I just love when I read success stories. And by “success” I mean when a person actually has the opportunity to live out their passion(s); when someone’s job/career is the one thing he or she loves the most.
I love these types of stories because, sadly, they aren’t very common. In fact, a Gallup study found that 70 percent of the American workforce is disengaged and uninspired at work. The study found that, “…although they put time and effort into their work, they don’t have energy or passion.”
Who has been there and done that? I’m pretty sure just about everyone.
So, again, when I do hear of people actually being able to do what they love it inspires me. I mean, who doesn’t want to feel like they aren’t “at work” or “on the clock” because they’re just so passionate about what they’re accomplishing?
A great example of this comes from a recent story on Flickr’s blog called, “Imaginative photographer lands world-tour job at Coke.” The title already sounds much more appealing than what most of us do from 9-5pm.
The story is about Joel Robison, a Canadian photographer who combines photography with Photoshop to create some amazing images.
I looked at his Flickr page, Boy_Wonder, and was pretty impressed.
As the story goes, Robison ventured into photography after becoming a teacher post college graduation. He said he didn’t feel connected to his current role, especially to the creative part of his mind, and he did not feel inspired.
So, what did he do? Robison bought a camera, downloaded Adobe Photoshop and began to infuse reality with fantasy. Stemming from his love of Disney, his pictures always infused a real element—himself, for example—with a fantasy-like setting or objects added in through Photoshop.
One day, the story explains, Robison uploaded a picture of the classic Coke bottles in the snow with himself drinking one in the distance to his Flickr account. Although a friend suggested he send the image to Coca-Cola, he laughed it off.
Yet, this image and other Coke-related photography would change Robison’s life forever.
A Coke representative not only asked if the company could use his image on its Twitter page, Robison was also asked to moderate Coca-Cola’s Flickr community for over a year. Talk about your passion leading you to career happiness; but it doesn’t end there.
The story explains:
“In 2013, they offered me a role on the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour,” Joel says. “It’s a worldwide tour, led by Coca-Cola and FIFA, taking the FIFA World Cup Trophy on a world tour of 90 countries. And they offered me the role of photographer and voice of social media. I was shocked.”
“It totally changed the course of my life,” Joel admits. “I was able to quit my job and accept photography as my full-time career, and I haven’t looked back since. It’s been non-stop, I feel more passionate about it every day, and I feel like I am allowed to share with the world what I see, and I feel very supported in that.”
Awesome story, right?
It led me to wonder how many more people could possibly follow in Robison’s footsteps. No, not every photographer will get scooped up by a major company, but that’s just one way to turn your passion(s) into your career.
Robison was a teacher and knew this wasn’t the right fit. He decided to open the door to his passions and it paid off in the end. How many of us have yet to even open the door?
Sure, it won’t be an overnight jump from following your passion to instant success (monetary stability), but it’s important to at least take the first step.
If you know deep down your current role leaves you disengaged and uninspired, make some changes. Start with examining your passions and what type of careers they can be utilized in. Then, slowly but surely, make the time to develop your interests each day.
If you truly enjoy painting, take an art class. Or if writing is your thing, join a writer’s club. Regularly working on things you’re passionate about keeps you motivated and pressing toward your goals.
I’m sure Robison would’ve loved to work for a major company one day, but he didn’t start sending his photos to businesses right away. He found an outlet that offered him exposure—Flickr.
What outlets or mediums can you use to display your talents? For example, creating social media accounts is a great way to display your passions. And as you keep working toward what you truly love, eventually you’ll be able to turn what you love into what you do (for a living).
But, if you’re worried that following your passions won’t pay the bills (and this is a very reasonable concern), taking some time to regularly concentrate on the things that you love will still bring benefits. You will find yourself more inspired, excited and motivated as you develop your talents and skills outside the office—while still being able to pay your bills.
So, what’s the moral to the story? Whether it’s creating a Flickr account, using Photoshop or selling your hand-carved statues after work, there are many ways to turn your passion(s) into your dream job. But it all starts with recognizing what you love and making the decision to take the first step in pursuing this area.