Why Following Your Passion Doesn’t Really Work

Why Following Your Passion Doesn’t Really Work - Mary Morrissey

We’ve all heard the phrase, “follow your passion”. It sounds like wonderful advice.

But when it comes to creating a life you absolutely love, and making your dreams come true…

Following your passion doesn’t work. It won’t make your life better.

The advice sounds good, in theory. You think, “If I follow my passion, it will take me where I want to go.” You believe that following your passion will mean the entire journey will be happy. It’s also advice that you hear all the time. 

When we hear phrases that everyone knows, they seem like they must be true. Take these, for example:

  • Life has a way of working itself out. 
  • Money is the root of all evil.
  • Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.

Those examples sound true, don’t they? None of them are true when you think about it. 

Your life won’t work itself out the way you want unless you take actions to move it that way. The phrase is “love of money…”, which is not the same. Believing money is evil will put up blocks to attracting it in your life.

Doing what you love is wonderful advice. But it doesn’t mean you won’t work. It usually means you’ll work harder!

Many of the paradigms that put up barriers to your dreams are common phrases. 

For example:

We aren’t rich, but we’re happy.

This common phrase can make you feel better about your current situation. But it will also keep you from attracting wealth because you equate it with unhappiness.

You can’t follow your passion to your dream. You have to “come from” your dream. I will explain this more fully later in the post.

In brave thinking, we realize to create a life we love, we need to live into our passion

Brave Thinkers and Passion

I have come to believe that our true purpose is to discover and then deliver who we actually are. That’s true for every single person. Even if you don’t know it.

Every one of us is far more than we’ve ever known. We contain far more than we’ve ever thought. Our purpose is to discover that. Then bring it forth in some visible form.

Brave thinking is expansive thinking. We know that we are more powerful and contain more potential than any circumstance, situation, or condition.

So where does passion come into brave thinking?

Passion guides the forms that your purpose can fulfill. What you’re in love with comes from your purpose.

When you ask yourself, what would I love?

The answer to that question becomes your purpose. Your purpose is to discover who you are and bring it forth. Your passion is the form that it’s going to take. Then there’s meaning.

Over time, you begin to discover that every day starts to mean more to you. You realize this is life’s greatest gift. It’s handed to every one of us. Each morning before you is the greatest gift. The gift of this day. 

You get to determine what your day is. Nobody creates a great life. You can create great days by creating great moments that come from your purpose. 

As brave thinkers, we don’t “follow” our passion. We live into our passion. This may sound like a small semantic difference, but it’s profound when you consider it fully.

A Story of Life Transformation

There was a young woman who came to me once. She took the DreamBuilding workshop and she had a dream for adventure. When she got into the imaginal realm of really envisioning what she wanted her life to look like, she had never done any traveling. 

I didn’t know much about her. She had taken the workshop and then made an appointment with me to talk. 

She told me that when she got clear about what she wanted, she lit up thinking about adventure and traveling. That’s what she wanted to do. She’d never been able to do any of that before.

She didn’t go to college. She got a hairstyling license and went to work right after high school. At this point, she was in her thirties, but she’d thought of cutting hair on a cruise ship. For all those years she could see herself in exotic places.

She pictured herself on beaches. As she talked, I could see her just light up at the idea of the possibility of exploring and traveling. 

Then she mentioned part of the DreamBuilder training. She said when I asked her to test her dream to see if it aligned with her core values, it didn’t. It was like there was a part of her that wasn’t happy about doing that.

When Your Passion Doesn’t Align with Your Core Values

I asked her to describe what the feeling was that made her think it was misaligned.

She said that her husband supported her. 

At the time we spoke, she had a contract with a major cruise line. The contract meant that she would be gone for three months at a time. And she’d only be home for three weeks between her time away. 

Three months away, three weeks home. That schedule would go on for fifteen months.

Her husband loved and supported her. He wanted her to have what she wanted, even offering to take care of their three-year-old while she was gone. 

It didn’t align for her because she was concerned about the long-range effects. What would it mean to her three-year-old? When her child was ten or twelve, would she resent that her mother missed a year of her life?

I told her that the fact that she was not settled about it was a very strong signal that it was not in alignment with her own core values.

When your passion is in alignment with your core values, it all lines up. Every part of you agrees. 

Not all parts of you will know how to do it. Of course not. It’s outside of what you’ve known before. But you will never have parts of you arguing about whether it is your path.

Living Into Your Passion

When we talked more about her dream, I noticed the thing that struck her about travel was the call of adventure. I told her to go back to the dream realm. 

I wanted her to go back to her imagination and explore other images of adventure. Adventure for the expansive and adventure for a form of life where she had been feeling constricted. I knew there was something beckoning her.

The picture of travel wasn’t in alignment with her core values. That didn’t mean that adventure wasn’t for her.

I wanted her to go back to her dream realm and explore that adventure passion that made her light up. We agreed that she should explore, expand, consider, and pull out a big fish.

She came back a few weeks later. I could tell by the light in her eyes and the square of her shoulders that she had found it. 

She spent time getting close to herself. That meant listening to herself and exploring what adventure really means in her life. What she realized was that she never went to college. Her father had an old-fashioned viewpoint that girls didn’t need to go to college. They were only going to get married and have babies, so it would be a waste.

Her parents were going to send the boys to college, but not the girls. She was the only one out of her siblings who wanted to go to college. When she voiced that want, her father told her she was not college material.

She believed those words and went on to become a hairstylist. When she got quiet and listened to herself, she realized that she didn’t want to cut hair. She was focusing on the cruise ship as a symbol of breaking free, but she didn’t want to cut more hair, she wanted to do that less.

If she had followed her passion, she may have wound up on a cruise ship, cutting hair. But that wouldn’t have made her happy. It wasn’t living into her passion.

Brave Thinking to Connect Your Passion and Purpose

When she got connected with herself, her true realization was that she always wanted to teach kids. That was her dream from childhood, but she thought it was impossible. After all, you need a college degree to become a teacher.

When she realized that was her real purpose, she shared it with her husband. Together, they explored possibilities to finance her dream. 

Her adventure wasn’t sandy beaches and traveling at all. It was the adventure of learning. Something she’d been craving since childhood. 

When she created the opportunity to pursue that dream, she finished her undergrad degree in two years and a summer. All while working part-time.

She finished so quickly that her own three-year-old was one of the students in her first kindergarten class. 

The absolute joy when I went to visit her was something you could feel in the air. That energy filled up the room. Her dream was so in alignment with her core values that it was a blessing to her, and everyone who knew her.

When you find your purpose and it aligns with your core values, you’re living into your passion. 

Ready to Live Into Your Passion With an Ignited Vision?

Learning how to live into your passion is an essential part of creating a life that you love living. When your passion is aligned with your core values, every part of you lights up.

You can see from the example above that following your passion won’t work. If my client followed her passion, she might still be doing a job she didn’t love. She needed to gain clarity to discover her true purpose and live into her passion.

Want to learn my step-by-step process for doing the same?

Download the free eBook, Igniting Your Vision: Designing a Dream That Lights You Up.

With this free eBook, you’ll learn how to find your true purpose and create the life that you truly love living. We give you a simple, step-by-step process to design your dream and bring it to life.


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