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This is the thing that makes 'pursuing your passion' unsustainable

BIG QUESTION: Is pursuing your passion 'practical' or 'sustainable'?

These days, I am very wary whenever I get invited to talk in conferences or workshops about ‘pursuing your passion.’

I feel very very strongly that the topic of ‘pursuing your passion’ has become largely over-romanticized these days, thanks to Thought Catalog and other similar sites, especially with headlines like...

  • "I Pursued My Passion Instead Of Money (And I Don’t Regret It At All)"
  • "9 Things You Learn When You Decide To Follow Your Dreams"
  • "10 People On The Moment They Quit Their Job To Pursue Their Real Passion"
  • "Don't settle. 5 Tips on pursuing your passion"
  • "How to Know It's Time to Quit Your Job to Pursue Your Passion"

While there’s nothing wrong with these articles, I just find that people always talk about the emotional side of it: follow your heart, chase your dreams, just do it, be brave, you only live once.

There is NO shortage of articles, listicles, interviews, and personality features (so many #lifepegs!!!) — peppered with motivational quotes — cheering you on, telling you to live your passion.

But it feels very one-sided.

These days, I like talking about the OTHER, more boring side of passion (precisely because not a lot of people do): It’s a topic that makes a lot of people uncomfortable.

I’m talking about the topic of MONEY: the financial side of pursuing your passion.

No matter how you spin it, there is always a financial side to pursuing your passion, most especially if you want your passion to be an integral part of your life.
  • You want to pursue art? How are you going to fund your art materials?
  • You want to travel? Those airline tickets aren’t going to magically fall into your lap.
  • You want to make your passion profitable? You definitely need some money smarts.

But why, then, are people always too dyahe to discuss money? It is such a necessary conversation, and WE NEED TO STOP TIPTOEING AROUND IT. Agree?

Think of it this way — when you’re not stressing about money matters, the more brain and heart space you free up to think about your project, to be more creative, to have fun! (Always worrying about money is one of the worst kinds of stress!)

Can your passions fund your big dreams?

In my talk for SunLife last August, I talked all about the money side of things. I felt so uncomfortable and vulnerable, especially because it felt like such a taboo and dyahe topic to be baring all out in the open.

But I really wanted to start the conversation about this.

I talked about my experience of how the puzzle pieces truly started to fall into place when I started making sure that my passion projects aligned with my long-term goals.

I talked about how I finally got my financial situation in order — and mind you, that was only in January 2015 (I was a late bloomer!).

There were 3 things I did to kick off my January 2015, and it really set the tone for my year:

  1. I started being more intentional about my budget,
  2. I organized my savings by assigning a savings bucket for each life priority, and
  3. I finally opened a life insurance AND investment account with SunLife — so that my money can start earning more than when I just put it in my bank account (best decision ever!).

Fun fact: I actually considered becoming a SunLife financial advisor myself, because I talk to a lot of young creative women about business and passion-as-a-career anyway -- but I found out you need to be physically present here in the PH to do that, and since I was traveling a lot — it was impossible for me!

But it’s actually a very profitable side-hustle with lots of extra benefits, and something I could have enjoyed, because the bulk of the work entailed teaching and talking to people.

Insider tip: If YOU’RE interested in making this a part-time side-hustle (it’s actually a pretty simple process), enter your information below to get a checklist on how to become a SunLife financial advisor. (I can personally refer you to someone who can help you out.)


Making your passion profitable

Here’s two of the slides I shared during my talk — the first one is a list of my several different attempts to make a living from my passion, and the next slide is my basic financial plan when I quit my job last October.


It was a good trip down memory lane, and I’m pretty proud of myself for improving A LOT in my finances. One thing's for sure though: I really wish I had gotten into saving up for the future a lot earlier… as early as 21 years old!

But now, I’m turning that regret into action — by educating and influencing the interns and students closest to me to NOT be like me, and to start investing as soon as they get their first job!

These were the 5 steps I shared during my talk:

(Another important side note: If you’re interested in getting your first life insurance, or even investment fund, let me know — I know a REAAALLY awesome lady boss who can also help you out! Just e-mail me with the subject: SunLife investment.)

If you're looking to read more about making your passion profitable, I have a blog post and free e-book for you:


I’d love to know -- comment below and let me know your thoughts:

  • Do you ever worry that your passion isn't sustainable or practical? Why or why not?
  • Who do you talk to about your money issues or financial plans?