Following a passion is stepping into the role you are meant to play on this earth.
It’s about utilizing a set of skills unique to you. Neil Gaiman says, “The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can”.
Helping a friend comes down to being intentional with your words and actions. Try these 7 easy ways to help a friend pursue their passion.
1. Do Research
Minimize the learning curve.
If you have a friend pursuing their passion, one of the best things you can do is break the process into manageable goals. Sometimes when venturing in a new direction, trying to research articles, videos, blogs, podcasts, and books can be overwhelming. Draft a starter curriculum.
A starter curriculum should include:
Inspiration- get them fired up to be working on what they love.
Education- discover helpful resources such as classes, blogs, books, or other publications.
Opportunities- find local opportunities to network or sell their product or service.
Get them fired up with articles such as The 10 Reasons You Should Follow Your Passion And Not The Money from Elite Daily. Research leading companies and individuals in the industry to find solid educational resources. Continue to scope out opportunities for them pursue as they develop their skills and round out their understanding of the industry.
2. Take The First Step
Get them over the hump.
If you have a friend that is talented or passionate but too fearful to take that first step, take it for them. Get the ball rolling by buying a set of paintbrushes for an aspiring artist or a voice lesson for an aspiring singer. Buy an hour with an industry consultant for your friend to learn how they got started and industry tips and secrets.
Your objective is to clear their path of any hurdles that would prevent them from starting.
3. Listen Up
Mark Twain said, “The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why”.
A research study at the University of Michigan shows the two perspectives of passion. 70% of people see passion as the matching of a rewarding skill and a certain line of work (called the fit theory). The other 30% see passion as something cultivated and developed over time (called the develop theory).
Which perception of passion does your friend possess? Use that information to be a better listener. Encourage them to speak their mind and heart about what they want to do, why they want to do it, and how they are going to start. If they are looking to pursue a passion, but they don’t have a focus yet, ask them intentional questions to dig deeper into the specifics about what they love.
If they are pursuing a writing career, start with questions like these.
Which field of writing interests you?
What aspects of writing do you like?
Do you enjoy concise or lengthier writing?
Do you want to only work through online mediums?
Do you prefer more of a creative narrative or reporting structure?
Asking these types of questions will help your friend develop stronger opinions and define a more focused vision.
4. Send Them Encouragement
The beginning phase of pursuing a passion can often be a vulnerable state of uncertainty and doubt.
Be a solid foundation of encouragement for your friend, especially during difficult times. Send them encouraging texts, videos, quotes, and letters cheering them on throughout their journey.
The Inspirational and Motivational Quotes app is perfect for a daily dose of inspiration. Brendon Burchard’s Motivation Manifesto is a must-read for people seeking freedom in their lives and motivation to spur them along. NPR’s collection of the best commencement speeches is also perfect to fan their fire.
An impactful exercise is to practice affirmations in the form of “I am…” statements. For example, a friend looking to pursue their writing career would repeatedly say things like “I am a talented writer”, “I am a creative thinker”, and “I am a valuable member to any team”. This forces them to claim their new profession as their own and reinforces to themselves their own innate value.
5. Remember Important Dates
Be proactive with your encouragement.
Set calendar reminders for important auditions, meetings, or deadlines to send them timely encouragement. What an assuring feeling it is to get a call from a loved one telling you that they believe in you right before stepping into an important meeting or audition.
That day could turn into a major milestone in their journey, and your encouragement could make a significant difference.
If you’re looking for a new calendar app to help you remember important dates, try Sunrise Calendar. This free calendar app connects with all of your calendars and apps, so it makes it extremely easy to add in special dates to contact your friends.
6. Affirm Them Daily
Friends don’t let friends make excuses.
When choosing to pursue a passion, there are seemingly hundreds of reasons you shouldn’t do it. Don’t let your friend be overwhelmed by these reasons or use them as excuses to not try. Speak life and truth into their fears and always end the conversation on a positive note.
Larry Smith’s TEDxUW Talk is a gut punch about not excusing yourself from a great career based on external circumstances. The only limits we have are ones we set ourselves, so speak messages of life and abundance into friends following their passion. The only limits we have are ones we set ourselves, so speak life and abundance into friends following their passion. Check out this Elite Daily article about 5
Ways Daily Affirmations Will Bring More Positivity Into Your Life.
7. Help Foster Community
A strong community will make or break a person pursuing their passion.
Helping them kick-start their passion is an important first step, but you cannot be their only source of support throughout the journey. Use your network and friendships to connect them with other people in the industry so they can have insider support. Encourage them to expand their own network. These connections could lead to mentorships, friendships, fundraising opportunities, and/or people to simply bounce ideas around with.
Not everyone decides to follow his or her passion. For those that do, be the encouragement they need to thrive in their calling. This week, send an encouraging letter to a friend or family member who is pursuing their passion and let them know that you support them.
Don’t say, “If there is anything I can do to help, just let me know!” Give them measurable help like connecting them to a friend in the industry, linking them to a few educational resources, or sending them an encouraging quote like this one from Howard Thurman:
“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”