It’s no secret that people who are truly passionate about their line of work tend to achieve more long term success than those who simply go where they believe their talents lie. They are more motivated to muscle through obstacles and take the risks they need to in order to move to the next level.
I’ve always believed that passion and success — whether in the form of monetary wealth or personal fulfillment — go hand in hand. But what do you do when you simply aren’t in touch with your passions? Or when you aren’t sure how your passions can translate into a viable career choice?
I spent the majority of my college years working towards a degree in early childhood education, sorting through textbooks about child psychology and taking classes about the best methods for teaching various subjects. I thought that I had found my calling.
Then, I started my first internship shadowing a second and third grade teacher. There were aspects of the job I loved — making connections with the kids, helping out with art projects, lending a hand when a student was struggling with a specific concept — but when it came down to it, my passion wasn’t there.
I saw the teachers that were truly passionate about the job come in long before the students did and leave long after the janitors had finished cleaning, and I couldn’t imagine having that kind of dedication. And that wasn’t fair to the students or myself.
So in a moment of clarity, I switched my major to English Writing — a subject I had always been drawn to and had always had a knack for.
Since then, I know I’ve been in the general vicinity of my passion, only taking jobs I believe I can enjoy and trying to keep myself present in everything that I do. But I don’t think I’ve fully arrived at a place where I wake up everyday excited to see what’s next.
I recently had a conversation in which I confidently spouted off all of the jobs I was qualified for and the tasks I could manage for someone. The response was “Yes, but what do you want to do?”
Ironically, I hadn’t thought about that.
Until I answer that key question, I can’t fully live my passion. With that in mind, here are the things I’m implementing into my life in order to find, and eventually live, my passion.
Take note of your hobbies first, your skill set second.
Making all decisions based on my education or skill set automatically pigeon holes me into open positions that other people have created, not necessarily what I’m passionate about.
However, I know that my hobbies are where my true passion lies because that’s how I choose to spend my free time — time that I have the freedom to spend in a variety of ways. So if I seek to find ways to implement my skills into these areas I’ll be closer to finding a career field or job that really speaks to me.
Think of exactly what you want, not just what is available to you in this moment.
If I’m looking at the jobs that I qualify for that are currently on the market, I’m not in the mindset of thinking about possibilities, I’m only thinking about what currently is. This doesn’t exactly foster my passion.
I know that being passionate about what I do is often about creating what works for me, something that can only happen if I sit down and think in detail about my ideal experience — what each day would look like for me, who I would be surrounded by, how much I would earn, etc. That will draw to me things that might not currently exist in my experience.
Find a way to help others live a better life.
I have enjoyed some of the jobs that I have had, but I know that the moments I have felt truly passionate about what I’m doing have involved helping others or creating something for others to enjoy.
Finding my passion means finding a way to impact the world, to think outside myself, to offer my knowledge and skills to someone else. When there is purpose behind what I do, passion is not too far behind.
When I think about my next step, I must answer this question: Is the impact this will have on others great enough to keep me motivated?
Consider what will keep you firmly in the present moment.
If I’m passionate about what I’m doing, I’m not thinking about what is lacking in my current experience or anticipating what the future might hold. I am fully present in the moment, enjoying the journey, not counting down the steps until I get to my destination.
There are certain career fields I could enter into that I might enjoy, but it would always be about what’s next and when I’m going to get “there.” That’s a clear indication that my passion isn’t in these areas.
Are you living a life you’re truly passionate about? If so, how did you get there?
Image by Photostock.