By Sunny Simon

     As a career coach, I sometimes hear clients verbalize what they perceive as a pipe dream. You know, it’s that wistful fantasy about converting passion into dollars. Sound familiar? At the end of the day working at a mediocre job you find yourself wishing you could sell your art for profit, crank out mystery novels, or strike out on your own as an entrepreneur and open a dance studio. I can tell you why that’s not happening. You don’t believe it’s possible. You still think it’s just a dream.

     Want to grab the brass ring? Take a deep breath and listen up. If you stop cluttering your mind with multiple reasons why it won’t work , you could have a shot at turning passion into profit. Where to begin? Study the experts.

     Any chance you’re kicking back at Starbucks while reading this article? Whether you are, or not, ponder this reality. Howard Schultz, a kid from the Bayview projects in Brooklyn left his sales job at Xerox to become general manager of Hammarplast, a Swedish manufacturer of drip coffee. During that time, he stumbled across a fledgling coffee-been shop in Seattle called Starbucks. You know the rest of the story. Not a Cinderella fairy tale. The making (and in his case, remaking) of the Starbucks empire took guts, risk, hard work, and a strong belief.

     Just in case you’re having a pity-party over never getting a break, consider the story of a woman named Liz Murray. Now a successful author and motivational speaker, Liz’s journey took her from homeless to Harvard. Murray’s childhood began with two drug-addicted parents, who both contracted HIV. She became homeless at the age of 15 when her mother died of AIDS and her father moved to a shelter. Liz was awarded a New York Times scholarship for needy students and accepted into Harvard University. She is now a sought after speaker appearing at high-profile events alongside such people as the Dalai Lama. Obviously the founder of Manifest Living, a company helping others overcome adversity, and the author of “Breaking Night: A Memoir of Forgiveness, Survival and My Journey from Homeless to Harvard,” carved out her own good breaks through sheer grit and came out on top.

     Ready to reconsider success being beyond your reach? I thought so. If you need more inspiration, read the memoir Murray penned or get a copy Schultz’s wisdom sharing book “Pour Your Heart Into It: How Starbucks Built a Company One Cup at a Time.” These role models started from the bottom rung and you can too! Sunny Simon is the owner of Raise the Bar High Life and Career Coaching. More about Sunny at