How to Discover 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!