There are countless people who are passionate about some activity. Activities that are done for pleasure are categorized as hobbies. People who pursue hobbies are called amateurs. People pursuing enjoyable activities for a reward are called professionals. Most professionals were amateurs at some point in their career.
There is a secret recipe to convert enjoyable activities into a career. The book by Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point, has the clue. In the book, Malcolm Gladwell argues that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to become an expert in a field. He cited the example of Bill Gates who spent time after school to do programming. All talented professionals had 10,000 hours of practice time, before they became experts. Based on the Tipping Point, I offer three simple steps to convert your passion into a career:
- Identify your passion(s).
- Practice for 10,000 hours with an audience.
- Network with people to monetize talent.
Identify your passion(s)
A healthy individual is passionate about many activities. All passionate activities cannot be made into a career. For example, it is difficult to convert “watching movies” or “dining at restaurants” into a career. Programming, Public speaking, Playing cricket are some activities that can be converted into a career. Identify a passion that has one of the following attributes:
- Maximum rewards when converted into a career (Playing cricket).
- Relatively easy to convert to a career (Programming).
- Most passionate activity (Public speaking).
Practice to grow talent
As Gladwell put it, “Practice for 10,000 hours”. 10,000 hours is 2 years of intense effort or 5 years of moderate effort. 10,000 hours is 250 full-time weeks, which is about 5 years of work that any amateur has to put in, to become a professional. There are a few tips which make an effective practice session:
- Have a goal for each practice session.
- Identify mistakes and improve upon it.
- Improvise and try something new.
- Setup rewards which will reinforce good habits.
Network to monetize talent
Why Network? Digital Photography School (DPS) has identified four reasons to network with other professionals. As professionals, we do business with other people. Relationships are the foundation of any successful business. So, it makes sense to network with other professionals.
The objective of networking is to help others. By the reciprocal rule, others will return the favor. While networking with other professionals, the below tips are helpful:
- The goal of networking is to help other people.
- Do not expect anything in the relationship.
- Be friendly and helpful.
- Try to provide as much value as possible.
- Don’t leave networking to chance. Be purposeful.
- Ask if people want to be connected.
- Connect people with similar interests.
- Ask for permission to proceed, before asking a favor.