Finding Your Career Passion

It’s no secret that the average adult spends more time at work than they do on any other activity. It’s also no secret that a majority of people aren’t happy with their jobs (a whopping 70% of Americans report being disengaged at work!).

There is endless talk about landing your “dream job” and finding your career passion, but many are often so confused about how to do this that they end up giving up and remaining stuck in their humdrum job.

Why many don’t find their passion

The correlation between career success and happiness is often looked at completely wrong and we think that by pushing forward with a job we hate and working hard, we will eventually be happy. We fall into the “…then I’ll be happy” trap.

We think that, if I just make it through this…

…I will make associate professor, and then I will be happy.
…I will get promoted, and make enough money to buy that Lexus, and then I will be happy.
…I will be recognized as a valuable professional, and then I will be happy.

So, how do we remedy this way of thinking of our career as a destination instead of a journey? The key is to find careers where we enjoy what we do from day-to-day and has a worthwhile professional goal to achieve. Said differently, we enjoy the journey AND the destination and often that means finding your career passion and pursuing it.

The great debate about finding your passion

When we are young, it is easy to daydream about what we want to be when we grow up and we think of becoming an astronaut, doctor, fireman or broadway singer – but as the realities of adult life set in, we often abandon those dreams and work towards a ‘practical profession’ that will help us pay the bills. If we revisit those dreams in adulthood, they are often met with criticism from well-meaning (but often misguided) friends, family or colleagues. Of course, they only want to ensure the best for you and may use these dream-crushing “reality checks” to keep you safe from the unknown, but is finding your career passion really the worst idea?

This need to be practical when choosing a career is nothing new. Many of us are groomed from a young age to study for, train in and obtain lucrative careers that are widely accepted in society (doctors, lawyers, accountants) and that you can be ‘proud of.’ Even if you are a fantastic painter, it’s unlikely you were encouraged to pursue an arts degree and turn your talent into a career. It just wouldn’t be practical, right? Wrong!

Of course, not EVERY hobby can necessarily be turned into a career, but that does not mean you can’t “do what you love,” so to speak – to turn your passion into a career you just have to think strategically, do your research, plan accordingly and be realistic. And most importantly, you have to believe in it!

What can stand in the way of finding your passion

We’ve already mentioned that it is often other people (your loved ones) that prevent you from finding your passion, but there are bigger things standing in your way and they are actually within you.

The fear of not fitting the mold and the fear of failure are two common fears that prevent many of us from doing so many amazing things in our lives, including finding our passion and pursuing it. Again, we are told from a young age where we fit in society and are taught to pursue careers that fit in this mold. If you came from a long line of nurses, you are likely expected to follow in the footsteps of your parents, grandparents, aunties and uncles.

The second fear is more common and lives within all of us to a certain extent. The fear of failure isn’t something we are born with either, it’s something that grows within us as our limiting beliefs strengthen. Think about it - Have you ever heard of a toddler that was too afraid to take their first steps for the fear of falling that they never learned to walk? No. Because they aren’t worried about failing. They are focused on achieving a goal and nothing can stop them, especially not fear.

How to use it to your advantage

Fear is something we all experience at times of change and transition and is a completely normal feeling. However, depending on how you choose to react to it will make or break you. Acknowledging what you’re afraid of and learning how to skillfully work with it can help you move into your professional development or education with confidence and authenticity. It’s true. Being afraid can set you up for success.

Instead of letting fear extinguish your dreams, use it as a tool to figure out the steps you need to take to alleviate those feelings of vulnerability and equip yourself with the knowledge, information and support you need to achieve your professional goals. If the idea of returning to school to get more training in your desired field makes you want to crawl into a hole, make a list of questions you need answered and gather more information about the program or talk to current students, instructors or graduates.

A little inspiration

If you have been thinking of finding your passion and pursuing your dream career, but still feel like the fear of failure is preventing you from taking the leap? Perhaps a little inspiration can unhinge those fears once and for all!

There been countless failures throughout the years that have led to success. In fact, there are so many individuals that have overcome all odds and succeeded in fulfilling their dreams that they have even been dubbed the “famous failures.” Did you know that Michael Jordan was cut from his high school varsity basketball team sophomore year? Or that Steve Jobs was fired from Apple? Or that Jack Canfield was ejected 144 times before he found a publisher for his book, Chicken Soup for the Soul? 

What if these legends had simply given up on their dreams? Don’t let a little fear of failure stop you from giving the world your gift?

Still not convinced? We’ve got a ton of success stories from real life people who decided to step our of their comfort zone to find their passion and pursue their dreams.

Check them out:

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