process is going to be. However the realities of running a business come with their challenges so when the going gets tough, stress symptoms can strike and the passion can quickly turn into pressure.
Being truly aligned with our ‘why’ is one way can remain committed and consistent through the ups and downs of being a business owner.
You could start by following this three-step process :
- Move into a quiet uninterrupted space, and start by following simple breathwork or meditation to optimise the process
- Shift your awareness from the rational thinking mind (which is where self-doubt, judgement, and fear live) to your heart center – you can place your hands over your heart if it helps. Take a few deep slow breaths, and ask yourself the following questions, keeping your awareness in your heart center
- What is meaningful and important to me about <insert passion>? What genuinely moves me to make <passion> into a business? Is this what I truly want? Write down what arises without judgement.
Research shows that when we activate the heart through breath and awareness, we bring our mental, emotional and physical system into alignment, shifting our inner guidance towards compassion, clarity, and higher ‘positive’ emotional states, for example.
Identify your blind spots
“How am I getting myself in the way?”
They are called blind spots for a reason because we can’t see them on our own. Working with a coach is a great way to identify and clear unconscious and unuseful beliefs, patterns, or habits that we are not aware of, that can trip us up along the way.
This may be the first time you have had any real feedback about your passion project and so, it can bring up beliefs around rejection, failure, self-worth, or safety and security for example.
If you can start your entrepreneurial journey with greater self-awareness along with tools and techniques to support you along the way, you’ll be better equipped to deal with mental and emotional challenges as they arise.
“How is my perfection limiting me?”
Perfectionism is common when running your own gig. This can show up in our performance and in how we approach the operations and outcomes of the business. We can forget why it was a passion in the first place. We can also forget to have fun in the process because we’re trying to maintain perfection to future-proof any possibility of failure – which of course is impossible and unsustainable!
Perfection can be useful in certain contexts, such as reviewing contract negotiations, but mostly it slows productivity, stifles creativity, and creates procrastination. If you can embrace imperfect action along the way, not only can you experience more momentum with your business, there’s the opportunity for fearlessness and freedom to unfold in how you create and operate.
Examples of imperfect action to practice:
- Focus on enjoying the process rather than waiting to celebrate the outcome
- New belief, “I’ve done the best I can, (it’s) good enough as it is”
- Knowing when you’ve done the best you could, with the time and resources available
- Acknowledge the smaller steps/wins along the way
This post was written by Frances Fey, founder of Think Maven.