A Toronto Transformation

How to Discover Your Passion

How to find your passion
Last week I received an offer for a new job I am terribly excited about. The opportunity came along at the exact perfect moment for me. While I currently work with lovely people, the job itself was getting stale for me, and I really needed to shake things up a bit and find something that would allow me to keep learning and growing and hopefully to pull my journalistic skills out of my hope chest and beat the mothball smell out of them. Happily, my new position promises to do all of that!

Telling people the news has been really interesting, because along with all of the kind wishes and encouragement, a number of my friends have confided that they’re getting to the point in their various jobs where they too are ready to take some kind of leap in a new or slightly different direction, but a lot of them don’t actually know what direction that should be or how to find work they could get excited about.

As someone who was once all but paralyzed by trying to figure out what on earth to study in College, I understand that kind of uncertainty all too well. So I’ve come up with a list of five things that have been extremely helpful to me in trying to figure out how to incorporate some passion into my work life (without sexually harassing my colleagues). I hope you’ll find them helpful too!

1. Take a closer look at your hobbies and pay attention to the things you google. They might seem insignificant at first, but is there a common thread that might provide a clue as to the kind of work you would find fulfilling? When I saw the posting for my new job, I was shocked at how many of my volunteer commitments and hobbies were listed as job requirements. Suddenly they were part of a portfolio I hadn’t entirely consciously realized I was building.

2. Invite people whose jobs you find interesting out for coffee and pick their brains clean! Not only will you gain a better understanding of the realities of jobs you might be interested in, but you’ll begin building a handy little network of people who, if you are as lovely and personable as I know you all are, might be inclined to give you some helpful advice or even put in a good word for you if a position in their area of expertise becomes available.

3. Don’t quit your day job. While there is something to be said for jumping in with both feet, unless you already know that you are ready to immerse yourself in a new career or educational path and you have a way to make an income while doing that, there is no reason that you can’t explore new interests, and gain new skills to help lead you to more fulfilling work while maintaining a steady income with  your 9-5. Don’t believe me? Ask these 5-9ers! If you can find a way to make your passion make you money, great! But don’t give up on it if that’s not the case. It’s easier to tolerate a less-than-stimulating day job if your 5-9 is full of something you really care about and enjoy doing.

4. Also, don’t be afraid to discover more than one or get too hung up on the idea that there will be one single shining thing that holds your fascination forever. Your relationship with the thing you’re passionate about doesn’t need to be monogamous or eternal. And remembering that will help take off some of the pressure to find one thing you are in love with doing.

5. Try things. Try all the things! Say yes to activities that are a little outside your normal comfort zone. Heck, seek them out! Volunteer for a local charity or political party and try out different roles within them. Take classes in continuing education or attend some workshops. Try working with animals, kids, or seniors, to figure out who you like to interact with the most. There’s only so much you can discover inside your own head, and there’s a whole world waiting outside of it.

What has helped you discover the things you’re passionate about? Are you able to incorporate them into your work? Let me know in the comments!

8 Responses to How to Discover Your Passion

  • That’s a pretty similar progression to how I got my current job! I was ready to leave AmeriCorps and looking for new positions, and I found that everything interesting involved skills that I was cultivating in another volunteer position (and through blogging). I definitely didn’t expect to go into this field but I’m so glad I got here. I think along with “try all the things” I would add “read all the things”–new jobs are being created every day that wouldn’t have been possible a decade ago…your dream job may just be coming into existence!

  • Amber says:

    THANK YOU for writing this. Those 5 tips are actually so helpful and relevant to me right now. A while ago I posted on my blog about how unfortunate it is that so many of us are unhappy with the 9-5 part of our day (http://www.doyouever.net/2013/10/16/do-you-ever-hate-approximately-34-of-your-life/) and I thought that didn’t seem right. But then people started pointing out in the comments exactly what you said in tip #3 – you should do what you’re passionate about, but that doesn’t have to be your day job! I do want my 9-5 to be something I’m passionate about though and I can seriously apply the other 4 tips you gave to making that possible. Loved this post 🙂 And congratulations on the new job!

  • Casey Palmer says:

    THIS.

    I’ve also been extolling on the virtues of the 5-9 for some time now, and the more I work at developing my blog and all the things that have come with the countless hours I’ve invested in this little social media life of mine, the more I’m really discovering what it is I enjoy doing with my time 🙂 I feel far more in control of my life and its associated destiny than I ever have before, and even though the 5-9 is challenging with fatherhood and other things sometimes filling my time up, it drives me.

    The fact that I can do the 5-9 while holding down the day job is definitely a blessing for me, and you’re right — without the 5-9, I probably would’ve quit the 9-5 ages ago. But the mix I have works for me, and I hope that I’ll continue to see growth the more I work at it.

    Thanks for this post 🙂 I really enjoyed it!

  • Cassie says:

    Congratulations on the new gig! That is super exciting, and it’s always inspiring to hear about someone else landing a job they’re excited about. Great tips here, and something I’ll definitely be keeping in mind—especially a year from now when I’m looking for full-time employment. Journalism school has actually opened my mind to a lot of other possibilities that aren’t necessarily all about writing but that DO spark a fire in me.

    • metamorphocity says:

      Thanks Cassie! A journalism background can be such a great launchpad for a lot of different jobs. I was strictly focused on being a reporter for a while, but it’s been great to realize there are so many more careers out there that can use my journo skills!

  • Sam says:

    I found this post so helpful! I’ve been kinda gaining my footing in adulthood for the past couple years so I haven’t been rushing to make huge career plans, especially given that I’m happy where I’m at right now. That being said, I do gain a sense of freedom and peace from doing things that I’m passionate and talented at (which generally has to do with working with and helping others) so this was a pretty timely post. While I’m not ready to rush into any big changes (as I have a slow burning or simmering ambition), this was a great reminder, with awesome practical tips, for me to connect with myself and my passions!

  • eemusings says:

    It’s always been about words for me – writing and editing. I also love all things digital – built my first site at about age 11. Journalism was great for a few years but for practical reasons (and realistically, a little boredom – ready for a new challenge) have changed tack a little bit.

  • ecobrien says:

    Great advice and I’m so glad you know this from personal experience. I recently graduated with a degree in communication and an emphasis on journalism actually. It’s only been a month, but I’m getting nervous looking for not just a job, but the right job. I went to my college’s career center on Monday and the counselor there gave most of the same advice.

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