What to do about fleeting passion

What to do about feeting passion from XOSarah.com

Margo said,

Hey there! I love your blog – it’s always a source of inspiration to me. I know that I want to work for myself and own my own business. I started out with a jewelry shop on Etsy and was able to quit my full time job when I was 22. I started to just follow trends and not make jewelry that I enjoyed making and eventually lost interest. Since then I’ve started a craft blog, photography business and given those up too because I lost my passion for them. I’ve always loved graphic design and recently started learning more and taking it more seriously. I am currently designing a line of wedding invitations that I’m pretty excited about.

As you can tell from my rambling, I’m very passionate about a lot of different things, but sometimes it only lasts for a little while. Even as I’m starting this wedding invitation business, I have a line of jewelry designed in my sketchbook, and a series of DIY projects planned for my blog. I guess I’d rather go through life passionate about too much than too little, so here’s my question: do you ever experience this sudden and fleeting passion for a bunch of different things, and how do you focus yourself on the one (or 2) things that stick and are practical for a business?”

Hey Margo – Thanks so much for your question! This is an issue a lot of people run into in their 20s – they are excited to work on lots of different projects, but once they get into the nitty gritty of a business it becomes fleeting.

While 20-somethings in the ’80s and ’90s were set on the college/job/marriage/kids path, the new ideal is to become an entrepreneur, a freelancer, and over night self-employed success. With so many bloggers building online businesses, seemingly out of thin air, it can appear to be an easy road to take. Most people put their best foot forward and neglect to talk about the long nights, scary bank account balances, and overflowing inboxes, which is why following suit may not work for everyone.

You’re still young. Don’t feel pressured to turn every hobby into a money-making endeavor. You can create jewelry and take photos and design invitations without making it your sole income.

Since you’ve already got multiple businesses and side-hustles under your belt, maybe it’s time for a little charting and analysis. At what point within each business did you stop enjoying your work? What aspects of the job turned you off and what aspects lit you up? Were there specific roadblocks, clients or events, that made you want to quit? Try to nail down exactly why you decided to close each business and look for any patterns.

It may be possible to do a little juggling with your art and turn it all into something you still love while making a steady income. Something that brings in the parts you’re most excited about and minimizes those that are a pain in the butt.

Or you could just suck it up and pick something :) Choose a direction and vow to yourself to stay on that path for a few years, even if it gets difficult. You don’t have to keep that same job forever, but it may take a few years to build a viable business and like anything in life there will be ups and downs all along the way.

If it’s important to you to keep the same job/business for 10, 20, 30 years, then maybe a self-employed, passion-based life isn’t for you. As much as I talk about getting out, there’s no shame in working a 9 to 5 and keeping your passions as hobbies. Way less stressful, for sure!

Whatever path you choose be thankful that you have lots of interests that excite you, even if they change often. You may just be one talented lady, with a ton of creativity to explore!

Has anyone else struggled with fleeting passion? 

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  1. says

    Oh do I struggle :)

    What helped me a lot was the book “Refuse to Choose” by Barbara Sher. From working with numerous clients, she’s come to the conclusion that there are some people who just ARE like that, who have multiple interests (scanners), and then suddenly drop them and move on to the next when they are no longer fulfilled by them.

    It’s not abnormal, it’s just how they funtion, as opposed to people who are interested and skilled in just one profession (deep-divers) and couldn’t care less about anything else. She offers career examples and lots of ideas and inspiration for scanners, and also productivity tips for getting all your interests into your days :)

    I really recommend the book, it really helps show that there’s nothing “wrong” with being interested in many things and that losing interest and moving on is totally okay.

    http://puttylike.com/ is also a nice resource for such “multi-potentialites” and I think people like that are also often referred to as “Renaissance” or Women, because apparently in those days such behaviour was way more socially acceptable. There’s even a Putty Tribe you can join to support like-minded people http://puttylike.com/puttytribe_join/ (Costs monthly though.)

  2. says

    One of the things I love most about having a blog is that I feel like it makes it possible to do 100 things, but tie it into one brand. Having said that, I do think it is really important to pick one niche and really focus on that.

  3. Amber-Rose says

    Oh my goodness! I have this problem so much.

    I haven’t found a way to stop this from happening yet, but I know my trigger. I’m a great planner, and I’ll research everything about an idea and get so far into it – maybe 6 months to a year, and then suddenly drop it. It’s usually during that annoying plateau period when you’re still hustling but not getting any better, or any new work etc. I think perhaps it’s the fear that it’s starting to fail, and so I drop it before I crash and burn – whether I actually would have or not.

  4. says

    I totally think it is normal to struggle. Even though right now I am blogging full time it is still hard to get those creative juices flowing every single day. I also agree that when you have to give a lot of things up in order to make this dream job of blogging, about food in my case, a reality it is even harder. I see our bank account and I would love to go shopping or on vacations but I know that I gave all those luxuries up in order to try and make a go of this as a career. It sounds like she likes so many different things that maybe she can combine them into a lifestyle blog and have the flexibility to switch topics on a whim to keep her and her readers interested.

  5. says

    Thanks so much for responding to my question! That’s definitely an interesting perspective, and so true. It does seem that nowadays “anybody” can open a business out of thin air- and that’s so great- but you’re right, there’s a lot more nitty gritty to it than that. The one thing I know is that I’m passionate about life and I want to find a way to spend what little time I have on this earth doing what I love. When I think about working a 9-5, yes- there is the security of a paycheck which is nice. But there’s a tradeoff- with a 9-5, I’m spending most of your waking hours doing something that is unfulfilling. (In my case I am in the entry level, low paying side of the job market.) If there’s a chance I can do something I love and make money at it- I am going to keep trying until something sticks and works. And you’re absolutely right, some self eval. is in order, I need to find out exactly what it is that turns me away. I recently got a part time job at a doggie day care which doesn’t pay much- but I love working with the dogs and having the stability of a paycheck- so I feel very grateful and I think it puts me in a great position to pay my bills, and explore my creativity until that something comes along and sticks. Anyways, thanks for your response, it was very insightful and I never thought of it from the perspective of being in my 20′s- that makes a lot of sense.

    • says

      Hey Margo,
      I totally feel you on being disillusioned with the 9-5 deal, but trust me, even at entry level there are some fulfilling jobs out there. I have had wonderful 9-5 experiences and I’m a college student. Part of it is understanding what you’re contributing and whom to. Like, for example, it’s going to be hard if you work somewhere you don’t care about but if you care about pets and frame working at a petsmart as helping people find a new member of the family and build new memories with them, it makes setting up cat food displays a lot more fulfilling. I think another thing is that you don’t have to be 100% fulfilled by your job, especially not all the time. Friends, food, hobbies, books– these all add in to make a great life. There’s not really going to be a time in life for most people when they “have it all” but there are ways to get to a better place tomorrow than today. Entry level isn’t entry level forever without your say-so. :)

      Best of luck!

  6. says

    Great advice Sarah!!

    As a “scanner” myself, I have come to realize that if I want to do everything I’m interested in, I need to “portion” out a small amount of time each day for each interest. This tactic keeps me from getting bored and it keeps my interests flowing.

    That being said, some days are better than others so you ya just gotta go with the flow.

    Take care and all the best.


  7. says

    I have definitely been there because I felt pressured to make my graphic design hobby into a business. I finally decided that self-employment isn’t for me, right now. But I’m not gonna stop designing especially if there is a need for it. I like it better as a side to my other part time job because it is less stressful and I don’t have to worry about “dry seasons”.

  8. Alex says

    This is a perfect example of the overjustification effect, too. Once the intrinsic motivation becomes extrinsic the activity can lose some of what made it so rewarding to begin with. Happens in every facet of life – from getting money for good grades in school to making a profit from your passion. It’s a tricky balance. I really struggle with it myself.

  9. says

    Thanks to both of you for this post, I’m totally the same, I ran children and community art and craft workshops for years, which let me dabble and learn loads of different mediums (the kids got bored with the same thing every week) which was perfect. Now I’m disabled I don’ have the energy for teaching and found it wasn’t that I didn’t love one thing enough to do it, I loved all the different things too much to give one up. I’ve found the thread that ties it all together now which is really helpful, not only for when people ask what I do, but also keeps me focusing on subjects I really care about rather than the medium, I’ve had loads less “meh” moments when I finish a piece since I worked that out. Xxx

    • sarah says

      That’s so great to hear! It’s seems like the obvious answer to look for an entirely different job rather than realize you can just shift a little and do the same type of work in a different way.


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