Why PASSION Can Be A Mis-direct

How many times have you heard ‘Follow Your Passion’?


And, how many times have you thought, even felt, like somehow, you’re ‘Passion’ must be hiding behind that big stack of unpaid bills?


How many times have you been advised to ‘Find what you’re passionate about and do THAT’?


How many times have you wondered if something must be wrong with you because you’re either not very complex or you suck at hide-n-seek?


How many times have you heard that if you ‘do’ what you’re passionate about you’ll never work a day in your life?


How many times does a day’s work resemble unicorns farting rainbows?


That many?


Me too.


So let’s be honest, you and me, between friends and all, let’s be speakers of truth.


Let’s look each other in the eye, take a deep drink of wine, and say, ‘Me too and we’re awesome still.’

When I was young I played piano- playing a piano became my passion.

And I was HAPPY.

Now, you can’t play an instrument and not SING with it, so I SUNG. Loudly. Every damn day. And I was HAPPY. 

Then I started writing my own music, and some of my stuff was pretty good- I had the wife of a Entertainment producer tell her husband about me- THAT good.


My mother begged me to Follow My Passion.


And I declined.

‘Why?’, you might ask.

Because I was HAPPY, because I suspected that once this ‘thing’ I WAS passionate about became something people expected from me- the expectation would ruin it- the Passion. The Happy.

So I ‘did’ other things, other jobs, had other responsibilities, made differences in other ways WITHOUT BEING PASSIONATE about them.


And, ‘ya know what? It’s been good. Even great– this life of mine.

You don’t need passion to participate in a meaningful occupation, to do a good job, to become accomplished, to be heard because most of us don’t even know what our ‘Passions’ are, let alone how to finesse them into a career, and if you do know what your ‘Passions’ are, there’s no shame in just experiencing them quietly, with loved ones, by yourself, for the JOY, for the …HAPPY.


All of those ‘people’ that espouse these little ditties aren’t passionate about you, or your passion. They are usually standing in front of a choir, selling a book, or receiving an award.


It’s just so easy for them to inspire you. You feel empty. You feel left out. You are ripe for the pickings.


And then you go home and try to identify your passions. But the kids are crying and you need to get dinner on the table, and your husband needs his med’s, and your boyfriend hasn’t called, and your father’s insurance won’t cover his treatment, and you don’t know…


What your passion is.


Because LIFE is getting in the way.


Except it’s not


Because living Life IS the great Passion, and you’re a big part of IT, and IT may not always say ‘thank you’, and IT may sometimes walk right past you, and IT doesn’t buy you a house, and IT let’s you get old, but IT’s the story. The big reveal.


YOU are the Passion. And you are an awesome creature in all of your ordinariness, and invisibility, and seemingly mundane vanilla existence.


Because without all of us, in every form, suffering every malady, and creating joy from dust, there would be nothing to live for.


It takes a hero to get up every damn day and go out again.


And life is made-up of unsung heros- thank God.


So consider giving yourself a break, apologizing to your own soul, kissing your own face, painting masterpieces on the weekends, creating an environment that provides for the next generation, rounding-up stray animals, being in love, being upset, being forlorn, planning a funeral, having a baby, being properly diagnosed, clean sheets, cold milk, hot showers, and receiving a smile from a stranger– all a part of your Passion…


And you just might find yourself HAPPY.

At least enough of the time. 



All of these people are experiencing their PASSIONPINIMAGE

All of these people are experiencing their PASSION’s without actually having laid the marble or painted the murals.

  • Sanrizz - I AGREEEEEEEEE! OMG! It’s like you’ve read my mind. You have no idea how many time I wondered if there was something extremely wrong with me! Thank you!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Oh no. There is NOTHING wrong with you. I don’t know who started this additional ‘guilt-trip’ of advise but I call FOUL.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle - I REALLY needed to read this. Thank you so much for sharing!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - You are so welcome. I feel a lot of us need to consider giving ourselves a break.ReplyCancel

  • Kathleen O'Donnell - Exactly. Writing was more fun before I got published. Now it’s an “I have to” instead of an “I want to.” Be careful what you wish for…ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Be Careful What You Wish For, a cautionary tale.ReplyCancel

  • Lynda@fitnessmomwinecountry - Cheryl, I loved this so much ..I read it twice and will most likely go over again. It is so right on. I know there is nothing wrong with me or my head and thoughts. I am loving living life just as I am and being a mom and wife are my passions that shine through. All the rest is just icing {fat free of course} on the cake. 🙂 BravoReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I saw some kind of award ceremony where the WINNER ( I hate that word) said to the audience ‘Don’t let anyone stop you from following your Passion’, and I thought ‘ Really? Okay. That’s easy. No problemo. Gee, why didn’t I think of that’. Idiot.ReplyCancel

  • Kim Tackett - Most of the things I love doing, I am not very good at. And some of the stuff I am really good at, I don’t really love doing. And sometimes it’s not even about passion…it’s about joy, satisfaction and discovery. Thought provoking piece, thank you.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - You hit it on the ‘head’ Kim. ON THE HEAD!ReplyCancel

  • MIchelle S. - Beautifully written. Right now I’m thrilled that my occupation and passion align. But, I have also had the experience of turning a passion into profit, and then watching the joy drain out of it. When you let others in by accepting money for your talent, you are also letting them into the process and giving them freedom to critique and comment. You’ll never view the activity in the same way again.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Yes. I’m not suggesting that ‘passions’ can’t be, or shouldn’t be, channeled into some kind of career- it’s just that so many people of influence make so many people without influence question their destiny, even make them feel like they have failed in some way. And that’s not accurate, fair, or even smart. Thanks for stopping by.ReplyCancel

  • Karen D. Austin - Agreed. I am very passionate about yoga, so much so that people ask me over and over again if I’m going to teach it. No. Way! That would make it a job, and then the joy it brings me would die. (And I have been a professional teacher for decades; yoga is a place for me to detach from that kind of bossy pants energy.) Glad you preserved good boundaries on what makes you happy!ReplyCancel

  • Kathleen O'Donnell - When your passion sucks the life out of you. Great post from Cheryl NichollReplyCancel

  • Cathy Chester - There are so many parts of us that we are, in a way, living our passions in our group. Writing, connecting, supporting, encouraging and not judging each other on what we do, how we write, and who we are. At least that’s my take on it. Passion is in the eye of the beholder. ReplyCancel

  • Janie Emaus - I loved this. I am passionate about my family and my writing and walking and laughing and…the list could on. I think passion is one of the greatest qualities a person can possess. Whatever that passion is. ReplyCancel

  • Ellen Dolgen - I never really had a hobby. I always thought maybe I was weird because I never really had a hobby. My friends had hobbies.
    Then I realized I DO have a passion. I am passionate about having fun and joy in my life and creating fun and joy in the lives of my friends and family. Love this blog…. I agree…..living life is the great passion!ReplyCancel

  • Ines Roe - I love what you say. I am one of those people who help women try and create a vision (passion by another name) of what they want in their life. But both words sound so solemn. The idea is to find something that is fun, fills you up and helps you get over the bumps it life. It doesn’t have to be a grandiose endeavor – just something fun!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I often times think it’s the small passions that are the most rewarding. And I agree with having them to help get over the ‘bumps’ in life! So true. You sound really good at what you do! We all need more of you. Ha!ReplyCancel

  • Tam Warner Minton - We all make choices, and I’m glad yours have made you HAPPY!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Thank you. I hope yours have as well.ReplyCancel

  • Tammy Stafford - You seem passionate about that. 😉 Second blog I’ve ready on following passions this week….and very well said!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Hahaaa. I guess I am! I never thought about this piece that way. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Diane Tolley - One of my DILs is a fantastic artist. Fantastic. When I asked her to illustrate my books, she refused for the very reasons you describe. “I enjoy it too much to make it a job.” I didn’t understand her then. I do now. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Rena McDaniel - It’s something so simple and yet most of us chase it our whole lives and miss so much.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Passion can be like quicksilver can’t it? I hope for passion in everyones life- at least once. But to make it something you seek, or try to create just defeats it’s incarnation. Thanks Rena. For commenting.ReplyCancel

  • Deborah Batchelor - LOVE this one!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Ohhhh. Myyyyyy. GOD! You are here! You read me!!! There has never been a happier SIL! LOVE AND MISS YOU PASSIONATELY (yes everyone- this is my sister-n-law).ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - And I LOVE YOU!ReplyCancel

  • Mari Collier - Well, it’s nice to know I’m so passionate. I’ll admit I must be. What I need now is my husband back so that he can put his arms around me and say,, “Aw, calm down, Mari,” when I get too passionate about something. Hugs.ReplyCancel

  • Esther Lombardi - I love those: Follow curiosity or follow the sunrise.

    I also was in a discussion today about the “follow your passion” mentality. There are all those moments in our lives that are not particularly inspired. It’s only later (looking back) that we realize the true significance of all those moments…ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - So true. At least we often realize the great moments in reflection. Can you imagine being able to recognize them all when they are occurring? We’d all be stopped in our tracks and never get anything done.ReplyCancel

  • Lois Alter Mark - Elizabeth Gilbert has a great video where she says don’t worry about following your passion — just follow your curiosity. I loved that, and I love this post!ReplyCancel

  • Alyson Shitastrophy Herzig - Cheryl you truly are a candy dish of amazing and awesomeness. I never know what I am gonna pull out but they are all good and sweet. ReplyCancel

  • Bodynsoil - Agreed and wonderfully stated. I don’t find the work the issue at any of my jobs. It tends to be who I work with that makes all the difference.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Oohhhh. Don’t get me started on THAT one.ReplyCancel

  • Linda Roy - I feel like the “follow your passion” concept is a new one. At least for me. My mother did encourage my passions, but always made sure I understood that making a living was numero uno even if you absolutely dreaded getting out of bed in the morning to go and do it. Hence, I always pursued things that were uber not lucrative while siting in cubicles seemingly wasting my life away and hating every moment of it. I think following your passion is important, but I completely agree that if you find something you don’t hate with the fiery passion of 1,000 suns, you’re good at it and you can make a living at it – BINGO!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Sure. I’m not saying following your ‘passion’ is a bad thing. If you can make a living at it great. But there are a lot of people that have no idea what their passion is and feel like there’s something wrong with them. I just wanted those people to know that NOT KNOWING is okay too. PASSION is a BIG word isn’t it? 1,000 suns is what most people think they have to feel. Hey! That’s a good title for a new song girl- get on it!!ReplyCancel

  • KymberlyFunFit - My passion has been trying to find my passion. Ok not really. I have always felt left out of the passion convo as I could not id one burning, driving desire. Thanks for exposing the myth!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - ANother part of the myth is this; My challenge has always been that I have TOO MANY- so which one to focus on and does that mean that I’ll have to leave the others behind if I concentrate on just one? I don’t want to do that, so I rotate them, which means I have become expert at none of them. But I’m okay with that. As for exposing the MYTH in all of it’s complications- it has been a pleasure.ReplyCancel

  • Lillian Connelly - I think what we really need to do is change the way we define success and find happiness in our daily moments. Doing what we love or are passionate about doesn’t have to be tied to monetary gain in order for us to feel successful.ReplyCancel

  • Roshni - I guess you and I have different perspectives on this but I’m intrigued with your take on the topic, Cheryl! How awesome that you sing and play so well!! A vlog perhaps?!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I USED TO play and sing well. That ship has left the dock.ReplyCancel

  • Dana - This made me think how involved kids are in so many different activities, and at such an intensity that they burn out. The girl who loves lacrosse quits before she’s 16 because she plays it all the time, and has lost her passion for it.

    If you’re happy doing what you are doing, don’t mess with it.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - Would that girl happen to have had lunch recently at Coquette?ReplyCancel

  • Jana - I’ve always been the Jill of all trades, master of none. Basically, I like a lot of different things — but I’ll never be world famous for any of them. I also have an incredibly short attention span — so I just enjoy my passions while they last, and then move onto the next one.ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - I think that’s great. Passions can burn-out quickly and change often. Moving on is a healthy choice I think. Bravo.ReplyCancel

  • Piper george - I haven’t really found a passion yet – and that does worry me!ReplyCancel

    • Cheryl - You may not. You may find many. They may change or be short-lived. No problemo! You’re perfect just the way you are! All things about you are in the right place. Now ENJOY!ReplyCancel

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