“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” – Pablo Picasso
Whether you have one interest or many, choosing a career that allows you to follow your passion can be very rewarding — if you do it strategically.
As a Certified Vocational Professional with thirteen years of experience, I've met far more people who are unhappy at work than people who love what they do. Typically the unhappy people chose their career for reasons that weren't related to their passions or interests. More often than not, they thought they were being practical or realistic by securing their “good job”. I suspect they didn't anticipate spending every Sunday evening filled with dread, just thinking about surviving the upcoming week.
If you're miserable at work and/or your business isn't meeting your expectations, it's never too late to make a change. When you take some time to explore your choices and your priorities, it really is possible to find or to create rewarding work you love.
To find a way to follow your passion that will lead to success, you need to analyze three main factors:
1) What are you passionate about?
2) What are you good at?
3) How can you combine your passions and skills to find work that people actually want to pay you for?
Let's take a look at these separately.
What are your passions?
What does your ideal day look like for you? What will you do? Who will you do it with? What would you love to talk about or do all day long? Ask yourself these questions to find your passion.
What are you good at?
What are your best skills, based on your experience, education and training? In my line of work, we call these “transferable skills”, which are skills that you've learned that can be applied to other settings.
Which skills have you mastered? When you have over 10,000 hours of current experience doing something, you can consider yourself an expert. This equates to about five years of full time work, or longer if it’s part time. Pay particular attention to your expert skills, yet don't exclude your natural talents and things you love doing, even if you have less experience. Skills can always be learned and improved upon.
You may have learned some of your top skills through life experiences. What are some of the biggest challenges you have overcome? What do people ask you for advice or help with? What do people compliment you about?
How can you combine your passions and skills to find work that people want to pay you for?
This is the factor that is often overlooked and leads to disappointment. It's very important to be creative yet realistic; and to pay attention to where your skills are in demand.
For example, I worked in the financial industry for eleven years before I decided to go back to school. I loved business, marketing, and financial counselling but I grew increasingly uncomfortable with promoting the use of credit to meet my sales quotas. I decided to transition into social work and pursue counselling as a profession. I found counselling and coaching work in the vocational rehabilitation field, which I love.
I've always been passionate about holistic health and nutrition, especially after recovering from a serious health condition fifteen years ago. When I decided to start a side business a few years ago, I joined a health and wellness network marketing company. To build my business, I enrolled in a nutrition coach program and I started studying social media, online marketing and lead generation.
Over time, I realized that more entrepreneurs were asking me for help with choosing the right business, social media and marketing, than people were asking me for nutrition advice. As a former certified financial planner, I believe in multiple streams of income. So when people started asking me if I offered business coaching and consulting services, I decided to do that too.
In general, people are more willing to pay others to help them earn more money than they are willing to spend extra money on their health. This is because lack of money is typically a stronger pain point than health, unless you are in the midst of a health crisis. That's also why health and wellness products promoting weight loss outsell products for general health. For most people, the desire to lose weight is associated with a stronger pain point than the desire to achieve optimal health.
Pay attention to supply and demand, and adjust accordingly.
Now it's your turn.
How can you use your natural skills and abilities to pursue your passion and make a difference? Ask yourself what problems you want to solve. The bigger the problem, the more people will be happy to pay you to help them resolve it.
Research the market and be honest with yourself. If following your passion doesn't lead to solving problems for people, you may be challenged to earn a living by doing so. In these situations, you might want to pursue your passion through volunteer work, a hobby, part time work or a small side business. You can also start blogging about your passion. When you gain enough followers, you will attract sponsors and be in a better position to monetize your blog.
Most people's interests and passions evolve as time goes on. Coincidentally, most adults also change careers seven to twelve times, usually due to economic conditions beyond their control. If you consider a career change in the future, I encourage you to repeat this exercise. Often people find that circumstances eventually lead them to a meaningful career that incorporates their unique set of experiences and skills they developed over time. When one finds a career that is such a perfect fit for them, they may feel they have found their life purpose. It's an exhilarating feeling!
It honestly doesn't feel like work when you are doing what you love. Imagine how incredible it would feel to wake up every morning, inspired and excited to get to work! If this seems like an impossible dream to you, I implore you to give some thought to a career change.
Life is far too short to spend 40 hours each week in a self-imposed hell.
At the end of the day, all that really matters is happiness. Most of us need to work, and it's easy to enjoy your work when you strategically pursue your passion. You can make it happen!
Did this help you? I'd love to hear from you.
If you found these strategies helped you to realize when following your passion leads to success, please comment below and share this post.