Several years ago, I was in the audience of the motivational speaker, Hilary Wilson, where she challenged us to ask ourselves regarding work, "What am I doing when I feel most alive?" At the time I was considering the direction of my career, and to me, this question was all about passion.
When it comes to deciding about whether to change career, we are often led by a desire to find something we are passionate about or we tell ourselves we must follow our passions and then we will be happy. The premise of this being that passion is something external which exerts a strong positive emotion in us. But the one thing about passion is that it is internal, triggered by an external factor; therefore, it is not something to be found. It is like a flame, that perpetually burns within us and when we are doing something we enjoy, it is like adding fuel to the fire and it burns with intensity and energy.
In using passion to help direct your future career, you must understand yourself and what you are looking for in a role, as well as identifying what you don't want. You might not know exactly what you love, but you certainly know what you hate, use this to help direct where your attention goes. If you want to explore this further, you can download the Career Clarity worksheet below to help you gain a greater understanding.
This might come as a surprise to you but, it is very rare for someone to have clarity regarding one thing that they are passionate about. Many of us don't. And this is ok because what it means is that rather than just having one passion, we have a few across the different areas of our lives. Often we sit wracking our brains trying to find this so called passion and, when we think we know what it is, and have a vision of a dream career, the reality is that is all it is, a dream and because you have not tried anything out, the realities are often far different from what you expect it to be. You only see all the positives, the best bits of a role, you probably don't know about all the nitty gritty bits of a job. I remember my very first job, as a laboratory assistant, I enjoyed the science part, the hands-on experiments but it had never entered my head that part of my day would be making cups of tea for everyone! I certainly didn’t have a passion for tea. For this reason, it is worth digging deeper and trying things out before making a permanent switch, trying to find out every aspect of the role. This might not be always be possible but there may be ways to find out as much as you can about a future career if you do your research.
For some people turning a hobby into a full-time career is an option and you too might have a hobby which you are passionate about. However, this does not automatically mean if you turned this hobby into a career, it would mean you have found your dream job. What might bring you joy as a hobby, might not necessarily be as enjoyable as a career. With a hobby, there are not the same pressures and expectations as there are when you are trying to earn your main income. You could always test it out by turning your hobby into a side hustle, maintaining your current role whilst also developing your hobby into a potential income generator and seeing if this is the right thing for you. You might find out that even though it can make money, and you thought it was one of your passions, it doesn't necessarily mean this is the path for you to follow.
Take things one step at a time, learn more, acquire more knowledge and experience it. Be prepared to invest the time, energy and money in to trying to turn up the flame. Figure out what you are passionate about because you spend a lot of your time in a work environment, life is too short not to be doing something you love, and which energises you. Don’t go looking for your passion, you already have it, you just need to feed it the right kind of fuel.