Who do you listen to?
Those that say to follow your passion and the money will follow, or the opposing view telling you to face reality?
Many of you may not care less. You may be content with aspects of your life, such as your career choice, social status, motherhood, baking cakes, community service, etc.
This dance isn't for everyone.
It's for you if you feel the burning desire to follow your dream, the 'can't- sleep-can't-eat' kind of fire that burns inside your soul. If it's all you think about.
Perhaps you're one of the lucky few that know exactly what it is you are meant to do. Maybe you're doing it. Or if you don't yet know what that is, you could be too scared to sit down and think about it and figure it out.
You might think that following your passion is only for certain kinds of people:
You know who I mean, it's those lucky few, born to parents that encouraged them, or the ones that grew up and put their lives in order and saved enough money so they can quit their jobs and really go for it.
And let's not forget about the dreamers that slept in their cars while pursuing their passion.
Many of you dream of your art and creativity and have to 9-5 it, care for kids, and make time to find or nourish relationships. You have to deal with life as it comes every day, and by nighttime you realize that another day passed without you doing anything towards your dreams and passions.
Then the day comes - when there's a rumbling inside, when you absolutely, positively, must follow your passion.
Where do you start?
A good place to start is by looking at those that have done it, and can tell you a bit about their own process and journey. There are examples all around us if we choose to see it, of people doing incredibly challenging things in order to follow their dreams.
When Leah Gottfried, founder of Dignity Entertainment and the Soon by You web series was in the 3rd grade, her teacher had the class do a project on what they wanted to be when they grew up.
Leah chose, "an actress", to which her teacher promptly crossed it out and said,
"You can't be that".
This usually leads artists and creatives to shamefully shelve that ridiculous dream and go for something others think is realistic.
She upped her game by asking her mother to sign her up for professional acting classes, promising to thank her in her Oscar acceptance speech. She kept asking relentlessly, until she got the acting lessons she desired.
While making sure her dream never died, she did all kinds of things to make it happen.
Wayne Dyer, author and speaker said that if you have a dream you want really badly and you are not moving towards it, you need to ask yourself,
"What am I NOT willing to do to live my dream, my passion?"
A young woman recently competed on the last season of American Idol, and she shared the beginning of her journey and her path to winning second place of the entire season.
She tells of how she took her little baby, under a year old and strapped him into a car seat, left a bad marriage, and decided to audition for a spot on the show.
The timing seems ridiculous, as our excuses usually include children, divorces, money, yet not for her. She felt that this was HER time and she let NOTHING stop her. NOTHING.
Did she go to the nearest audition?
NO. La'Porsha Renae drove 28 hours to get to the first stop on the audition tour. She said that she went to the first stop because she was going to follow the audition bus to every city as they went to across the US and audition over and over until they said yes to her.
28 hours. In a car. With a baby. Willing to follow the judges from city to city to city.
She truly muscled her way to the top and kicked the obstacles to the curb, and made it to the top.
There is no one easy answer to how to follow your dreams and passions.
I asked Leah Gottfried how she did it.
She comes from a strict religious background that had no allowance for a girl with a dream of Hollywood. Yet she went on to get cast in commercials for Yamaha, Time Warner, and many more, all while keeping her values.
In college, Yeshiva University, there was no film program so she created a new major with the advising professor. She was the first student of the college 40+ year old college to graduate majoring in film.
She recognized that there were other students with creative dreams like hers, so she created and became the president of the first Film Club at YU.
She started her own production company while still in college, and recently wrote, directed, produced and starred in a brand new web series that is a huge hit.
Best of all, she stayed true to her religious roots and the Soon By You series portrays what it's like to be dating in Orthodox Jewish circles in a comedic and true to life fashion.
EF: So how did you keep your passion alive when in an environment that specifically told you NO, and in the entertainment industry which is already hard enough to break into?
Leah: As a kid I used my imagination a lot. Even when I was in class, in a situation I felt stifled in, I would doodle pictures of me on the red carpet, winning an Oscar.
I would have my friends down the block come over on weekends and I would direct them in videos because I had to.
It wasn't a choice. I felt like if I didn't do this I didn't exist. It was like breathing.
EF: What advice do you have for people your age, 25, and even older? What could they do to live their passion and art?
Leah: First find support. Either a mentor that is succeeding in what you do or friends, peers, that are following their dreams. People that are positive about the arts. Wherever you are, if you want to write or create, just do it. Whatever you want to do start doing it now. Don't wait until you have everything lined up.
Do it whenever you feel the urge and the passion. Find outlets for your art somehow. You have to. Even if it's once a week, join a group, start small, but you absolutely have to make time for it like you make time for eating.
What's the point of living if you're not doing what you feel like you were born to do?
I'm a big believer in going after what you love and the money will follow even if that sounds cliche.
There are a lot of ways to make money doing what you love. You have to find a way. It's your duty when you have a gift to share it with the world.
Conclusion: Stifling it and ignoring it is the worst thing you can do.
Thank you, Leah!
How to Get Started on Your Passion:
Do what navy seals do. Positive self talk is one of the primary tools navy seals are known to rely on when in dangerous and trying situations. So talk your way to your dream. Tell yourself all the things you know are true about your desire, your talent and you passions and goals, and that you can do it.
Find a mentor or coach. If you cannot afford one, there are so many that offer a free initial call with you and sometimes that's all it takes to get you jump started. Once you are well on your way you can always circle back to them and hire them if you liked their coaching style. Or have a friend or someone that has some success be your starting mentor.
Head over and watch some inspiring YouTube videos about artists and creatives that made it to the top of their field. Choose people that are doing the thing YOU want to do. So many of them share their journey and they ups and downs they went through, and how they stayed on their path.
Head over to a museum, to see something incredible and know that the artist that created it most likely had to break through huge barriers of their own.
Head to a park, be inspired by nature. Find inspiration everywhere you go.
Be inspired by those NOT following their passions. When you see people trudging along, with no hope or belief that they can achieve their dreams, use that to fuel your own, that you will NOT be like that.
When it doubt, listen to Queen, or another artist belt out a piece of music that breaks your heart. A broken heart is a great way to find inspiration and drive.
When will YOU go for it?
Check out this quirky and funny web series created by Leah at Dignity Entertainment