It took me years before I found my passion. I knew I liked to help people and I had worked most of my life in customer service and it seemed to be a good fit, but I disliked having a boss. I found my niche in direct sales and I am able to help people every day and the only person I report to is me and my team of course. They are my passion. They are why I do what I do.
Are you stuck in a job that you dread going to every morning? If you have faint memories of having more good days than bad ones, of finding fulfillment in what you do, then you’ve got to find your passion. Finding the thing that fills your soul takes some work, but anyone can do it.
Don’t Quit Your Day Job
This idiom is usually used when someone is bad at doing something, but it applies to the process of finding your passion as well. Realistically, we all have bills to pay and living expenses. If you have a job that allows you to cover those, you should continue working that job while you lay the groundwork for pursuing your passion. If your job has you working so many hours that finding free time would be about as simple as finding a real, live unicorn, then your first step to finding your passion may be to find a different job. You could also try to reduce your responsibilities at work. This is assuming that you find it impossible to become passionate about your current job.
If you have absolutely no idea what your passion might be, but you know you’re just not happy with the way things are going, fear not. Take some creative methods to find the thing that speaks to your heart, then you know where to focus your energy.
- Ask others, especially people who knew you when you were young. Your parents, long time friends, or siblings may all remember something you were really good at or that you truly loved doing. They have a unique perspective to offer. Just ask.
- Consider your fears. Make a list of all the things you’re afraid of doing or of failing in doing. Some of the things we want the most for ourselves are the most terrifying.
- Listen. Have people been telling you all your life that you’re really good at [something] or that you should definitely become a [whatever]? If you’ve always been uncomfortable accepting a compliment on something you excel at, it’s possible you already know what your passion is and you just haven’t been listening.
- Who do you admire? Comparing the careers and characteristics of people you know and admire can be the key to finding your passion.
- Utilize social media, but not the way you’re thinking. Are you someone who reacts very strongly to certain subjects that your friends post about on social media? If there is one certain topic you encounter in social media posts that brings up a strong response in you, it warrants more investigation.
Follow Your Passion
Millennials, in particular, are chasing careers that make an impact and give meaning to work. You may hear people say that following your passion is ridiculous advice and no one should do it, but they really mean sometimes people are passionate about things that don’t earn them lots of money and you shouldn’t do that. Whether you can make a good living doing what you love depends less on you and more on whether anyone will give you money to do that thing.
Author Cal Newport talks about the “passion trap.” It refers to feeling increasingly unhappy in your current position because you are focused on searching for something better. It could be why the youngest workers are the least happy in their jobs. By far the best way to follow your passion is to focus your energy on honing your skills, learning more, and practicing. You must be present to feel your passion for whatever you do.