The Blog

Is It Irresponsible To Follow Your Passion?

I'm not saying any of this is easy because it's not. But it's better to think about these things now, before another decade slips by and it's too late. Something to consider, eh?
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.


You dream of throwing in the towel and pursuing what you really love! You want to unleash your zone of genius and know that you're doing the work you were born to do. And yet, there's a distinct, nagging part of you that feels like it would just be too irresponsible to stop what you're doing and follow your passion.

I mean c'mon! At your age! You've got mouths to feed and bills to pay! Don't be ridiculous. Get real. It's just not practical. Sound familiar?

I was chatting to a lovely man about this the other day, and he confessed that he desperately wanted to devote the time and resources to following his passion and finding his dream career, but he just felt like this would be the irresponsible thing to do.

I get it. Especially if you're changing careers mid-life. When you have commitments and a family to provide for, it can feel so hard to invest in yourself and your own happiness. And yet this is the exact moment when you must do something about it.

Here's why. I would argue that the most irresponsible thing you can do for your family is to provide a poor role model for them. Kids grow up looking to YOU for inspiration. They want to be LIKE YOU. And if you're miserable in a job you hate, then guess what? That's what they will think is possible for them too.

I see this so much, especially with parents. But really, it's all an illusion. There seems to be an unspoken rule, especially for parents, that we don't deserve to invest time or money in ourselves - everybody else is much more important. This is a nasty little trap, my friends. And it will leave you feeling bitter, resentful and miserable.

Here's something to ponder.

What do you think your kids want for you, more than anything in the world? They want you to be happy of course. Because when you're happy, they're happy, and everyone can relax.

The opposite is true if you're stressed. Because more than likely, your family will get the raw end of the deal when you're worried and uninspired. And it's not your fault; we can't help but affect others when we're stressed and unhappy - because it makes us show the ugliest parts of ourselves. We get short tempered; we get frustrated, and we snap at our loved ones. Not because we don't love them, but just because they are there. And we can't help it. This has to stop. And it all starts by taking responsibility for your own happiness.

Did you ever think about it that way? I believe we all have a responsibility to be happy. And I don't mean, we just flick the happiness switch on and off. I mean we have to work at it. Because happiness is not a constant thing, it's something that comes and goes based on how we choose to live; our decisions ultimately create our own happiness.

And doing work that you love is so intrinsically linked with happiness because we spend so much damn time at work! We're at work for two-thirds of our lives! That's the majority of our time. So we need to make it count.

In-fact we have a responsibility to make it count. We owe it to those around us, those who look up to us as role models (be that friends, family or children). And more than anything, we owe it to ourselves. Because when we get to the end of our lives, these are the questions we'll ask ourselves.

  • Did I spend my life wisely?
  • Did I contribute positively?
  • Did my life have meaning?

I'm not saying any of this is easy because it's not. But it's better to think about these things now, before another decade slips by and it's too late. Something to consider hey?

So how can you inch towards your dream career today? How can you be the role model that your loved ones really need? How can you take one small step towards taking responsibility for your own happiness?

Because great things start from humble beginnings, and someone wise once said:

"A journey of a thousand miles always starts with a single step."

So take that first step today.

With love

Zoë B

This article first appeared on Zoe B is an acclaimed Career Strategist who helps thousands of people all over the world change careers to do work they LOVE. To get started with your own career change, register for Zoe's free online MASTERCLASS: Find a New Career in 30 Days.