Beep beep snooze! Beep beep snooze! Beep beep SLAM! Fine, I’ll get up. Drag a foot out of bed followed very slowly by the other as you force yourself into a sitting position. Maybe grab your phone and immediately start scrolling through social media posts just trying to find something that catches your eye enough to wake you up. There’s a bit of mumbling as you make your first cup of coffee.
Does this morning routine sound familiar to you? It does to me. This is the way I woke up for many years. During that time there would be occasional days where my morning routine was completely different. The alarm clock would be set for 6 AM, and I’d wake up around 5:55 AM, throw the covers off of me as I practically leaped out of bed. I’d reach for my phone, but only to deactivate the alarm that would have gone off in a few minutes. I’d still make that first cup of coffee…because coffee, but as I made it I might be dancing and humming a song or something.
Why did I wake up a few mornings happy, while the rest of the time I woke up miserable? The difference was that on these mornings I was on vacation, or I was going hiking, or I had a film shoot going on. The difference was, in a word, passion. Back then I was working in a great job. In fact, doing what I was doing and making what I was making, many people would have killed to take my place. But for me, my passion was elsewhere. So I woke up miserable. I had this recurring thought in my head during my 8 hours of work that I would die someday of old age while looking back on my life sadly thinking about all of the things my life could have been.
My morning routine is so different now. I wake up excited for what the day will bring. I grab my coffee and write in my journal, starting with what I am grateful for that day. I plan out the things that I will accomplish, and I’m off to the races. Between working on the Veteran Resource Podcast, and Podcast Playground, my day will be longer than eight hours sometimes. Because it is my passion though, it doesn’t feel like I’m working. Think about it. If you are having fun on vacation and that fun lasted longer than the 8 hours you planned for that day, would you be bummed out? Hell no.
Many of you out there are not living a life of passion. You hear this or are reading this and it is resonating with you right now. So I want you to do an exercise with me. If you are driving or running, or otherwise occupied then do this exercise once you get the opportunity. I want you to sit down and get comfortable. Now I want you to imagine that there are no obstacles in your way. Money, time, and possibilities are abundant. Stretch your brain now, and start thinking “What is it that I’m passionate about?” What fills you with happiness? What is that thing that if you could do it every day, you would? If this thing was in your life you would fly out of bed in the morning excited to start working on it again? Is it fishing? Is it hiking? Is it a sport? Is it building a business? Maybe living on a boat? Is it working for a tech company like Microsoft? Or maybe it’s working in politics? Remember, there are no obstacles in your way. Stretch that brain of yours.
Now that you have your passion identified, let’s come back to reality for a second. Here in reality there ARE obstacles, right? But these obstacles are usually not as big as you make them out to be. Let’s take woodworking for example. If your passion was woodworking you might tell me that your obstacles are:
- I have to keep working my job as a cell phone salesman because I need the money to support my family.
- I don’t have the equipment that I need to do woodworking.
- I don’t have the space in my apartment to do woodworking.
Yep, you’re right. Those are obstacles. But if you let them prevent you from following your passion then they are excuses.
Maybe for now you start a blog on woodworking. You write articles every week providing value to your readers who are also passionate about woodworking. You could do this for free on Medium.com without even needing to set up a website. You could jump into a facebook group, or a meetup group, or a LinkedIn group that has other woodworkers in it. You could find a nonprofit like Veteran Artist Program, and join their online community. Once you start to network with these other woodworkers you could start interviewing them to learn new techniques, while posting the interview in your blog for others to learn as well. While networking with your new passionate fans and friends, you will more than likely find opportunities and invitations to go and work on a project at someone else’s home or shop. This could unfold in any direction from this point forward.
You could end up being offered a job doing woodworking that pays what you are making at your current job. An opportunity to move to a new place that has the space for woodworking could happen. You could end up creating an in person or online course to teach woodworking skills to others who are just getting into it. The possibilities are endless.
My point is that if you let your obstacles be excuses then you will keep doing what you are doing and living a mediocre life. If, instead, you go after your passion even taking small steps in the direction of what you want out of this life, then opportunities will come to you.
Stop smashing that snooze bar every morning. Find your passion and go after it starting today.
Please jump into the Veteran Resource Podcast online community and comment on the post for this episode. I’d love to hear what your passion is. I do a lot of networking, so maybe I could even help to point you in the right direction. You’re not an island, let’s help each other out.