Guitar Study 2 © by Frank Merenda (2008)

During tough economic times, many people think they need to sacrifice their passion to focus on earning money. From a spiritual perspective, this is the exact opposite approach to generating real abundance. Though paying your bills takes practical action, it also requires an internal belief system, powered by inspiration and passion. Without an emphasis on passion, it’s likely that no matter how many actions you take, you’ll still wind up feeling stuck.

Neglecting passion blocks creative flow: when you’re passionate, you’re energized; when you lack passion, your energy is low and unproductive. Equally, energy is everything when it comes to earning. Your thoughts, attention, and focus affect your energy and, therefore, everything around you—including your bank account. So when you’re thinking only about the mundane to-do lists and practical action steps, you’re lowering your energy and, in effect, lowering your earning power.

But when you focus on following your passion and letting your inspiration flow, your energy gets a boost and your earning capacity is strong. Here are three simple and effective ways you can bring more passion into your life—even if you’re already incredibly busy:

Find passion outside the office.

Our culture places such a huge emphasis on our careers that we lose track of our passion projects. But who said your job had to be your only source of passion? A dear friend of mine is a powerful example of balancing passion and career: he works in corporate America, but moonlights as a guitar player. Though he spends his weekdays at a desk, he spends his weekends indulging in passion projects such as gigging with his band, writing, drawing and learning about art. Though he dedicates most of his time to his career, there is no lack of passion in his life.

Find passion in service.

When we’re of service to the world, we feel inspired and passionate about the work that we do. Rethink your business as one that is service-related; seeing how it serves the world at large may make you more passionate about it. If that’s not the case with your job, try volunteering for a local charity once a month or find a way to give back to your community. Promote greater causes and awaken a service mentality. When you serve the world, you serve your soul.

Find passion in your perception of making money.

If you’re hung up about the fact that your primary source of revenue doesn’t come from your true passion, shift your perspective. Be grateful for the work that you have and focus on the good things; find even the smallest part of your work that ignites your passion. Maybe you love interacting with clients or the neighborhood where you work. Maybe you’re learning something new by being on that job. Focus on what you do have and you’ll create more of what you want.

Take these action steps seriously. We all have work to do to support ourselves and this economy, and if we’re void of passion, we won’t have the energy and inspiration to serve. The more passion we ignite in our lives, the higher our earning capacity will be and the more we’ll impact financial growth in our country. When we all raise our thoughts, we’ll raise our bank accounts—and greatly serve the world.

Featured in the New York Times Sunday Styles section as “a new role model,” motivational speaker, life coach, and author Gabrielle Bernstein is making her mark. Expanding the lexicon for the next generation of spiritual seekers, Gabrielle is the #1 bestselling author of the book, Add More ~ing to Your Life, A hip Guide to Happiness. In September 2011 Gabrielle launched her second book, Spirit Junkie, A Radical Road to Self-Love and Miracles. In 2008 she launched her social networking site for young women to find mentors.

The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world’s most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC leads #FixYoungAmerica, a solutions-based movement that aims to end youth unemployment and put young Americans back to work.