How many times have you been told to “follow your passion”? And how many of those times have you rolled your eyes at the question? It’s a simple enough concept and great advice for those who have always known what their passions and talents are. For the rest of us, however, it takes a little more work to figure out what the heck this ‘passion’ business is all about.
Why is it so important?
It may seem obvious, but spending 40+ hours a week at work is a lot of time. It’s enough time to completely shape your emotions and wellbeing, lifestyle and relationships to name a few. When you’re having a hard time at work, it can take time to realise the extent of its effects. You may start slowly increasing alcohol consumption, getting upset over little things (or just being generally irritable), becoming exhausted more easily, or spending less time on the things you love – all symptoms that are hard to notice as they creep up on you, but after time make a huge difference to your quality of life. As we know, finding meaning in work is the most effective way to turn those negative life impacts into positive ones – and linking your work with your passion is a foolproof way to discover and apply that meaning.
Ok great, but I have NO idea what my passion is
There are several ways to gain a clearer understanding of what your passion might be, even if you’re not sure at the moment – and inspiration can come from many sources. Without a doubt, the best way to start is to simply begin exploring. Consider the topics that comprise most of the books you read or the media you consume. What interests you the most, or what can you talk about for countless hours-on-end without getting bored? A common obstacle here is “yeah, but I can’t make a career out of it?!!” Doing some exploration and research may yield out-of-the-box options that you didn’t think of before or don’t necessarily follow an obvious path.
Additionally, an impractical passion can become very practical when combined with something you’re good at or experienced in. Somebody who has a passion for cooking may not be suited to a career in a commercial kitchen, but their marketing degree could help them open a successful online store selling cookware accessories.
Your current work can also give you clues, even if you’re not finding meaning or fulfillment there. Consider the individual aspects of your role in which you shine – planning and organising, leading, generating creative ideas. How can you run with your core skills or your favourite part of your job and apply it elsewhere?
Don’t be afraid to take a stab in the dark and try something you’ve never thought of doing before– and approach new endeavours with 100% enthusiasm. Some of you will need to undertake careful planning (particularly with your finances) to ensure you can pursue your passion and take the leap, but its definitely worth it.
Listen to Nicola’s story on how she gave herself permission to explore her career options before discovering her passion, and on the flip-side, Jodi’s story, where she knew what her passion was and how she took the plunge to follow it in order to be happy and find meaning at work.
Author: Rise Team