Work is work, right? We have been led to believe that work is difficult and there is no room for passion in our careers. You work hard all your life until you can finally retire in your mid to late ’60s. But what if that’s not entirely accurate? One can make money while doing something you love, so many people have done it before you. Despite what you may have previously thought, it doesn’t have to be a choice of one or the other. The starving artist versus the successful accountant. Now is the perfect time to go after your dreams. With the new year just starting, you can make 2021 your best year yet by landing a new job or even a whole career that you are passionate about.
So many people are given the wrong information when it comes to picking a career path. They think that they have to go into what “makes enough money” or “looks good” on a resume, but do you want to spend your life in a job you hate or are merely making it through? I didn’t think so.
Spoiler alert: it’s easier than you think!
How to Identify Your Passion
Open Yourself up to the Right Emotions and Thoughts
You can’t get anywhere if you’re stuck with the assumption that you’ll never get there. You need to take a moment to realign your mindset so that you are thinking about yourself and your life in a way that is full of positives instead of negatives. This can take some time and practice, but it’s crucial to opening that door to a successful future.
Try it out in small ways. For instance, take a moment at the end of each day and be grateful for something. Or find a happy moment or a happy thought. This will get you used to it. When you’re ready, you can then start making a list of all things that make you feel happy and fulfilled in your life. It could be something as specific as “smelling fresh air” or something as broad as “making someone else’s life better.” Don’t censor yourself; just write it all down and see what you’ve got. There is no such thing as right or wrong since it’s all about you!
You can also find inspiration from learning about people who are living their passion or people in history who have before your time. Read biographies on people like Oprah, Steve Jobs, and Stephen King. One of my favorites is #Girlboss from the creator of fashion designer, NastyGal. She takes you through her many failures and firings on her journey to success. It gives you the feeling that anyone can succeed with the right drive.
Think Back to Your Favorite Moments
Now that you are working on your mindset, you’ll want to take your mind back to your favorite memories over the years. They could be recent ones or old ones, your pick. With every moment you identify, write a bit about the best parts of it. Maybe it was getting an opportunity to share your love of music with someone. Perhaps it was helping someone see the light in a learning experience.
Our favorite moments are our favorites because we did something that we enjoyed and loved. When you take some time to pull it all together and write it down, it’s pretty neat to see how it all forms a cohesive image, even if we don’t realize it at first. That’s why this stage is so crucial to developing a clear vision. This leads us to our next point.
Identify a Common Thread From Your Experiences
When you’ve written everything down that you can think of from your favorite memories and experiences — no matter how big or small — you now get the fun and exciting task of pulling it all together with a common thread. For instance, if your favorite experiences were taking a hike with your brother and working at a campsite for a summer with your bestie, perhaps having a career where you get to work outside or at a park would be a good fit.
Sometimes the connection may be a little harder. Don’t think too literally about the common theme. It could be about the common theme of teaching or guiding someone. Or perhaps it’s something like working with your hands or getting in touch with your artistic side. Just let the common threads come to you naturally and don’t force it.
Think Differently About Your Hobbies
Another way you can find your passion in the terms of a job is to start with your hobbies. While some hobbies can’t literally become jobs, you can incorporate elements of them into your career. For example, someone who loves to dance could consider working at a dance studio or working with young dancers who need a little more support outside of classes. You could even consider opening your own studio if being an entrepreneur has always been a desire.
Since we all love our hobbies, they are perfect spots to start when it comes to finding something we love to do. While it may not be a literal transformation, working in a general way connected to your hobbies is always a great starting point.
If you are getting stuck, think back to the things you used to love to do as a kid. What could you spend all day doing? Brainstorm everything you can think of to start pulling together elements that can turn into a passion.
What to Do After You Identify Your Passion
Surround Yourself With Other Brave Souls
It’s going to be much more difficult to go after your daring dreams if those around you are negative or unsupportive. Surround yourself deliberately with other brave people — even if their type of courage is different than yours.
You’ll all continue to motivate each other, and it really can help you keep a positive outlook even if you hit a few setbacks along the way. Look for local groups to join or online communities to contribute to.
Keep Learning as You Go
This is a crucial step. Just because you’re doing what you love doesn’t mean it’s going to come to you naturally. You will likely have a steep learning curve, and you may even need to go back to school.
Whether you need to go back to school or participate in a certificate program, it’s important to realize you will likely enjoy these courses more than previous degree programs. Now that you are focused on doing something you love, the content will be much more interesting. In addition, you will be working towards something that will bring more purpose to your life.
Never Stop Dreaming
This is perhaps the most essential tip to keep in mind. No matter how careful you are, you will make mistakes. There will be setbacks, and you’ll have well-intentioned people telling you to quit and go back to how it was before. Ignore them. Going after something you are passionate about will always be more worthwhile and fulfilling than just chugging along in a rut like you were in 2020. The naysayers are voicing their own insecurities and fear on your behalf. You moving out of your comfort zone makes them start to think about what they could be doing differently. Inspire them to follow in your footsteps.
Even if it takes five years instead of two to get to where you want to go, it’ll always be more than worth it. Keep on dreaming, no matter how many doors get slammed in your face (figuratively, we hope), and always keep your eyes on the prize so that you can look back once you’ve made it and see that all of that time and effort was worth it.
One Quick Final Tip
Just because you’ve found your passion and it’s led you to a new job, or potentially a career path doesn’t mean it’s not going to take work and effort. It’s just that the enjoyment of following your passion is going to be stronger than everything else. Even on those tough days where the world feels like it’s against you, or someone you love has put down your dream (again), the passion for your new career will always win out and keep you going.
Do you want that kind of freedom? Are you ready to make the most out of 2021 with a fulfilling dream job that you can’t wait to get up and go to every single morning? These tips will help you figure out what you want to do and hopefully how to go about doing it so that this becomes the year of positive change for the short- and long-term life goals that you have in place. We would love to hear how you are taking the next steps towards finding a common ground between what you love and what makes you money. Let us know in the comments!