career and passion

Passion, career and the ongoing struggle between the two.

I’ve been having more and more talks with people lately (including the most recent Drummer’s Resource Podcast episode) about the idea of following your passion and why it’s the best way for you to be happy and successful…or is it? There are many people out there (myself included) who say they’d be happier if they could play music all day and not have to work a 9–5 job. The one problem that I hear most often with that option is “I can’t make enough money with my passion.”

In my experience there are typically two types of people when it comes to passions:

  1. People who’s passions are everything to them and don’t want to do anything else except focus on their passion — and money is of little to no concern. Ex. All I want to do is play music and I don’t care about anything else.
  2. People who are passionate about multiple things and want to diversify because they have more than one need/want. Ex. I want to play music but I also want a beach house and paid vacation.

Take me for example. I LOVE music, drumming, podcasting about drumming, etc. I don’t think that anyone can deny that music is my passion. BUT, I am equally as interested and passionate about business, entrepreneurship, and personal development. This has been an internal struggle my entire career because I want to do more than one thing and knew that I could never put 100% into music all the time. I want to tour, I want to build businesses, I want to be an investor, etc. I finally came to the realization that music itself didn’t have the power to make me 100% happy…I need other things too…and I’m ok with that. So, I made the commitment to build a BUSINESS around music, which combines two of my passions (lightbulb/ah-hah moment) and will also help me reach other goals like providing for my family, traveling around the world, buying a Ferrari (yes, I know it’s stupid and it makes me seem like an ass but I’ve wanted one since I was 5 years old — it’s my guilty pleasure) and investing in and launching startups. If there was a time in my life where music and business didn’t work together, I would honestly focus my career on building businesses and play music as a hobby. Why? Because I LOVE playing music…it’s my escape and I play because I love to…and that love always comes first. If it can provide me with an income, which it does, even better. But, passions and careers don’t always work together, nor do they need to.

I think everyone needs to take a hard look at themselves and think about what they’re passionate about, what they’re GOOD at and see if there is some way to make a career out of it. And you know what? If you love your passion more than life itself but also love your 401K and 3 weeks paid vacation and steady paycheck, I suggest keeping your day job and enjoying your passion as a hobby. Trust me, you’ll actually get more enjoyment out of it. Plus, just because you’re not a “professional” that doesn’t mean you’re not successful. Success is determined individually, not by what others deem successful.

If the thought of working a 9–5 and not following your passion seems like a living hell, then by all means, jump in head first and go after it. But you have to be 100% in. Not 50/50, not 60/40 or even 90/10…100%!!

It’s obviously your decision but please remember that everyone is different and what works for me may not work for you and vice versa. Find your own path, make your own decision and enjoy the ride.