If you’re fortunate enough to work with your true passion, you can stop reading now. Congratulations on having – whether by fortune or intent – acquired the opportunity of waking up in the morning with not only your goal in clear sight, but also the prospect of an enjoyable journey to take you there.
And whether you have arrived at this point by fortune or intent, you should consider yourself very, very fortunate indeed.
Setting the stage
Let’s get the definitions out of the way first, shall we? Work is what you do in order to finance your personal life. Passion is the thing that takes over your life. Both share the ability to consume your life, yet with the not-so-subtle difference that passion is far more likely to let you have fun whilst you figure out that too much of a good thing may be a bad thing. Work, on the other hand, lets you realize rather quickly that too much of a bad thing is a really bad thing.
I’ll win the Pulitzer for that one, I’m sure.
Do you work with your true passion?
If you work with your true passion, you do not consider one single part of your day as boring or unfulfilling. Everything is a stepping stone on the way to a greater goal, upon which your focus is firmly affixed. I have first-hand experience with most combinations of work and passion, which range from working with my true passion through inspiring work but not quite passion-level; regular, family-supporting work and the kind that truly numbs your skull and makes you wish for a swift and memorable ending to it all.
The upside of having experienced both ends of the spectrum is that it’s a good way of learning to recognize true passion – and its life-changing impact.
If you don’t have it, here’s how to find it
Since your true passion is contained within that wonderful little lump of grey matter perched atop your spine – otherwise known as the most complex piece of (organic) machinery on the planet – it can be a tad hard to locate. To do so requires disconnection, reflection, and a certain amount of experience and experimentation. Most of us have a general idea already: if you have hobbies or clear interests, throw yourself into a research frenzy for a little while to see if your thirst for further information is quenched. If it remains, that’s a good first sign.
Then, see if you can find lines of work connected to them. Read descriptions from people in professions connected to the topic of interest. Find forums online where people with similar interests congregate, and ask them what their days are like and what they do. Whether you plan to get employed or start your own business, it’s a wise line of inquiry since it will give you unfiltered insight void of any polish that a job agency or an interviewer can introduce. And then, if you still can’t contain your interest for the topic, it’s time to step it up and explore ways to actually dip your feet into the water.
If at all possible, try things out on the side of your regular job. Perhaps your interest can be explored with other fellow enthusiasts in your spare time; go ahead and knock out a hot rod or two. If not, there’s still the advent of modern technology; painters can post and sell their works online for criticism or warm, fuzzy cash. And if it has to be a full-on thing, ask for a month of unpaid leave – or if you can afford something as extravagant, a sabbatical. If it’s your true passion, you’ll find a way.
If you’re still bereft as to what your true passion might be, continue searching – but in the meantime, there are a couple of things you should do to improve your chances of waking up with a smile every morning.
What to do if you can’t follow your passion
If, for some reason, you don’t have clear passion to work towards or something presents an at present insurmountable obstacle, there are two possible choices. 1) React. 2) Proact. Door number one, to react, usually leads to a rebellion against your current situation, which gains noone. Door number two, to be proactive, is to reverse the tables on your current situation and assume responsibility for your own well being.
Find the parts of your current line of work that you do enjoy, and maximize these. Reduce the other parts by any means necessary. Work consciously towards this goal, and decide to do away with discontent. Take a break every now and then, and reflect upon what you actually have as opposed to what you do not have.
Then continue your search for your true passion.