Tips to start your passion project (and find success!)

start your passion project

What if I told you that it was possible to start your passion project? Imagine having a fresh start. A clean slate. The chance to rewrite your story. And imagine a better future for yourself and your family. But there’s a catch. All of those dreams and hopes and goals…

They won’t unfold perfectly. However you imagine them, they never show up as you expect. As we come to the end of a HARD year, one that hasn’t unfolded the way you expected, maybe you can still find space to start your passion project. Even though you’re tired and you feel like you won’t get where you want to go.

Hang on. The year isn’t over yet. Just because you desire a fresh start doesn’t mean you can do it all at once.  A clean slate doesn’t mean it all goes smoothly from here.

Over the last 8 years I’ve brought big dreams to life. It didn’t always happen with grace and ease. I had tech problems, got sick at the worst possible moment, didn’t meet goals … I battled internal struggle, fear, doubt, and inner demons. And I kept going on with my passion projects. You will too.

7 Tips to Start Your Passion Project

You’ve got that fresh start and big dreams. And here you’ve got my favorite tips for moving forward on your passion projects with more confidence and curiosity so you can bring them to life.

Start Your Passion Project by Thinking Big

Start with your big unrealistic vision. Even if it feels insanely out of reach right now let your mind get curious and wander a bit. Put aside all the reasons you can’t do it or why it’s crazy or not the right time. Let yourself live with the dream.

Want to write a book? Be a famous movie star? Have a successful business? Run a half marathon? What’s your big vision? Let it live in your mind and heart. Get excited about starting your passion project.

Then, Go Small

Once you feel the passion for that big dream, think about the smaller steps and pieces of growing that dream. If you want an online business do you currently have a website or blog? If you want to run a half marathon are you currently running at all? If you want to write a book, do you make time and space to journal or write daily? What one step could you take TODAY to move you a little bit closer to your big vision?

Make a Plan for your Passion Project

You’re busy. I know. It is so easy to “busy” ourselves out of working toward our dreams. Give yourself space to dream, daily. Give yourself space to work towards your passion project, daily. Allow yourself time to yourself to do the work that will allow you to bring your passions to life.
If something is not on my calendar I won’t do it. So EVERYTHING gets scheduled. I like using Google Calendar to document specific dates and events. (Pro tip: schedule in your self-care / quiet time on your calendar, that needs to be non-negotiable!) I do more of my dreaming, scheming and project management type work in a journal or notebook. Find a scheduling tool that works for you and schedule time for your passion project.

Act Creatively

The antidote to fear, doubt, mental blocks or any other hiccups that show up along the path to start my passion project is having a creative hobby to shift my focus away from the negative emotions. When I get overwhelmed I shift my focus to sewing or coloring or crafting or some other creative task that has nothing to do with my dream.

If your big dream has a creative component, note that last part—do something that has nothing to do with your dream. If you dream of writing a book or selling your artwork, find a separate creative outlet to tap into when you start to get down on your dream.

Stay Consistent with your Passion Project

We’ve all set New Year’s resolutions and given up a few weeks in. Don’t let that be the way with your passion project. I’ve learned from running that putting in the miles matters. Lacing up my shoes and showing up day after day matters. Going to the gym in January and then dropping off wouldn’t get me to my half-marathon this spring. Jumping in with enthusiasm or going all out and then letting your passion project get sidetracked won’t get you there. Think the tortoise and the hare. Be consistent in your efforts. Keep moving toward your goal.

Be Curious

When you find yourself getting frustrated or down about starting your passion project, get curious about what’s going on. If you find yourself backing off from your passion project, ask Why? “I’m too busy right now” doesn’t cut it. What’s really going on? Are you in the messy middle where going forward seems hard and you’re starting to wonder what you were thinking? Been there.

Finding out what’s really in your way is the first step to getting past it. Things you might find: you’re getting close and now you’re afraid of failure; you don’t know the next step; you realized this might work and eek! what would that really mean; your initial excitement has waned and you think you aren’t good enough; you’re getting negative feedback (from yourself or others). Instead of getting bogged down in negativity or judging yourself for slacking off, get curious and figure out what’s really happening. Often that’s enough to allow you to see steps to moving forward.

Connect Daily with your Project

Connect with your work daily, but connect back to your big dream, your why, or reason for doing this crazy project anyway. You will get to a point when you don’t love what you are doing. You will get to a point when you wonder why you started. You will want to quit sometimes. And when you do, you go back to why and big excitement at the beginning. You refocus on what you want to accomplish and why. And then you act again.

In addition to these tips, I can’t recommend enough getting support as you work toward your big vision. That comes in a lot of forms. Getting a partner or family on-board can be huge—but it can also be difficult. Find somebody who “gets” your vision, who will support you when things get hard and share your excitement when things go well. It might be a friend or an accountability group or people in a class you take to move toward your goal. And it might be a coach or mentor. Get somebody in your corner who can help you see past your own fears and frustrations.

Dream big. Take small steps. Plan. Get creative. Be consistent and curious. And keep connecting to that vision. It’s your vision, your passion. You have what it takes to start your passion project. You’ll get there.