Prepare to pursue your passions

We’ve all heard stories about people who’ve labored in financially lucrative or socially prestigious jobs that left them unfulfilled. They then spent their later years regretting their earlier career choices. Don’t let this happen to you. You can do what you love, but you also must be ready to handle the reproach that may come your way.

If your professional passion challenges what others feel you should be doing, you’ll be sure to hear about it. When Michael Jordan first retired from the Chicago Bulls, he tried his hand at his first sports love-baseball. After a 10-year effort, self-proclaimed bookworm Oprah Winfrey succeeded in getting one of her favorite reads, Toni Morrison’s Beloved, made into a Hollywood movie. Both of these projects were perceived as failures in the eyes of many. However, both Jordan and Winfrey understood that following their heart’s desire-be it professional or personal-was more important than garnering approval.

Keep this in mind if you decide to trade in your monotonous-yet-moneymaking job for your long-held dream of being an elementary school teacher, for instance. Steel yourself against the criticism that may come your way from family, friends and colleagues. Even if your attempt fails, you can take comfort in knowing that you refused to let anything or anyone stop you from trying.

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