We spend a good amount of time talking about pursuing your passion here at Idealist Careers. Yet while “follow your passion” might be a popular refrain when it comes to finding a job you love, we know our career journeys are much more complex. We lose and gain passions all the time, and just because we are passionate about something, doesn’t mean we want to build a career around it.
To that end, here are a few questions and articles to help you dig deeper.
Are you OK with making sacrifices?
Would you take a job more aligned with your values for a smaller pay check? Would you endure a longer commute or move further from friends? Marci Alboher, Vice President of Encore.org crafted a short exercise to help you figure out what you would give up for a career you love.
Are you pursuing a passion-driven career or a mission-driven career?
Sometimes we can confuse mission-driven work with passion. The key difference between the two is that a mission-driven career allows for ongoing development of our work and interest, while a passion-driven career often assumes we’ve got the answers to our career all figured out and have narrowed down our interests. Take time explore the difference between the two to ensure you make smart career choices.
If you have multiple passions, are you embracing them instead of pursuing just one?
A major challenge for some people is that they have multiple, seemingly unrelated passions so narrowing down to just one and building a career around it seems impossible. Instead of thinking in terms of just one interest, consider ways to build a career that allows you to explore multiple passions. For example, try pursuing jobs that are flexible and self-directed. Brazen Careerist offers more advice on how to find a job when you have multiple passions.
If you lost your passion, are you actively figuring out what you WOULD enjoy?
Without knowing it we can end up in a place where our passions aren’t a part of our day jobs. We get stuck in the grind and become unsure of how to break out. However, our jobs, whether we love them or not, can still provide ample opportunity to figure out what we would like and how to get our passions back. Consider these three scenarios of losing passion paired with ways to get it back.
Are you cultivating and exploring your passions outside of work?
While we can do a ton of exploration at work, our jobs are not the only places were we can or should explore our passions. To that end, try to make time for a side project. Giving yourself the freedom to creatively engage your passions can lead to unexpected opportunities.
Are you thinking beyond your day-to-day interests?
If you’re just starting to discover your passions, don’t be afraid to ask yourself a lot of questions. Don’t just reflect on what you like to do; also think about what you’re good at, skills you’d like to strengthen, compliments you often get about your work, fields you’d like to explore, and people you admire. Here are 27 questions to help you get started.
Are you getting advice from people who have “been there and done that”?
Though finding your passion can feel like a lonely process, the truth is it’s easier to do anything when you have support. To start, read the inspirational words of leaders who have pursued their dreams and the advice of people who have found their dream jobs.
Are you prepared for a journey?
We’ve hinted at this throughout the list so far, but it needs to be said explicitly: one does not simply wake up with passion. Instead it is cultivated over time. Here is a simple equation to ensure that you are actively cultivating your passion.
Are you embracing your inner kid?
For all of the advice out there about finding your passion, helpful advice might right under our noses. Kids are masters at exploring, creating, and playing; simply keeping an open mind and doing what makes them feel alive. Successfully finding your passion might mean embracing your inner kid.
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by Aaron McCoy