The Money Trap: How to Choose Between Money and Passion

The Money Trap: How to Choose Between Money and PassionContributed by Shawn Johal, business growth coach, leadership speaker and co-founder of DALS Lighting, Inc. He is also an active member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization Montreal chapter. 

“A wise person should have money in their head, but not in their heart.”
–Jonathan Swift

Do you ever wake up wishing you had enough money to stop working and the option to follow your passion without any worries? Sounds pretty cool, right?

It’s safe to say most of us would love to be in this position, but this rare lifestyle appears to be reserved for a small percent of the population.

Forget the money for a second. Perhaps the more relevant question to ask yourself is: “Do I wake up Monday morning motivated to tackle the week ahead?”

I run the test on myself all the time, asking myself: Am I as excited when the work week rolls around as when Friday night comes knocking? Better yet, am I so passionate about my work that I cannot define the line between my job and my personal life?

To begin to unpack the money/passion dichotomy, start by asking yourself whether these statements ring true for you:

  • I am so fulfilled by my work, I hardly know the difference between personal and professional time.
  • Whenever I have the chance, I will sneak back into work because it brings me joy.
  • I believe I am making a difference in the world, be it small or big.
  • Weekends and weekdays no longer hold their traditional definition; I am most often feeling great about the way I use my time.

We often get an impression because of social media that all of our friends and colleagues are living the dream. They don’t have a worry in the world; life is great!

In reality, we know that anxiety is rampant. Stress levels in the workplace are sky high—higher than ever before. Depression is a serious condition being experienced by millions around the world. Social media may send one message, but there’s another message beneath the surface: We may not be living out the vision we intended for ourselves.

There’s good news. There are steps you can take to bridge the gap between financial goals and personal happiness.

Step 1: Ask yourself questions

Take the time to ask yourself hard questions about your life as it stands today. Are you passionate about your work? Do you get along with your colleagues. Is this where you expected to be in your career 10 years ago? Given the choice, would you change jobs? If you come back unsatisfied with the answers, time to look at making certain changes in your life.

Step 2: Analyze your strengths

There is always an opportunity to do things differently. Often, we are standing in our own way. Write down a list of your strengths. Now, focus on these elements above all else. How could you use these qualities in your everyday work? When we are constantly improving our strengths, good things happen. Focusing on your strengths yields a greater impact than spending time on weaknesses.

Step 3: Write down goals

Writing down your goals is a huge part of the process. Take the time to write down what you would like to accomplish in your life. The easiest way is to define specific buckets for each of your goals: personal, business, family, community is one way to go about the process. Choose one “stretch” goal for each—something that is slightly improbable but still within reach, something you’d love to just finally accomplish.

Step 4: Explore

Now that you have identified your strengths and written your goals, start exploring new avenues. Maybe your career is fantastic and on the rise, but you have alway wanted to write a book. Maybe you’ve been wanting to take an online course or grow your side hustle.

We know it intuitively, but here’s a reminder: Nothing is stopping you from taking on your passion projects. We all need a paycheck: If you depend on it heavily, research new niches or industries that might attract you. They may be better aligned with your vision, and the closer you get to your passion while earning the paycheck, the better you’ll feel, and the closer you’ll get to living out your passion.

Step 5: Act

Dreaming without a plan won’t get you very far; time to take real, concrete steps to make your dreams a reality. Brendon Burchard has a great system he calls “The Big 5 Steps.” The process starts by figuring out the five most important steps you need to take to accomplish each individual goal.

So take one of your goals, and build out the next five steps—no matter how small each one is—that will bring you closer to your goal. The smaller the steps, the easier to handle. And before you know it, you’ll be forced into action in the right way. By focusing on the top priorities, you will definitely move the needle forward.

In the end, only you can figure out whether you are satisfied with the direction your life is headed. Maybe the greatest beauty about being human is our ability to make choices: Choose to live your passion, whether in your work or in your personal life—better yet, try to merge the two. It will make a huge difference in your energy and motivation. I believe in you!

Shawn JohalShawn Johal is a Scaling Up Certified Coach currently working with several entrepreneurs and their businesses to help accelerate their growth, while finding personal balance and happiness.

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