When considering a career choice we are often told by our well-wishers to follow our passion. When confused by available choices we are goaded to go by our heart- to choose what the heart wants. Is it the right strategy ? Will following your passion lead you successfully to the long term goals of fulfillment you have in mind ?
Yes and No.
For the people who are very clear about their strengths, weaknesses, wants and desires – following their passion is the only way to go forward. Chetan Bhagat an IIM-A alumnus, worked as an investment banker in Goldman Sachs for 11 years in Hong Kong ; but he was passionate about writing. Leaving a cushy job for writing novels was a big risk which he took and succeeded phenomenally. Noted cricket commentator and journalist Harsha Bhogle, also an IIMA alumnus was passionate about Cricket commentary and is having a very successful innings. Late Tarla Dalal, Chef Sanjeev Kapoor, Chef Vikas Khanna have built their food empire on their passion for Indian food.
In their case, they had necessary skills and talent needed to do the job. If you are a star struck fan who wants to follow his passion and be a movie star, a singer or a TV actor -think again before quitting your day job. Assess your talents critically. Even winners of “Indian Idols” and “Be a Bollywood Super Star” kind of shows struggle for work.
For budding entrepreneurs “Follow your passion” can be a flawed advice. For running a business you need to consider the perspective of your customers too. You need to have an understanding of markets so that you are able to judge the viability of your venture. Instead of following “the passion” you would be better off if you follow “the opportunity” and take advantage of it.
Zomato , the restaurant discovery website and mobile App was founded by Pankaj Chaddah and Deepinder Goyal who saw their colleagues struggling to find places to eat at. There was an opportunity present for them to tap and solve the food woes of people who were around them. Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal started Flipkart as an online platform to sell books. They saw opportunities and expanded. Flipkart’s valuation today is pegged at $15 billion.
You need to be clear with your goals. Finalise your game plan based on your goals which may or may not align with your passion.
Only a few lucky and hardworking people amongst us are able to make a good living by working on hobbies. Pay attention to the skills you have. Hundreds of passionate people are forced to change their careers or close down their ventures because they are not sustainable. Passion is not enough to sustain a career or a venture. But if you are sure of your passion and it burns you day and night – go ahead. Take the risks. If you fail, you will have experience. If you succeed, you will be the happiest person on earth.