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Don’t be afraid to fail!

“Choose a job you love, and you’ll never have to work a day in your life.” 

It’s an old saying, one that seems straightforward enough. What it means is that if you find a career that you’re passionate about, “going to work” each day won’t feel like the same way it used to. It might actually be fun!

Today, there are many opportunities to pursue your passions and live a fulfilling life without clocking into a traditional nine-to-give corporate job. More and more, people are exploring ways to make money in their free time, spending time engaging in activities they’re good at. 

This includes everything from selling creative wares Etsy to flipping furniture to starting coaching businesses to help others find work they love. This article will explore what finding your passion means today, why it’s important, and how to identify the right passion to pursue. 

What is finding your passion? 

What does passion mean? Dictionary.com defines it as “a strong or extravagant fondness, enthusiasm, or desire for anything.” But when thinking about passion, it’s also important to define what passion is not. 

For example, passion doesn’t necessarily equate to something you’re good at. You may be incredibly organized, someone that your co-workers look at as the gold standard for keeping everything on track and in line. But does organizing data excite you? Can you say that you feel a desire and enthusiasm for organization? 

passion
(Sam Diephuis / Getty)

If keeping things organized is something that genuinely does make you feel excited, you may have found your passion. But passion doesn’t have to mean something that you have experience doing or are adept at.

If you love creating something new, whether that’s in the kitchen or through a craft, but have never leveraged these skills professionally, don’t write the passion you feel when doing these activities off so quickly. You may be on to something. 

Why is finding your passion important?

Unless you’ve been working at a job where you put your passion to use each and every day, it’s likely that at some point in your career, you’ll start waking up dreading each workday. Frankly, in some cases that dread may even begin while you’re reading job descriptions before you’ve even applied to the job!

The fact is, if this is something you struggle with more than you’d like, you should know that eventually, the lack of excitement and motivation inevitably will impact other parts of your life as well.

Maybe you start feeling down or depressed, or that you have less energy each day. Boredom is another key sign you’re working at a job where your real world passions are not being put to use. 

What does it feel like to find your passion?

When you’re pursuing your passion, you may lose track of time. You won’t have that awful experience of feeling stuck. Instead, at any given moment, you’ll feel more awake and alive than usual. 

passion definition
(Jason Homa / Getty)

Stimulating your brain with work that you’re excited to be doing will impact your overall mood and mental well-being for the better. You’ll feel happier and happy around others. You’ll feel energized. Others will notice this as well. 

Think of the people in your life you’ve encountered who you’ve felt excited to be around. Chances are they’ve been able to harness their passion within a specific subject or industry, and that energy radiates off of them. 

Questions to ask to help discover your passion

If you’re not sure how to find your passion, here are a few essential questions to ask yourself to help guide you toward it. 

1. What could I spend hours reading about?

What topic or area of interest could you read about at length? Or, if you’re not a big reader, what would you watch a lengthy documentary on? Or listen to a podcast about? Have you discovered a topic recently where you spent hours Googling to learn more? 

Curiosity is a crucial component of passion. Think about your younger self. Everything felt new and exciting, and you were free to explore and do the things that felt fun and interesting to you. Passions as an adult should feel the same way – something you’d willingly spend hours learning about and doing. 

2. What type of work excites you?

It’s easy to identify what parts of your current job you despise doing. But where’s your true comfort zone? If you’re looking for a starting point on where to find your passion, looking for the bright moments of excitement that you’ve felt at work can be a helpful place to start. 

If you don’t feel any enthusiasm whatsoever in your current role, take a moment to visualize a job or career that feels exciting to you. Push yourself to imagine what an exciting day at work would look like. What kind of office are you in? Or, are you working from home? What do the messages in your inbox look like? What’s currently pulled up on your browser? Look for signs of emotional investment, and you’ll be on the right path to finding your passion.

3. What do you already love doing?

Maybe there’s a hobby or activity that you already enjoy, but you never considered it as something you could leverage into a full-time job or career. For example, maybe you’ve been a fan of comic books since you were a child. 

Even if you don’t have the artistic chops to draw your own comic strip, that doesn’t mean that comic books can’t be a part of your career. Opening up a comic book store, whether it has a physical location or solely online, or running a website for fans where you earn income through advertising are both examples of how to take what you already enjoy and turn it into a job. 

4. What makes me happy?

Maybe thinking about your passion feels too overwhelming to do all at once — or you need more time to marinade on the answer to what excites you. If that’s the case, try spending a week being mindful of the things that make you feel excited. Using clues from your day to day life can be a powerful tool in identifying exactly what passions you should pursue. 

For example, maybe you felt overjoyed when spending a few hours working in your garden. What is it about the experience that was most appealing to you? Was it seeing the progress that’s been made since you first planted the seeds? Was it the problem-solving that helped your plants grow bigger and stronger when they initially struggled to thrive? These aspects are great context clues for your passion and can help lead you to work that makes you feel satisfied. 

5. What kind of work do I commit to? 

What kind of job would you show up for day after day, even when parts of it are hard to do? Finding work you’re passionate about isn’t just something that makes you feel highly emotive or excited – it’s also work that makes you feel committed, work that you feel so strongly about that devoting yourself to it feels worthwhile. 

Steps to take: Finding your passion 

If these questions still haven’t led you to a clearer path forward, consider these steps to gain more clarity and start building a game plan for how you’ll turn your passion into your day job.

1. Ask around

If you were pursuing a new job, you’d likely rely on peers in the same field to help guide you. When trying to find your passion, asking others who seem happy and excited by their work can be a powerful tool to utilize. 

what is passion
(Tim Robberts / Getty)

Set aside some time to meet with people in your life who seem passionate about their careers and ask them to take you through how they ended up in that career. The more people you speak to and the more career paths you consider, the more possibilities for finding your passion will open for you.

2. Try your passion out

Jumping into a new career or line of work can feel intimidating. So, if you think you may have found your passion, taking that next step toward switching careers might feel too risky to make. If that’s the case, start to explore opportunities where you can test out this new passion without walking away from your current job entirely. 

Explore the option of doing this work as a side hustle or hobby or see if someone may take you on part-time as an apprentice. Don’t just test it out for a few days, either. Give it a solid month or so and see if the work still excites you.

3. Let your passion evolve

Our interests change as we learn and grow. What excited you several months ago may not be as attractive to you now as a new passion that’s started to evolve. It’s okay to explore multiple passions at once or even to walk away from a passion you thought you had but is no longer serving you. 

Take time to allow your passions to grow and evolve – and if one or more of them end up fizzling out, pursue other passions instead. 

4. Don’t quit without a backup plan

If the work you’re currently doing lacks any passion whatsoever, it can feel tempting to quit without having another job or game plan lined up. However, it’s essential to do your research and build up some savings if you’re serious about pursuing new work you’re passionate about. 

It’s highly possible that your new career passion may mean taking a smaller salary to start out or that it will require some overhead to put up front before your new business starts making money. Build a financial plan for your new passion so that you’re leaving your job at a time that’ll set you up for the most success.

5. Hone your skills

Once you have a direction on what passion you’ll pursue, you’ll need to identify the necessary skill set to make this career a lucrative one — and one that you’re qualified to do. Practice the skills that are necessary for the new career and field you’re after. Take time to research the skills required for the job and find opportunities to learn through online courses or certification programs. 

6. Research your field

Putting your passion into action means knowing your industry inside and out. Read up on what you’re planning to pursue. Follow thought leaders in the space on social media and learn from what they’ve done. Find other professionals who are living the job you dream about and see if they’ll allow you to ask them a few questions on their current position and how they were able to make it a reality. 

Signs you’ve found your passion

So, you think you’ve found your passion. But how do you know for sure? Here are a few signs that you’re moving in the right direction.

  1. Time flies when you’re working on it. If you’ve started to practice your passion, research it online or read about it, you find that suddenly hours have gone by when they feel like mere minutes. If reading, researching and engaging in the passion you’ve identified makes time feel irrelevant, this is a solid sign you’ve found the right passion to pursue.
  1. Hard work doesn’t seem that hard. If the most challenging part of your new passion seems easy to move through and achieve, this is a sign you’re on the right track. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re not exhausted after you’ve finished working on it. Pay attention to how you feel when you’ve called it a day. Do you feel accomplished? Satisfied? Fulfilled? All of these feelings point to signs that you’ve found your passion.
  1. You look forward to it. Working on this new passion is not something that you dread or even have to force yourself to begin. You actually look forward to working on this passion, so much so that you feel excited to get started. 
  1. If there were no risks involved, you’d be doing it full-time. There are many barriers to pursuing passionate work, from financial risk to honing new skills. But what if all that was eliminated, and you could start earning a successful living from this new career passion tomorrow? If you’d say yes to this new option in a scenario where no risk exists, this shows that you’ve identified a true passion. 

Don’t be afraid to fail

The number one rule for finding your passion, above all else, is never ever to give up. Everyone deserves the opportunity to wake up each morning feeling excited about the work that they do. 

how to find my passion
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It’s possible that finding your passion may take some trial and error. Maybe you were sure of a new career path, only to find that several months in, it’s not exciting you the way it once did. Don’t feel like you have to stay in that new role just because you spent time and effort getting there. If it doesn’t make you feel excited and fulfilled, keep exploring new opportunities until you find the right fit. 

If you’re having trouble staying motivated to find your passion, spend more time with the things that excite you. There’s a reason there are so many quotes on passion out there – it’s something every human being craves, and it’s absolutely worthwhile to continue pursuing.

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