7 Keys to Following Your Passion Instead of a Distraction

It’s time for you to stop doing things that you are not passionate about.

Are you following your passion or just a distraction?

If you have goals that no longer excite you then it’s time to get some new ones. Why would you do things that don’t really matter to you? Obviously, I’m not talking about things that are inherent responsibilities, i.e., being a great parent, fulfilling responsibilities to your family, employer, or employees, etc. I’m talking about extracurricular activities. I’m talking about how you spend your time after your responsibilities to family, business, or career are fulfilled.

Now is a great time to reassess what you are doing and why you are doing it. At the center of frustration, you may find things that have been done out of obligation. Where do you spend your time, both physically and mentally? Where is your focus?

It’s ok to help someone else fulfill their dream but this should never be to the demise of your own.

There is no better time than the present to begin working on the things that you really want to do.

Do you want to start a non-profit to help battered women? Do you want to write a book or record a professional music CD? Do you want to lose 15 lbs or begin a new exercise routine? Do you want to take a cruise? Do you long to be in another career? Is there a business deep in your heart that is leaping to get started? Do you want to reinvent yourself with a new wardrobe? Do you desire to act or to produce your own stage play? Do you want to write a movie script?

It’s not selfish to follow your dreams. It is actually unselfish. Whether in business or life, a real dream is going to help many more people than just you. You must pursue the thing that makes you come alive. There are several benefits to following your passion. Consider the following 7 keys as you pursue the things that matter to you:

1) Find the balance.

Sometimes we do things just because we have always done them or because someone asked us to. Just because you can do a certain job or task doesn’t mean you have to be the one to do it. Certain tasks were appropriate for a season. However, just because you have always done it doesn’t mean you have to always do it. It may have been the right thing to do at the time but what about now? Reassess and recalibrate your life at regular intervals. Ask yourself every 3 to 6 months or so, “Is this present pursuit something I am truly passionate about? Is this something that I really want to do? Is this endeavor moving me closer to my goals or is it distracting me from them?” There are times when you may have to tell certain individuals or organizations “no”. Sometimes you have to say “no” to a “good” thing in order to follow the “best” thing. Never be afraid to set healthy boundaries. There is a place for self-sacrifice and helping others. However, when helping someone else means “killing” yourself, it’s time to reconsider a few things! Find the balance between serving others and following your own dreams.

2) Stay in the center of your expertise.

If you are going to follow your passion instead of a distraction, you have to do what your good at. One of the ways to minimize stress and confusion is to make a conscious decision to focus on what you do best. Build your life around your area of expertise. It will make you more efficient and effective. Make your expertise the center of every conversation. Build your personal library around your expertise. Find creative ways to help others by exercising the unique gifts and talents that make you come alive. Fresh energy and uncommon opportunities will emerge when you focus on developing your expertise.

3) Don’t take guilt trips.

If other people are “disappointed” in you because you choose to follow things that matter to you, than that is their problem. Never allow guilt trips to lead you away from your destiny path. You have to be on the lookout for people who don’t want you to follow your own path, because they feel that their path is more important. It’s time for you to tell the “guilt trippers” in your life that the ride is over.

4) Don’t wait for a big break.

You don’t have to wait for a big break. Take advantage of the everyday opportunities that are in your face. You may not be able to start your restaurant today but you can start by offering catering services to family and friends for pay. It will fuel your passion and help you fine tune your craft.

5) You have a right to be happy.

No matter what age or stage of life you are in, you have a right to be happy. You have a right to do things that are fulfilling to you. Ask yourself, “Do I truly enjoy this activity or pursuit?” Deep down inside, if you don’t truly enjoy the activity then why are you doing it? It’s ok to admit that you don’t enjoy a certain activity any more. Take the chance to be creative and pursue a new venture. Don’t do things out of obligation. Do things out of your passion. You’ll be happier.

6) Never undervalue your dream.

The dreams that are in your heart are just as important as the dreams of anyone else. When you undervalue your dream, you are actually undervaluing yourself.

7) Don’t wait for permission.

Sometimes people ask me, “How do I know when it’s ok for me to go for my dream?” Your desire to follow a dream is there for a reason. A persistent desire to follow your dream is the permission you seek. Don’t wait for permission, follow your passion and take action.

I challenge you to get busy with following your dreams right now. Implement the above 7 keys and you will be on your way to following your passion and not a distraction.

A question for you: What is the #1 reason why you think people follow a distraction instead of their passion?

I look forward to your answer!

Follow your passion,

Craig L. Sanders
“The Comeback Specialist”

To inquire about Craig's coaching packages or to have Craig speak for your company or organization, please visit his website: http://www.craiglsanders.com/

Copyright 2010 Craig Sanders Unlimited, LLC


  1. Craig,

    The first reason people don't follow their passion is that they haven't identified it as yet.

    Your first point references doing things from obligation or habit - things others have asked us to do. If someone has always just done the bidding of others and never stopped to investigate how they are designed and wired and what truly motivates them, they will struggle to answer the question, "what is my passion." If they can't answer it conclusively, then they can't pursue it with conviction.

  2. Craig,
    Great reminder to us all. When we allow distractions to have a greater influence over us than our passions, when we will be misdirected and disconnected from our true purpose. It's challenging, but the more we focus on our purpose, the less enticing distractions become.

    Thanks again!

    Paul Wilson, Jr.
    Author, Dream Catalyst, Business Coach

  3. OMG..that is so awesome...I can tell you how much I needed this post. You are wonderful, I am adding you to my list of favorites..thank you so much

  4. Great post! I think some people follow a distraction instead of their passion out of fear and/or lack of knowledge.

    Once a person identifies their passion some have a fear of walking in it and others don't take the time to find out what it takes to get off the ground. It's easier to just continue with the distraction.

    Lack of confidence it another one.


  5. Why I've followed distractions vs. passions is due to several factors.

    1. I do things for others because I want them to "like" me and that oftens means I give up my time that I could be doing something I am more passionate about. I have not yet figured out the happy balance of paying it forward without "hurting myself in the process".

    2. The guilt-trippers

    I quit my JOB to go into business for myself because I knew I was working so hard to make their dream a reality but wanted to make my own dream a reality. I do a pretty decent job, in my business, on only doing what I am passionate about (though there are a few things I do that I'm not passionate about but I offer then because I'm good at them).

    Any tips you may have on how to balance paying it forward with taking care to make sure I have first taken care of myself would be awesome!

  6. Have you been peeping through my windows...WOW that sounds like me

  7. Because most people do not have clear reasoning between right and wrong because the line is so fine.