Problems vs. Solutions: crossroads of passion and practicality

How do you choose between pursuing your passion and doing what is practical?

Many of my clients initially come to coaching believing they’re at the crossroads of passion and practicality—and that they have to choose one versus the other.

Here’s a snippet of what I’ve been hearing:

  • The economy makes it impractical to even think of pursuing my passion of starting a business.
  • I want to make a drastic career change, but I’ve already invested 10 years in my current field. It doesn’t seem practical to make a change.
  • I’m a prisoner of the golden handcuffs. I hate my job, but can’t see leaving behind the salary and stock options.
  • How do I follow my dreams and still pay my bills?

I recognize the perceived gap between passion and practicality.

Believe me, there is a gap, but oftentimes it’s not truly a gap between passion and practicality. Instead, it’s a gap between where we are today and devising and executing a practical plan to get where we want to be.

Disposed to action

Let’s take a closer look at the practicality side of the equation. One definition of practical is: Disposed to action as opposed to speculation or abstraction. That definition changes our perspective, doesn’t it?

What it points to is this: You won’t be able to pursue your passion if you’re not disposed to action. If you stay too long in a state of speculation without getting into action, you won’t follow or achieve your dreams. If your passion remains abstract, you have no sustainable momentum forward.

Another way to look at it is: It’s not in the least impractical to pursue your passion, if you go about it in the right way. And, to me, the “right” way means with a practical plan.

Wishful thinking isn’t enough

You can’t simply wave a magic wand and have all your dreams come true. With or without the wand, magical thinking and wishing isn’t going to do it.

Pursuing your passion—regardless of how big or small the leap from where you are today—requires crafting a compelling vision, successfully strategizing, defining the right tactics, and getting into sustainable action.

It is these steps—from vision to action—that put the practical into pursuing your passion.

Are you stuck trying to choose between your passion and the “practical path”? What would happen if you found a way to make them one and the same. Do you really have to choose?