Ever wondered what it would feel like to live out your passion? Interested in hearing from someone who professionally helps others find and live their passion?
We put together this Q&A session with personal development thought leader and coach, Barrie Davenport, to help you think through these questions and more.
Barrie Davenport is a certified coach, personal development thought leader, bestselling author, and founder of the award-winning blog, Live Bold and Bloom. She is the creator of several online courses, including The Path to Passion course. Her book, Declutter Your Mind, with author S.J. Scott reached the top spot on the Amazon book category for Stress Management in 2016.
1. In your opinion, why is finding your passion in your career so important?
When you consider how much time you spend working at your job, it can add up to the majority of your waking hours. That means if you hate your job or even feel ambivalent about it, you are compromising your happiness and satisfaction in most of your life.
Finding a career you feel passionate about—one that brings you a deep level of satisfaction, enjoyment, and purpose—can transform your entire life. As Kahlil Gibran says in his book, The Prophet, “Work is love made visible. And if you can’t work with love, but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of the people who work with joy.”
2. Why do you feel it’s important for people to find and pursue their passion?
As far as we know, we have this one and only life. Life is so precious and amazing, and in spite of the challenges and difficulties everyone faces, we have so many opportunities for living fully, joyfully, and passionately. Each and every one of us is born with innate aptitudes and interests that spark our imagination and creativity. Unfortunately, many people never nurture or pursue these innate abilities, and [instead] end up settling for mediocre.
As we get older, it becomes more difficult to break old patterns and step out of comfort zones, even when they are boring or unfulfilling. But on the other side of this discomfort is the very real likelihood of a much more exciting, authentic, and creative life—if you take the time to uncover what you are passionate about and figure out how to apply it to your daily life.
3. What was the most fulfilling part for you when you pursued your passion in your career?
The realization that work can be fun and fulfilling, not drudgery or just a means to support myself. When the work you do is something that you just can’t not do, then life flows so much more easily and spontaneously. It was a real “aha” moment when I began waking up in the morning eager to get to my desk and begin my work day without dread or procrastination. Also, the work I do as a personal growth blogger, coach, and author supports and inspires other people, and for me, being of service to others is deeply meaningful.
4. What would you say to readers who are interested in changing careers, but haven’t taken the leap yet (and what are your top recommendations for them in doing so)?
I would recommend that they stop waiting for a huge sign from the sky or a spontaneous insight about what they should be doing and how to go about making the change. They need to start taking small actions that feel safe to help them move forward toward more clarity around what kind of career they want and what’s involved in making the transition.
Finding your passion and then changing your life to make it real can be daunting because there are so many considerations—finances, family, education needed, et cetera. But with careful planning, research, family support, and saving money, you can make it happen sooner than you think. This clarity and transition work is something I help people accomplish in my Path to Passion course.
5. What career advice do you give to people over and over again?
People get really stuck when they’ve been in a career for a while and they have some level of financial security in that career. It’s hard to think about disrupting your life and your family’s life for something that might pay less or not work out the way you anticipated. I advise people that their fears are usually bigger than the roadblocks they perceive. You can figure out a way to safely move toward a more passionate career without ending up on the street. It may involve some short-term sacrifices, but the eventual trade-off in life satisfaction will be well worth the effort and challenges involved.
6. What common career change mistakes do you see your clients or others making, and how can one overcome them?
A common mistake is jumping to something new too quickly without doing the work to know with more certainty that the career is something they will feel passionate about. Also, people often make a career change just for a higher salary rather than for more satisfying work. The ideal is to find a career that you love and that pays you well. Most of us have to compromise a little one way or the other—but I would compromise some income before I’d compromise satisfaction with my work. Money and material things are nice, but they don’t compare to feeling passionate about what you do.
7. A lot of the hesitation that people have around changing careers comes from a lack of confidence. What tips can you share for increasing one’s confidence?
Look back over your own past history and your ability to make wise and sound decisions, to follow through on your goals, and to take calculated risks with a good amount of success. Do you trust yourself in these areas? If so, continue to remind yourself of your good track record, knowing that past history is the best indicator of future success. If you don’t have a good track record with these things, find someone that does who can guide you in your efforts related to career change. Or work with a coach or career counselor to help you. Every positive step forward and small action you take in the direction of your goals and dreams will make you feel more confident.
8. You have a large online following with a successful blog and website. What nuggets of wisdom would you pass along to individuals looking to grow their business via digital channels?
Recognize that like any business, an online business requires a lot of hours, hard work, and self-discipline. It doesn’t happen overnight. But it can happen in a few years if you keep working hard and learning from those who are already successful at it.
Read. Research. Follow successful sites and emulate what they are doing. Test new things, knowing that trends in the digital world come and go very quickly. Also, remember that you are serving your reader or customer with everything you do. When you provide a service, product, or information that meets your customer’s needs, and you speak to them in an authentic way, you will build a loyal following.
9. Many of our readers are in the health and wellness space. How important do you think health, fitness, and nutrition are to overall happiness and well-being?
I can’t understate how important they are. Fitness and good nutrition are essential to your physical and mental health, and physical and mental health are essential for happiness and well-being. When you are unhealthy, mentally or physically, it’s much more difficult to enjoy life and live it to the fullest. There is so much research that reinforces the impact of exercise and diet on your overall health, longevity, and state of mind that prioritizing these things should be right up there with finding your passion.
10. What is your favorite inspirational quote?
I think this Rumi quote, which is one of my favorites, is appropriate for the topic of life passion: “Let the beauty of what you love be what you do” —Rumi.