Going Beyond Core Competences – Why We Should Follow Our Passion

Follow your passionWe all have unique traits, hidden talents and passion for diverse aspects of life , but we often do not have the guts to exploit them – out of fear of failure.

Couple of days ago, I finalized the editing of the final chapter of the book that I wrote about personal and professional development while living abroad. I was sitting in the train taking me from Copenhagen to Aarhus for the weekend, and I was relieved that I had used the traveling time wisely. The adrenaline in my blood from all the cups of coffee I had at work would not have left me at peace anyway. Apart from that, however, my chest and stomach ached when I eventually closed the final chapter. Why?

I should have felt pride, excitement and anticipation! Instead, I received goose bumps all over me, but not in a good way. I closed my eyes, and took a deep breath. It did not help. For the courageous and restless person that I see myself as, I admitted to myself (and now to you) with guilt, that I was afraid. Final editing meant that I had to start sending the manuscript to publishers, many of which would probably shut the door at my face. Perhaps some would tell me that my book is trash.

Fear of rejection

I had allowed all sort of negative thoughts and doubts to take over me. Writing was not my main occupation. I am working with a function within business development & optimization for a global maritime shipping company, and I have mastered in Business Administration and Economics. I am 25 and have no book publishing experience – what if no publisher takes me seriously? In a nutshell, I consider my core business competencies to be branding, analyses and market expansion. These are also my “comfort zone” areas, as I excel at them. Working within these areas excites me, but also in a way makes me feel safe. Writing books, on the other hand, also excites me, I love doing it, but feels different – it is scary and uncertain, because it goes beyond the zone of comfort. Writing was “just” a passion – what if it never becomes more than that?

I made an agreement with myself that I would leave the fear right there – in the train, and no more doubts would be welcomed after I step foot in Aarhus. I would rather fail 100 times, but at least by putting the time and energy, I would stand a chance to succeed – something I would not, if I never try. After all, you fail immediately if you don´t make an attempt. Since I have grown to be a stupid stubborn, I may have failed in many different things in the past, but one thing I have never done is failing immediately by never trying. As a result, I have succeeded hundreds of times too.

Your environment plays crucial role

Luckily, having parents, who are amazing at balancing their jobs and passions, and a boyfriend, who is entrepreneur and professional athlete, I have the best foundation of courage, inspiration and encouragement to follow my interests. My idols are also my grandparents, one of them combining an engineering profession with a professional sky diving, and the other, who has traveled the world, and is the most creative and outside-of-the-box person I know.

Therefore, when I am in doubt, I look around at the people closest to me – for encouragement, honest feedback, and for inspiration. My younger brother, Nikolaj Mihov, furthermore, is one of these natural talents that are born that way. Painting is only one of his many talents – he can illustrate anything, even though he has never in his life taken any special lessons for that. He drew the below illustration for me, for five min, on an old piece of paper with a basic blue ink pen. My good friend Simona Ivanova is another example of a natural painting talent, and I am lucky to have her drew the sketches for my book, and they look fantastic. Check some of her beautiful work here: https://www.facebook.com/lehumanart/?fref=ts

Nikolaj Mihov
Artist: Nikolaj Mihov

I think often it all comes to the influence of our inner circle; the environment that we thrive in. Choose the company of people, who truly motivate and inspire you.

Follow your passion

I am grateful to have many people in my life, who have shown me that you have to follow your passion, regardless of any obstacles and constrains, such as lack of time, lack of proper investments, or lack of career prosperity out of it. Sometimes, making yourself and others happy with your work of art is more than enough.

Is there such thing as a natural born writer? Yes, I believe so. However, as any other craft or competence, it has to be nurtured, maintained and developed. Am I a natural born writer? I was always good at literature and have loved reading and writing, probably due to my huge imagination, but never thought of myself as a natural writer. Maybe I am good at writing poems, dissertations and academic papers, but what about novels? With my first book coming out soon, I hope to find out. Actually, I cannot wait to see what is going to happen next.

What is your passion? Maybe it is not your main career, but it could turn out to be your higher purpose. Do not let  fear discourage you from following your passion, even if you are not born with the talent you aspire to develop. They say, hard work beats talent every day.



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  1. Loved reading your thoughts. To write a book is not just something small its one of the most courages things a person could do that doesn’t have time let alone spend the reading a book. Not many people I know have written book so that makes you stand out a lot.

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