If you are one of the many people asking yourself, "How can I make a living while pursuing a purpose that is meaningful and for which I am passionate," you are not alone. Since conducting extensive research and bringing out the book, "Pursuit of Passionate Purpose: Success Strategies for a Rewarding Personal and Business Life (Wiley)," I receive this question often.
WHY ARE PEOPLE ASKING THIS? People are asking, because the majority of Americans are dissatisfied with their job. In 2005, The Conference Board reported that only half of U.S. workers are happy with their jobs, down from nearly 59 percent in 1995. The 2004 U.S. Job Recovery and Retention Survey by the Society of Human Resource Management and CareerJournal.com shows that about 75% of all employees are looking for new employment opportunities.
Here are Szczurek's FIVE PRACTICAL POINTERS for those facing this dilemma.
1. HAVE ANOTHER SOURCE OF INCOME. Who says you need to pursue your passionate purpose full-time as your sole source of bread and butter? Can your spouse or a 'sugar-daddy' support you and the family? Many Passionate Pursuers, people who have found and are actively pursuing their purpose, work at it part-time and continue to bring in another source of income. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that there are about 2 million workers who are 'second-job entreprenurs' who hold primary positions in wage-and-salary jobs and hold second jobs as self-employed worker in unincorporated businesses. Or, it may be that your passionate purpose is best left as a 'hobby' which brings satisfaction but not a living.
2. PREPARE. Build yourself a cushion. This is what you fall back on when you are pursuing your meaningful intention and it is not yet providing the means to support you and your family. As a business coach, I recommend that before severing the ties to their current paycheck that aspiring entreprenuers have the ability to support themselves for at least two to three years. Sounds like a lot? Well let's hope you will not have to wait that long, but hope is not a business strategy. When Richard A. Davis (know as the RAD) and I (known as the ISH, for Including Szczurek Happily) were starting Radish Communications Systems, it was nearly two years before we received a paycheck. In addition to supporting ourselves, we were providing founder's capital to keep the business afloat.
3. SIMPLIFY. Get real about what is important to you--what do you value? Is spending more on a new car or bigger house really bringing you happiness? Modify your lifestyle so that your passionate purpose can support you. Suppose you are sick of trying to climb the corporate ladder or in working at that bureaucratic organization. Perhaps you find meaning in teaching children, running your own business, or becoming a park ranger. Getting clear on your values will help you have the courage to 'Say No in order to Say Yes' to your passionate purpose. Say no to the 'buy' mentality with the resulting burden of debt and say yes to the freedom that simplification brings.
4. BE A REAL BUSINESS. For-profit businesses make money. Build a business plan. Get clear on the Five P's of Marketing.
-- What is the product or service you offer and how much does it cost to produce? (Product)
-- Who needs what you have to offer? How many people are likely to buy? (People)
-- How much are prospective customers willing to pay? (Price)
-- What are the channels or means to get your product to customers (Placement)
-- How will you communicate your offering to the marketplace? (Promotions)
Then be realistic. Is the price significantly greater than your costs so that you can make a profit, P? If your forecasted market, M, actually purchased your product, is M times P large enough to support you? If not, how can you make M or P larger? Don't wait for pain to assess progress. Make appropriate modifications now.
5. BROADEN YOUR PASSIONATE PURPOSE. Yes, many experts will tell you that a well-defined niche is the key to success. Yet you need to define your niche so that it encompasses your core competencies in a way that you can address the needs of the world. Recall that passion comes from the alignment of your values with your gifts (or competencies). Passionate purpose is found, in the fourth fold, when that passion can be used to meet market needs. For example, when I was called to bring out the "Pursuit of Passionate Purpose" formula to help others get all that they want in work and life, I initially defined my niche as speaking and offering my book to communicate the formula. Relentlessly pursuing this purpose, I eventually realized that this niche was not building a sustainable business fast enough and it was not nurturing my soul. In assessing progress, I determined that I needed to expand my passionate purpose to include my core business of consulting and coaching to organizations and leaders. In broadening to include consulting, speaking, products, and other opportunities such as Board seats, my business is now on track for appropriate levels of financial performance.
Financial performance can be part of the real rewards of every pursuit of passionate purpose. Follow these five practical pointers--you will make a living and pursue passionate purpose.
by Theresa M. Szczurek (www.TMSworld.com)