We have all been there, sitting in our cubicle staring into the distance, dreaming of the day when you could leave it all behind and really follow your passion.  Safe inside those four walls it sounds so nice, and just outside your grasp.  But how do you really develop the skills and income needed to leave your job, while still working at your full-time job?  It's hard to stay motivated and pursue your passion when you don't have that much extra energy after work.

Here are 3 ways you can keep nurturing your dreams and help you follow your passion so that when you're ready to leave the full-time job, the path is laid out before you.

1. Keep the Inspiration Alive

Whatever your dream is, make sure it stays alive and real.  Don't let your ideas fester in your head, only to wilt away.  Feed it, give it a life of its own. Connect with your passion in real life, take classes, attend seminars, attend meet-ups with people interested in similar activities.  If you're passionate about becoming a life coach, attend a coaching seminar or workshop in your area.  If you long to become an author, make sure you're on a reading club; whether virtual or not.

Join online communities of like-minded people, so you start building your network of people with similar ideas, dreams and passions as yourself.  Tell your old friends and the new community about your dream.  It helps make it real and gives you invested stakeholders to support you on your way.

2. Connect with Other People Farther Along Your Path

These are people who are already walking the path you intend to. You can learn from them what to expect, and what the potential pitfalls and benefits are.  It's a fine line between connecting with people who are doing what you want to do and idolizing people who are years ahead of you.  It can be damaging to look at highly successful people and try to map your journey to theirs because the distance is daunting.  Especially if you're just starting out, this can cause paralysis and overwhelm.  We want to avoid that and keep you moving towards your dreams in an informed way.

Mentors are an amazing thing.  Build relationships with people that inspire you, and ask them to mentor you.  It's a fast track for learning more about your chosen path, quickly.  Mentors can inspire you, support you, and help you understand the next steps in your journey.

3. Gain Experience

As much as possible, get your feet wet before leaving your job.  This way you will know if you really like it, or just loved the idea of it.   It's totally fine to like an idea more than the reality of something and it's good to know if that's the case before you cut ties (and lose a paycheck).  If you do love it as much as you think you do, it'll only motivate you more to keep following your passion and the time gaining experience will give you a solid boost when it's time to spread your wings and fly on your own.

All of these things can be done after work or on the weekends.  Generally, the more we love something, the more reward we feel doing it, the more motivated we are to invest more time in it. So don't be surprised if these start out as one or two hours a week activities that end up taking most of your time! That's a good thing, it means you're on the right path, following your passion, making your dreams happen.

"If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living. Follow your bliss and don't be afraid, and doors will open where you didn't know they were going to be."

-  Joseph Campbell

Have you found a way to work both on your passion and your full-time job? What helps you to stay focused and not give up on your dreams and passions?  I really want to know what your thoughts are on this. You can share your insights by leaving a comment in the comment section below.