One night Brandon and I were riding home from rehearsal. He had this look in his eyes while driving like he was thinking about something, but I left him to it. 10 minutes into the ride, he turns to me and says, “Can I share something with you?” I look at him all side-eyed, eyebrows arched because I was uncertain about what he was about to say. I responded with a calm and cool, “Okay?” What he began to share with me gave me a rush of emotions. I was angry, surprised, and sad at the same time. How does someone the guy one used pots and pans at 2 years old as his make-shift drum set want to quit playing drums? His exact words broke my heart, “I don’t think playing drums is for me anymore.”
As he’s explaining how he came to this conclusion, my mind began to wonder about how passionate he is about drumming. He’s constantly practicing, taking gigs, posting to his Instagram, and mentoring young drummers. and mapping out his future hopes and dreams to become a professional drummer. Why would he want to quit and why now?
Haven’t we all been in this position before? There’s that something that we’re passionate about. It keeps us up at night (in a good way) and we think about how we can execute it all day. We have an idea of how we envision our passion project and if it doesn’t go as planned; we decide to quit. Before we accept defeat, we take a journey to the crossroad. We ultimately have to choose endurance or quitting. Most times the factors that cause us to get to that crossroad is either our expectation versus reality, comparison, lack of support, fear.
Expectation Vs Reality
Expectation versus reality is usually the start of why we decide to quit the things that we love to do. This especially happens when we begin to display our talents in a different space. For example, Brandon has played drums for 27 years and he’s normally playing in church or for people in the church. He’s fairly new posting himself on his Instagram and Facebook. Depending on the reaction that he might get from his audience (likes, views, follows, shares), would make him feel slightly discouraged and I know how that feels.
Everything happens so fast in our society, we expect to start something this month and hit millionaire status by the beginning of the next month. The truth is, it doesn’t work that way. It’s okay to set a high expectation for your passion. If you decide to do so, make sure that your reality matches. Makes sure that you’re putting in the same work so your expectation and reality matches. If you’re only putting in 2 hours a week, be prepared to reap the benefits of your 2-hour labor.
When you begin to pursue your passion, it is a known fact to look at people for inspiration and direction. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that. Where the problem begins is comparing yourself to them and like Jonathan McReynolds says, “Comparison Kills”. You begin to look at what someone is doing and wonder why we haven’t reached that form of status yet. The fact of the matter is, we only see the final product, but we don’t see the time it took to perfect their craft, enduring sleepless nights, blood, sweat, and tears it took to get to where they are.
If you have a passion to do something where you believe you are in an oversaturated market just relax because constantly comparing yourself to everyone niche won’t make it any better. Just remember that there’s a certain type of uniqueness that you bring to the table. If you have not discovered it yet, take the time to explore it. You’ll be surprised at what you might come up with or discover about yourself.
Fear would cause anyone to quit their passion project. Fear has the ability not only to cripple you but talk you out of pursuing your passion. If you have to choose between the feeling of fear and quitting; quitting just seems like the best way to go. The feeling of anxiety leaves, but you walked away from your passion.There are different types of fear we can experience and different ways to combat them. These fears are as follows:
- Fear of the Unknown: If you have an idea that you’re passionate about yet no one has ever done it quite the way you’ve envisioned; you may have come down with fear of the unknown. You are the only one who has the blueprint to what you’re attempting to do. With this type of idea, there is no looking at someone else to have the step-by-step instructions. This means that you’re totally relying on yourself. That can be crippling. It’s important to remember that there is someone out there that is depending on you to see this passion project out. Your gift, talent, expertise, is the one thing the might change there life. You can’t quit because they’re depending on you.
- Fear of Failure: When you’ve made a commitment to doing what you love, no one wants to fail. Private failures are one thing, but failing publicly or the idea of failing publicly is also crippling. Some of us prefer to quit before the failure arises or before we have the opportunity to. There would be times when you can and will feel defeated and the only option presented to you is to quit. We won’t be perfect all the time and some times our failures don’t happen as a sign to quit; they happen for life experience. It’s supposed to teach us a lesson on how not to do something in the future or how to better improve something that we’re doing.
- Fear of your Own Expectation: Setting expectations for your passion becomes exciting until you feel like you cannot live up to those expectations. Instead of quitting because of the expectations you may have for yourself seems too big or unattainable, break them up into smaller responsibilities over the course of a week. That way you’re looking at it as 10 small things you have to take care of for your passion project and not 1 big project to execute.
Lack of Support
Support is another way we measure whether we should continue to pursue our passions. Believe it not, we’re constantly looking for validation from those who are closest to us. Most times we’re looking for support in terms of purchasing what we’re selling, reposting our latest post, and just reassurance that they see us and respect our hustle. Truth be told, our family and friends will not support us the way a stranger will. Some of our friends and family will not support our growth and they may not catch the vision and that’s okay. There are strangers that will become a part of your tribe. They may not know you from Adam, a hole in the wall or a can of paint, but they need to see that blog post, that motivational video, that t-shirt line. They’re waiting on you. If you’re waiting for a someone familiar you can be waiting forever. Get your message out there, a stranger will see it, support it, and tell their friends and family about you.
As we got closer to the house I realized that the way Brandon feels is not too different than the way I feel at times. If I had a dollar for every time I wanted to quit my passions, I’d have enough money to fund them all. It’s okay to feel defeated or have thoughts of quitting because you think you’re going to fail but the fact of the matter is that your thoughts should not manifest itself into your actions. Get the work done! Think about the long haul and not just what you’re feeling in the moment. If you ever felt like quitting, remember its not an option. Someone out there will be forever changed by your passion, so make it happen.