Are there activities you love to participate in? Are there people you love to be around? Are the people and activities you are passionate about? Do you show your passion or just talk about it?
I love speaking and entertaining. When I first started speaking professionally I was having a lot of fun. Work was coming in. I was traveling around the country. I was meeting new people. I felt like a rock star. I was also getting lazy! I was expecting things to just happen. I wasn't doing the necessary work to keep the good times rolling. I was "talking" about my future. I was only enjoying the fruit but not laboring. I was talking about the fun I was going to have. Then God stepped in to set me straight.
2008 started the global recession. Groups and organizations didn't have the money to bring in speakers and trainers. I had just left my college job to pursue my professional speaking career. The career I wanted to have for the rest of my life was in jeopardy. I had a lot of fun traveling and working with a variety of people, but when my "fun" was almost taken away, I realized how much I loved it. I'm sure you've heard that comment about not knowing how much you love something until you loose it. I really understand that comment now.
My eyes were really opened when my wife told me, "You say you're passionate about speaking, but you treat it like a hobby." Wow! Was I treating something I loved like a hobby? Of course I had to do a Google Search for word hobby. Here's what I found:
Generally speaking, a person who engages in an activity solely for fun is called a 'hobbyist', whereas a 'professional' generally engages in an activity for reward and an 'amateur' (from French for "lover of") does so out of personal interest in an activity. While an amateur may be as skilled as a professional, a professional receives compensation while an amateur generally does not.
Speaking is not a hobby to me. It's something I'm passionate about. It's something I love to do. It's something I dream about and think about during my free time. It's something I'm skilled enough to be compensated for. More importantly I can impact the lives of people and communities in a positive way and it's fun! The fun went away when I got lazy.
Lazy you ask? Yes lazy! To be a professional speaker requires a lot of work and commitment before you ever step on a stage or behind a microphone. There is the skill of speaking and the business of speaking. I was not skilled in the business of speaking. To be booked for work requires marketing, budgeting, networking, promoting, sharing and a long list of items I don't have time to type. I didn't learn this until no work was coming in. I was forced to work jobs I didn't enjoy. It's humbling to work hard, not get rewarded for it and know you're not helping your family. Can you imagine doing work you don't enjoy that leads you nowhere? Why did this happen? Because I was all talk and no action.
In life, there are many things we say we love or we're passionate about. I've seen people say they love their kids, but don't spend time with them. I met a lady who said she was passionate about orangutans, while calling it he favorite monkey (they're apes). I've even met people who say their health is their #1 priority but light a cigarette.
It's great to have a hobbies, they're fun, relaxing and keep us busy. But when you say you love it, you're passionate about it or want to make something your profession...there will be a lot of work required to prove your words. It may even be work you don't enjoy doing. They are always sacrifices that have to be made to receive a reward.
We're living in a world were we want everything to be easy. We want success with out the work (there are a lot of infomercials that prove me point). "The only place you'll find success before work is in the dictionary." To enjoy the fruits of our labor. We must labor. When we do the reward is so sweet. When we don't...we have an empty, tasteless and rotten experience.
I define success as living a dream. Dreams don't just happen you have to make them happen. When we don't live our dreams they become a nightmare. My nightmare was almost loosing my speaking, but my love for what I do has turned things around. I'm not where I want to be...yet! But my passion gives me the energy to do what is needed to LIVE my dream of being a professional speaker. Yes, I have to wake up early, send countless e-mails and letters, make lots of phone calls and deal with the IRS. But, it's all worth it when I get to step onto a stage and work with people around the country. I really love it when I come home and see my wife and son knowing that my work allows me to take care of them while helping others.