You have likely heard the advice, “Find what you are passionate about and do it for a living.” This is excellent advice. I have recently rekindled my passion for writing and found a way to do it for a living. I am more fulfilled than I have felt in a long time.
The only problem with this advice is that it makes people think that they need to narrow their passions down to a marketable skill and focus on just that.
In order to truly live a life that leaves you fulfilled and happy, don’t ignore your other passions simply because you can not monetize them. Follow your passions and engage in those activities, even if you aren’t very good at them.
“If you feel like there’s something out there that you’re supposed to be doing if you have a passion for it, then stop wishing and just do it.” — Wanda Sykes
Defining your passions when it comes to your career
I knew I wanted to be a writer since I was 15. I took a long way around and ended up getting a Master’s in Management and Leadership before figuring out that was the wrong life path.
What I liked about managing and leading a staff of people was that I had to find ways to keep people motivated and inspired. I am passionate about helping people, but I can do it through writing and not being involved in the business world. One of my passions led to a career in a completely different field.
When you are truly passionate about something, you feel compelled to accomplish your goals. There is this internal drive that becomes hard to ignore. Failing is not an option, and you will do any amount of work to ensure your success.
“When you have a passion for something, then you tend not only to be better at it, but you work harder at it too.” — Vera Wang
I felt shoe-horned into the leadership field because I was good at motivating people and thought this was the only way to do it. Thinking outside the box opened up a wealth of other opportunities and allowed me to do what I love as a career choice.
“If you don’t love what you do, you won’t do it with much conviction or passion.” — Mia Hamm
How do you discover your passion if you don’t know what it is?
Discovering your passions is not as hard as it would seem and involves just a little introspection. Leo Babauta offers some excellent advice on how to discover your passion:
- Ask yourself if there is something you already love doing?
- What do you spend hours reading or learning about?
- Ask around and look for possibilities.
- Quit your job when the time is right. Explore your passion further.
- Try it out and do some research
- Practice and improve your skill
All of this advice will help you make the transition from hobby to professional as easy as possible. If you go through all those questions and feel you know you are doing what you are passionate about, but aren’t feeling fulfilled, then maybe you just aren’t doing it for the right place. It is important to work for a company that feeds your passion, instead of draining it.
James Clear offers some other reasons why you may not have found your passion yet. Maybe you are focusing on it so much that you are limiting the things you experience. You are so caught up in the thought process.
He says that we discover the feeling of passion after having an experience, so when we search for feelings we can feel lost. You might also be so caught up in your goals that you are missing the opportunities that present themselves.
I was in the middle of finishing my Master’s degree when I randomly stumbled across a writing group. On a whim, I joined their meetings.
I was busy working at my professional job and going to school that I almost quit attending because I didn’t ‘have time.’ I’m glad that I stayed and experienced the joy I got when I write.
“Follow your own passion—not your parents’, not your teachers’—yours.” — Robert Ballard
Not every passion is meant to be your career path
I love painting and anything that is crafty. The problem is, though; I am not good at painting in the technical sense. Or really any sense.
I have seen children who paint better than I do, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to go to the Sip and Paint or Coffee and Paint place. I do this because it is fun, and I enjoy feeling creative in a way that has nothing to do with money.
Those things we love but aren’t talented at are a part of who we are. We shouldn’t ignore them because we aren’t a professional. Or because we tell ourselves that we aren’t good enough. Does that really matter? I love putting paint on my palette and watching a picture unfold on canvas.
When you can turn one of your passions into a career and be successful at it, then you free up more time to focus on some of your other loves. By freeing yourself up to experience all the things you are passionate about, you ensure that you are living a well-rounded life. We can spend some time growing our professional selves and nurturing the other aspects of our personality.
“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” — Oprah Winfrey
Are you chasing your passions or living the dream?
If you are still searching for the passion that will lead you to your dream career, don’t get caught up in the process that you forget to experience things. Your passion might surprise you and come along when you stop searching.
If you already know that you are working in a field you are passionate about, don’t ignore the other things you like to do. Life is about balance, and that is the reason you shouldn’t only focus on passions that grow your professional life.
We can not only be about who we are in a professional sense. Just like you wouldn’t only do what your day job is, you need to invest time in the other things you like to do.
You also never know when a passion that you are doing ‘on the side’ might open up doors you never saw possible. Life is short and we should spend it doing all the things we love.