Whether you just graduated college or you’re making a mid-life career change, it can be hard to pinpoint what you’re truly passionate about doing. It can be overwhelming, even exhausting, to think about choosing one thing and doing it for the rest of your life. Related: 4 Ways To Take Ownership Of Your Career And while you may take several different paths in your career, there will always be something you’re absolutely obsessed with doing. I’m here to help you figure out what that “thing” is!
Who do you want to be? Not what, but who? Related: 5 Steps To Finding Your Work Passion From the moment we entered grade school, we’ve been trained to think of ourselves as a ‘what.’ In Kindergarten, our teachers asked us, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We’d respond with, “A firefighter, a policeman, a princess.” Society got it wrong. Instead of training people to think about ‘what’ they want to be, we should have been teaching people to figure out ‘who’ they want to be. There’s a stark contrast between a ‘what’ and a ‘who.’ A ‘what’ is characterized by a title which never changes. A ‘who’ is an archetype, a symbol, something elemental. A ‘who’ leaves behind a legacy, charts new paths and braves new territories. When you figure out who you want to be, you unlock your potential and your purpose for life, and you discover your passion. Discovering your passion is necessary, because the world has rapidly evolved. The world we live in today no longer rewards mediocrity. Back in the day it was acceptable to go to work, do your job and leave. Not anymore. These days, employers expect more. The world we live in today rewards those with personality, pizzazz, and passion. As a result of this culture shift, it has now become absolutely necessary to discover your passion, because the days of sitting in your cubicle and pretending to enjoy your job will no longer fly. You will be discovered for the fraud that you are and removed from your position. So, instead of waiting for the clock to run out of time, you might as well discover your passion and pursue it relentlessly. Here is how you discover your passion: Dig deep and focus on your aptitude. What have you always been naturally-gifted at? What is it that has always come easy for you? Before you jump to the assertion that not everybody is gifted with passion, talent, or skills, take a step back and just focus. There’s more things which define talent beyond being a gifted athlete, musician, actor, or entrepreneur. That’s all you see in the media, but that’s not representative of reality. Your talent could simply be making people laugh. If that’s the case, showcase your talent on Vine or YouTube. Thousands of people are earning six-figures/year doing this. Maybe your talent is playing video games. There are also thousands of people making a living doing this as well. Maybe your talent is writing. Why not self-publish a book or start a blog? Maybe you don’t really have a skill but you just like to make people smile? You could create a viral video walking around town making people smile. Then you could expand upon your brand by developing a blog and a book which emphasizes the health benefits of smiling. Then you could create branded products. Maybe stuffed animals or characters with big goofy smiles. The sky is the limit! No matter what your passion or talent is, there’s a way to make it worth your while to pursue. The key to success is to establish yourself as an expert in whatever it is you’re passionate about. If you love making people smile. Become the ‘smile expert.’ If you love enjoy collecting vintage toys, become the ‘vintage toy collector expert.’ The important thing to understand about passion, its purpose and why it is necessary is because passion is your only escape mechanism from a job or a career you’re currently in that you do not enjoy. It’s your only ‘Get Out of Jail Free Card.’ It’s your only opportunity and your only chance to change your life. One thing that should not be mistaken or overstated is the financial reward that comes along with pursuing your passion. You could spend every spare moment you have for weeks, months or years and never earn a dime. However, if pursuing your passion adds positivity, enjoyment, and a sense of purpose in your life, the time spent is well worth it. Not to be understated, it’s also worth mentioning that earning a living pursuing your passion is now more possible than ever before. Thanks to the Internet and social media platforms, anybody can turn any hobby or interest into a profitable enterprise. It just takes hard work, time, and a product/content that provides value to other people’s lives. This post was originally published at an earlier date.
If you don’t know what you have to offer, the recruiter won’t either.Second, if you really know yourself, it’s easier to make the right career choices. About 35% of all graduates leave their first job within a year. And that’s simply because they have made career choices that didn’t suit their personality. For most people, passion is something that develops over time as they progress in your career. Choosing what you like (‘good enough’) and what suits you, is often a less stressful and more effective strategy. Exploring these three core questions will help you to expand your self-knowledge and make well-founded career choices:
1. What kind of person are you? Your opinions, norms and values.If you’d be asked this question, what would you answer? Are you helpful, a perfectionist, relationship focused, oppositional? A test that can help you to answer this question is The Personal Profile Test, which measures six dimensions:
- Likes company OR Likes to be alone
- Likes routine OR Is flexible
- Relaxed OR Tense
- Shy OR Confident
- Follower OR Leader
- Organized OR Disorganized
2. What are you good at? Your knowledge and skills.The importance of knowing your strengths is obvious. Knowing your points of improvement is just as important, since recruiters look for self-reflection skills as an indicator of future growth. To gain better insight on your strengths and weaknesses, you can use the core quadrant of Daniel Ofman. This tool helps you to find out what your strengths, challenges, pitfalls, and allergies are. Second, you can examine your past achievements. Describe at least three achievements you are proud of at your study, work, internship, hobby, club, and so on. For each achievement, write down what makes you proud and what qualities you used to make this achievement happen. The qualities you uncover by doing this exercise together summarize what it is you excel in. You can talk about these achievements at a job interview when proving you possess certain skills.
3. What do you want? Your motives and driving forces.Just because you're good at something doesn’t mean you should go do it. You should find it pleasurable. Examine what exactly you’re looking for in your career. You might come up with an abstract answer when describing your passion. Instead, let’s try to compose a detailed, targeted job description. First, you can think about your career anchors. These are quite stable over time and represent your true self. Which one characterizes you?
- GROWTH: Advancing in a hierarchical and/or status sensitive organization.
- SECURITY: Long and permanent employment, recognition, and appreciation by the employer.
- FREEDOM: Emphasis is more on acquiring personal autonomy, freedom, and responsibility to achieve results and less on security and fixed rules.
- BALANCE: Seek an optimal balance between work, private life, and self-development. Work is just one dimension of overall life fulfillment.
- CHALLENGE: The need for excitement and challenge and a strong commitment to your job. Trying to come close to action, adventure, and creativity and having a hard time leaving work.