Have you ever received the career advice, “Just follow your passion!”? It can be extremely frustrating to hear. According to one study, only 13% of Americans are truly passionate about their jobs. While the idea is simple, finding your career passion is an ongoing process that can be a lifelong journey for some. If you’re feeling stuck, here are some ways to help integrate what you’re passionate about into your career.
- Start with the right perspective.
Finding your passion is not a simple task. It takes patience, many moments of self-reflection, and action, to find what you are looking for. If you walk into the journey thinking it’s just “too hard” or “that’s never going to happen for me” then you close the door to many possibilities.
- Pay attention to high points.
The best way to identify what you’re passionate about is to pay attention to how you feel throughout the day. There might be a certain day of the week you look forward to, a specific meeting, or time you have set aside for a task. You might notice you’re excited about something unexpected that happened. Pay attention to both the significant and insignificant things you consider the peak of your day.
- Where do you spend your time and money?
As humans, we tend to focus our resources on the things that matter most to us. Do some inventory on where you’re spending your time and money to check for re-occurring themes. What topics of books, films, or podcasts are you consuming? Is there a particular subject that stands out?
- What are your strengths? What do you teach others?
Take some time to think about both your hard and soft skillsets to get an idea of what you’ve been spending time developing a talent for. There might even be something you feel motivated to teach others. Consider all of your interactions and the types of conversations you enjoy most. If there’s something you tend to teach people about, chances are it’s important to you.
- Explore different career paths.
At this point, you probably have identified a few areas of interest so spend some time exploring different job options within those industries. Browsing open job boards and reading different job descriptions is one way to research. Consider taking on a freelance or contract role to test the waters before you’re in a fully committed position. Finding a recruiter that works in your industry of choice is the best way to help navigate this process.
Instead of trying to simply “follow your passion” remember, skills can be learned but your passion is a part of who you are. It may take some time and effort to reveal what you’re truly meant to do, but if career happiness is important to you, the effort will be a valuable investment.