amy@amymadson.org

I was a recent panelist and the Minnesota Music Coalition and spoke to musicians about steps to maintain mental health when faced with rejection, criticism, high highs followed by low lows, and a difficult lifestyle in terms of schedule and travel. Choosing to live one’s passion can mean taking a path that is less traditional. This comes with many sacrifices but also the potential for great rewards, including the possibility to live from one’s authentic self. The more I think about this, the more I realize that living from your passion is difficult no matter what that passion is, and that it can be especially difficult when living your passion involves relying on a part of yourself, for example: an artistic skill, yourself as a parent, or your business acumen.

When your passion involves an outcome that is judged by others (for example, a person whose passion is a career in the arts, a business owner, or a parent who is worried about how his or her children reflect of him), a necessary but dangerous part of living your passion is that it can be easy and tempting to become overly attached to the outcome. One can end up attaching his or her whole identity to the product. “Will people think I did a good job?” becomes “What will people think of me?” “Will people like my product?” becomes “Will people like me?” “Did I teach my child all that I could?” becomes “If my child makes poor choices it is because I was a poor parent.” This can be a sign that you are overly identified with this aspect of yourself.

Here are ten things you can do to take care of yourself while you are living your passion:

  1. Maintain good basic self-care. This is easier said than done if your passion is caring for others or involves a non-traditional lifestyle. Get creative with finding ways to get enough sleep, maintain good basic nutrition, and nourish your mind, body, and soul.
  2. Check in with your barometer on your passion. If you are not enjoying your passion anymore, notice that. Find ways to make sure you are still finding joy in your passion. This leads to the next point:
  3. Create a statement that reminds yourself why you got into your passion in the first place and how living your passion allows you to honor your authentic self, and:
  4. Give yourself permission to change. The world is changing rapidly. Being in the music business, parenting, owning a business, etc. all change as the world changes. The way you live your passion and honor your authentic self is likely to shift as the world changes and that is OK.
  5. Honor your whole self. Make sure that you nurture the part of you that lives your passion but also the part of you that is your whole self. If you neglect your whole self, the part of you that lives your passion may become overdeveloped and out of balance.
  6. Build a team around you. Having support is imperative to making the time and space to live your passion. Support can be from friends and family, colleagues, professionals, and even services that can be helpful in saving you time or helping you find resources.
  7. Don’t get too attached to how others judge the outcome. People bring their own experiences to the table when judging your product. Make sure there is an overarching theme of joy in the process.
  8. Try not to compare. Comparing can be motivating when kept in check, but it can also lead to jealousy, isolation, and lack of productivity. Live your passion for you and be the best you that you can be in the moment.
  9. Use the skills you have developed while cultivating your passion in order to help you in areas where you struggle. For example, many creative types that I work with struggle with the financial aspects of their work. Creatives, however, have mastered difficult technical skills in their field. The dedication and discipline used to cultivate technical skills may also translate into more skills in business development and becoming financially literate than one might initially think.
  10. Practice gratitude. Although living your passion can be challenging, it offers you a change to be authentic, whole, and vibrant. You living your passion as an expression of your authentic self brings a light to the world. Practice gratitude toward your passion!