Do you choose Passion or Talent for a career choice? There is a movement in America that says, “You should follow your passion! You can be whatever you want to be.” It is that same movement that mandates participation awards for everyone. RELATED – Award Winning Plumbers
This “Follow your Passion” movement is coming at a great cost to the actual development of skill and talent. There is also a very deep psychological cost for the person following his passion, to find out too late that he is not good enough.
Passion doesn’t always pay the bills!
I attended Louisiana Tech University on an acting scholarship. Acting was something that fueled my fire. However, it didn’t pay the bills.
Paying bills is something a young kid following his passion doesn’t think about. It is easy to rack up debt, and live on ramen noodles when you are only thinking of yourself. RELATED – The Manager Training Series
When I started thinking about more than myself, I began to look at my passions differently.
A girl named Shannon Tolleson changed my self-centered ways.
I decided to marry Shannon Tolleson somewhere between our first and second date. I would graduate in May of 2001 with a BA in Speech Communication from Louisiana Tech University. We would be married in July of 2001, and Shannon would graduate in the Fall of 2002. RELATED – About Todd Liles
But first, I had to ask Shannon’s father for permission to marry his little girl.
Shannon’s father is Mike “Tolly” Tolleson. He is a legend in college football! As a Defensive Line coach, he has produced players like Booger McFarland, Casey Hampton, and Shawn Rogers. He is a tough nosed man, but a fair man.
When I asked for Shannon’s hand, Tolly gave me permission, but told me the following:
“You have my permission, but when you get married you have to be ready to take responsibility. You have to be ready to pay the bills. Now, as long as Shannon is under my roof, I will pay the bills. When she’s under your roof, you pay the bills. Are you ready for that?” – Tolly
“Yes sir.” – Me
Tolly was testing me, and maybe was even hoping that I would be scared of the test. However, I’m hard headed, and I was in love. I was also determined to take care of my wife-to-be.
So, how am I going to pay the bills?
As you can imagine, there were not a lot of acting gigs in Ruston, Louisiana that would pay for a house, car, food, and the needs of a new bride.
Other options became limited if I refused to do only the work that fueled my passions.
Instead, I looked for work that fueled my talents and skills.
I grew up working hard in Mississippi, so I knew I could get a job working with my hands. Skilled labor was something I was ready to do. My personal communication skills had also been honed through my acting work, and through the sales position I had while in college.
After a short stint at a laboratory company (Nope!), I landed a position with a Service and HVAC company.
My responsibility initially was to sell more clients for the company. That didn’t go so well in the beginning, so I became a technician. It didn’t take long for my skill level to grow as a tech. As my skills grew, so did my confidence. Within 2 years I was designing major projects, and selling very large jobs. RELATED – How to Boost Your Technicians Confidence
Once I focused on my skills and talents, I went from not being able to pay the bills, to earning commissions between 6% to 10% on 2.4 Million in annual sales. (2.4 Million was the portion of the business I built, and maintained.)
My career in HVAC took off! I caught the attention of large organization that helped contractors grow, and I was asked to join the team. There, I became the director of training. I continued to grow as a person, and grow businesses in the process.
I found a new passion in training others to be successful! This was a passion that actually paid the bills, and then some.
Once I aligned my talents and skills, I found ways to bring passion to my work. This was a turning point for me.
Soon, purpose also became part of the equation, and I then created Service Excellence Training.
In this world, passion is important, but it is not critical. Purpose and talent is critical.