Countless times people ask me why I am so passionate about the work I do. This is one of those obvious questions that we tend to neglect in our daily life. Why is it we choose to do what we do? What is it about our work that inspires us? Or the better question, if we are not inspired by our work, why are we entertaining a life that lacks motivation and critical inspiration?
'Career' is a funny word. When people dedicate their life's work to a cause; we say this is their career. Yet, on the other hand, someone who has simply been an accountant all their life or works as a teller at a store to earn a basic income would classify their work as a career.
I hardly believe that these two diverse descriptions can both be embodied by the notion of a career. The latter I view as merely a job. A career is a pursuit in life that involves passion; you possess an interest, a love (at least initially) or a spark that keeps you motivated in your work. A career is something you don't necessarily do just to earn a basic wage; it is something you strive towards and are willing to donate your time, learn, challenge your skills and develop as a professional in pursuit of a larger end goal.
In a society that revolves around money, the first thought on everyone's mind is either "how can I find money to take my ideas to the next step?" or "how can I grow my work to earn more money?" It is easy for one to get caught up in this tunnel vision and choose to work with people based on financial gain or in the case of an entrepreneur, financial limitation.
It is not unheard of to see quality be sacrificed or opportunities turned down due to a lack of funding. However, one should not pursue a career purely for the prospect of making money (though many do). Rather, one should pursue a career based on passion for their work and let the money piece fall into place as it should.
You have no idea how many times I have explained my work to people and the first question on their minds is "well how are you going to make money?" Or "why are you pursuing that when you can make a more reliable income with a 9-5 job?" I answer them that I do not build my projects with profit at the forefront; rather I acknowledge a need of my community and strive to fill the gap to make a difference. Now of course eventually to make anything sustainable money does need to be considered and strategies need to be put in place. However, you shouldn't let money limit your vision or influence your relationships.
Money shouldn't dictate your success or potential. While it may be more difficult without funding to bring your idea to reality, it doesn't mean it can't be done.In fact in some ways it can be a blessing in disguise. Your passion will be put to the test, your vision will be challenged and with each roadblock your determination will strengthen as your vision grows. You will be forced to build a team based on the sharing of a common belief in your vision and find individuals who are committed to helping you succeed.
It is hard when we live in a society driven by dollar signs to stay true to our real passions. It is much simpler to take the easy route and accept defeat at this common obstacle. However, any transformative change or innovative idea in history has taken hard work, sleepless nights and undying passion. The most successful professionals are those that have followed what they love to do; they excel beyond their peers because their passion provides them with an immeasurable drive to succeed beyond obstacles. Passion is an incredible gift and it is priceless when it comes to finding success in a career. So when people ask me why I don't just pursue a reliable income, I answer them: "because why have a mediocre job, when I can have a fulfilling career!".