There's nothing better than getting paid to do what you love, but few people know how to turn their interests into careers. "Turning your passion into a career requires unreasonable and unrelenting pursuit of your goals. It's about mapping out what you want to do and planning a route to get there," says Lee Witt, a musician, corporate consultant and author who successfully changed careers in midlife. • In his book, The BrickHouse Band: How An Ordinary Mid-Life Couple Created A Business Phenomenon, Witt reveals how he and his wife, while busy with full-time careers, founded a band that became one of the most successful corporate and casino cover bands on the West Coast. • "It's not enough to want something; you have to plan well," he advises. StatePoint
Know your destination
Many people know what they like, but few have clear visions of what they want their lives to look like. You have to know your destination before you can map out how to get there.
Does successfully living your passion mean making millions? Critical acclaim and recognition? Helping others? Figure this out first and then plan your route.
Start by making a list of experiences you've had in your desired field and any marketable skills that came from these experiences. This will help you be realistic about the resources you have, those you'll need, and the actions required to bridge the gap between the two.
Know your route
With your destination in mind, create a mission statement or vision plan. This will help clarify your goals. "The most important question you should always be asking yourself is, 'Is what I'm doing now advancing me toward my destination?' " Witt says. "This will help you prioritize responsibilities and commitments."
Most important, beware the "shiny object syndrome." This happens when you're traveling your desired route and get distracted by a shiny new idea, project or person. When this happens, Witt suggests you remind yourself about where you want to be and confer with your career map. If this is an unauthorized stop, keep moving!
Rest and refuel
While you don't want to get distracted from your destination, you will need to stop and refuel, regardless of your journey. You may even want to sightsee for a while by settling into a comfortable job to gain experience you need. But passionate professionals know rest stops are for refueling, not unpacking.
Your fuel for your new, passion-filled career will consist of the reasons behind it. Is it for money? For love? To serve the planet? For recognition? None of these reasons is right or wrong, but knowing your reasons will keep you going when the going gets tough, Witt says.
For more tips on turning your passion into a career, go to Witt's website, www. BrickHouseLeadership.com.