There’s a lot of talk out there about how to find your passion (full disclosure: I’m doing a lot of it!), which is all well and good. But what about the stuff that is getting in the way of YOU finding that very same passion? What if some of what you are doing now is actually preventing you from finding it?
Here are four things NOT to do when trying to find your passion:
#1: Telling yourself you don’t have a passion (or you have too many passions!).
This is a big one. If you tell yourself you don’t have a passion, or if you run around constantly changing focus because you have too many passions, then you never make progress, right? You either find yourself giving up and grumpy, or overwhelmed and paralyzed. And that makes life pretty darn stressful. But I’m here to share some good news with you on this whole topic, so pull up a chair.
Ready? Here it is: There is no right answer to finding your passion. Yes, it’s true. Finding your passion isn’t a test you are going to fail, in fact, you’ll always pass. The reason you’ll pass is because your passion stems from who you are, not what you do. What you do is how your choose to express your passion.
So, given that you are human, and your needs and interests evolve, chances are that what you are interested in now will change five years from now. And that is perfectly natural. Welcome to being human! Honestly, it’s a little bit like vegetables: when you are five, veggies are low on the list. No one wants more broccoli, it’s ice cream all the way. But at age 35? Broccoli actually looks and tastes pretty good, especially when covered in butter. You’ve evolved. Your tastes have evolved, and in the same way, your passion WILL evolve.
So, rest easy and stop with telling yourself that there is nothing or everything out there for you. Pick one thing that keeps you engaged or curious in your life, and fills you with excitement, and follow it till it either leads to something great, or you decide you would rather do something else. Gardening, yoga, leadership, project management, writing a book – it’s all up to you!
#2: Hoping it’ll just happen.
I’ve been notoriously guilty of this in the past, sitting at my desk day-dreaming of the day when I will magically wake up and my life will be figured out. For me, hoping involved a lot of travel, shopping, and watching of bad TV. It did not involve actually making progress, and therein lies the problem: When you just rely on hope, saying to yourself, “It’ll get better eventually,” “Things aren’t that bad now, I’ll just give it more time,” or “One day it’ll work itself out” …Well, you end up getting nowhere fast.
It’s okay to have some optimism about your career and where it is headed. I definitely encourage a positive spin on wherever you are now. But it’s not okay to just hope. You’ve got to take some action if you want opportunity or clarity (or both!) to come your way.
So, take a moment and take a step forward. Where can you stop hoping, and start taking some action? Is it in reading a book about something new? Talking to a new mentor about options for you? Taking a class or vacation that really pushes you out of your comfort zone and gives you some inspiration. What is it? Take a moment and think of one thing that you can explore or do, and then put some time on your calendar to do it.
#3: Making it all about you.
Too many of us feel like we should figure this whole passion thing out on our own. We don’t want to trouble anyone else with our career problems, so we spend time randomly applying to jobs and quietly feeling stuck. The sad truth is that, when we as humans feel lost, we often end up turning inward, when reaching out could solve so many problems.
Your career (and success in life) is built on others. Your network, your friends, your family, random strangers. Malcolm Gladwell makes this point beautifully in the book Outliers, and it’s one to remember. So, no matter how stuck, lost, directionless you are feeling now, a lot can be changed when you get out from behind your computer (and off your couch) and start talking with others. Even if you have no idea where to go next, when you connect with people you get ideas, guidance, wisdom, and information.
All of this will be helpful to taking the next career step, even if you aren’t sure yet what that will be. Also, you never know when one of these people will be responsible for your next job, so don’t hesitate to reach out.
Take a moment to set up a coffee with someone new. If you need ideas, look at LinkedIn for connections get on Twitter and start following some people or organizations. Even if you aren’t sure you want to do that job or work at that company, try and make a connection there so you can learn (and open the door for other new connections!).
One tip though – do your homework before reaching out on the person so you know who you are talking to. If someone doesn’t bother to go to my website before asking, “How I can help them?” and demanding some of my time and expertise, I assume that they aren’t serious and I’m less likely to jump on returning their e-mail.
#4: Asking the wrong questions.
A lot of times, when we want to find our passion we start with the obvious question, “What IS my passion?”
*Whew* That one feels HEAVY, no? And stressful. And very VERY overwhelming.
Instead of trying to eat the whole elephant at once, why not start with a more simple question, one that focuses in on something you can do now. How about this, “What makes me lose track of time right now?” See what road that question takes you down and what you can learn from it.
This process doesn’t have to seem so scary, and you can make progress. I believe that of you. So now, it’s your turn. You can do this!
Want to know the six simple steps to finding your passion? It’s a fun and free workbook you can get right here.
Join us for this FREE webinar on finding your passion. Presenter: Christie Mims, founder of the Revolutionary Club, a coaching service for smart women unwilling to settle for anything less than career happiness and a Forbes Top 100 website for your career.
About The Presenter
Christie Mims is an expert career coach and creator and lead instigator of the Career Happiness Revolution. Want six simple steps to finding your passion? Just sign up for a free action-packed workbook right here. Also, there is fun happening right now on Twitter and Facebook, don’t miss out!
A certified professional coach and recovering consultant with a background working for Fortune 500 companies, Christie has been there, done that, and worn those uncomfortable shoes. She’s dispensed career advice for Forbes, LearnVest, Brazen Careerist, and many more, and can be seen speaking at the University of VA, The Daily Muse, Women for Hire, and a variety of other organizations.
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