"Follow your passion" isn't always the best advice, and that's partly because it's so limiting. Instead of looking for a single path to success, Chris Guillebeau recommends looking for work that overlaps in three areas: Joy, money and flow. Photo by Roberto Ferrari.
When you "follow your passion" that generally means you plan to work toward one specific thing. Maybe you want to be a cinematographer or a musician or a marine biologist. Life doesn't always work out so neatly, though, and you might find you don't actually enjoy the work, or maybe you're just not good at it, or maybe it's just not a viable career path. There's nothing wrong with trying something specific, but as Guillebeau points out, there's not necessarily a single path toward your search for purposeful work. He writes:
There are plenty of things you could do with your career, but the people who are most successful have found the perfect combination of joy, money, and flow. They have won the career lottery by finding this combination — and they don't have to choose between their money and their life.
Joy is basically your passion — the thing that makes you happy. Money is self-explanatory, but to be clear, it's what sustains you, if it doesn't make you rich. Finally, flow is the stuff you're exceptionally good at. Guillebeau explains:
As is the case with joy, you don't always need to be in flow mode. More likely, you'll have periods of flow work interspersed throughout more regular periods of work. But just as you want work that "sparks joy" most of the time, you want to position yourself to be in the place of flow as much as possible.
When you've found your ideal combination, you'll know it. It will feel like it was right there waiting for you all along. That's the beauty of finding the work you were born to do.
This model makes sense because it's about much more than passion. It's about building a career that sustains you and allows you to use your best skills. Not everyone is so lucky to find their overlap in each of these areas, but if you feel frustrated and confused on your current path, this is a useful way to think about what kind of career you might want.
There's nothing wrong with working toward a career that brings you joy, but when you take all three factors into consideration, you cast a wider net and have a greater chance of finding purposeful, meaningful work. For more on this idea, head to the full post at the link below.
JOY, MONEY, AND FLOW: THE THREE QUALITIES OF PURPOSEFUL WORK [Chris Guillebeau via Rockstar Finance]