What’s the first word that comes to mind when you think of a career? Probably not “passion”. For most people being passionate about their career is a dream, at least according to a 2005 Harris Interactive Study which found that only 20% of people were passionate about what they were doing.
If you are currently at a crossroads in your life and in a rut, not knowing how to climb out, perhaps it’s time you started discovering what you’re passionate about. The journey will bring clarity and focus. It will help you find possibilities and directions. Following your passions is about work becoming a joyful experience, about days becoming more meaningful, about happiness showing up more frequently and about relationships becoming more meaningful.
Your passions will change over time. What you love to do today will probably not be the same in 20 years. Perhaps you’re a person who doesn’t find their passion until later in life. Take for example, John James Audubon, one of the greatest wildlife artists. He was an unsuccessful businessman for most of his life. It didn’t matter how many times he changed locations, partners or businesses, he failed miserably. Not until he understood that he had to change himself did he have a chance of succeeding. So what changes did he make? He followed his passion. He always loved the outdoors and was a great hunter. In addition he was a good artist and would draw birds as a hobby. His life changed when he started doing what he loved.
To get started on this road to discovery, take some time, sit down and write out your answers to the following questions. Go with your first impulses.
- What do you love to do?
- What kind of environment do you love to be in? Predictable and slow-paced or fast-paced and constantly changing?
- What kind of people do you love to be around?
- If you could swap jobs with two other people, who would they be and why?
- Are you more comfortable in a large or small organization? One that is formal, conservative, or creative?
- What excites you, turns you on, gets you charged up?
- What are you “a natural” at? What do people compliment you on?
- What did you like about previous jobs that you would love to do again?
- What do you need from an organization or team to be motivated?
- What opportunities for advancement and development do you need?
- How important is long-term job security?
- Do you need a high or low level of responsibility or influence?
- How important is recognition of success?
- Is work/life balance a priority for you?
- Do you like to be under the pressure of constant deadlines or targets?
- Is being creative important to you?
- How far are you willing to commute?
- What sort of volunteering would you like to do? Is that also a possible career?
- If you could be a teacher, what two subjects would you like to teach?
- Imagine someone gave you $500,000 to invest in a business venture. What would it be?
- If you could attend any conference anywhere in the world at no cost, what would the topic be?
Once you’ve answered these questions for yourself, you’ll have a better idea of the direction in which you might want to head. If you’re still in a fog, take a F-R-E-E profile analysis to gain greater insight into your current situation and make your vision of the future even clearer.
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