Passion means caring strongly about something and your passions can play a positive role in your life at work and in other areas of your life. Doing something you are passionate about can reenergize you when other tasks or experience drain you or provide you with an outlet for excess energy or stress. It allows your subconscious to work on problems while you focus on something else you enjoy and, therefore, can improve your memory and your mental, emotional, and physical health. And finally, pursuing a passion allows you to create connections with others who share the same passion as you.
Follow the steps below to step back and think about your passions; how you can integrate them into what you do; and how you can connect them with your career goals.
Step 1: Figure out what excites you by answering the questions below:
- What would I do with my summer if money weren’t an issue?
- What are my favorite activities?
- What type of people am I drawn to?
- What kind of stories in the news always capture my interest?
Step 2: Separate the passionate activities from the real passion that lies beneath.
There is a big difference between the activities you like to do and the passion that drives you to do them. You need to separate those two things from each other to find ways to integrate your passions into your day-to-day activities and into your work.
Sometimes it is hard to see the connection between our passions and our work. But if you know what drives you to be passionate about certain activities or ideas, you can learn to infuse that passion into your daily activities and it will be easier to find a career that can use those passions.
Let’s take a look at some examples:
Passion #1: Skydiving
Felicity is a busy college senior with a love of extreme sports. Lately, she has been really into skydiving. It is a rush to jump out of a plane and free-fall into the great unknown. Felicity feel alive the moment she steps into the air, and she has recently recruited a few buddies to join her next excursion.
On the surface: Aside from being a skydiving guide or a green beret, there does not seem to be a strong career path tied to this passion and hobby. It may score her some bragging rights here and there, but on a realistic level – it may be hard to come up with a practical career connection.
At a deeper level: Felicity’s love of skydiving is rooted in her love of risk taking. She thrives on jumping into the unknown, and has recently done a great job at bringing others (even skeptics) along for the ride.
Passion #2: Baking
Even though it’s on the opposite side of the spectrum, Felicity is also passionate about baking. No matter how busy she is, she always finds time and energy to make baked goods at least once a week to share with others. It lowers her stress and turns a bad day to a good one.
On the surface: No matter what all the cooking shows might lead people to believe, a career in baking is tough to break into. And just because she loves to bake does not mean she would want to do it all day, every day.
At a deeper level: The passion that lies beneath her passionate activity of baking is her love for taking raw material and combining/transforming them into something great. She also enjoys sharing the fruits (or pastries) of her labors with others.
The connection point.
Felicity is now ready to look for common threads between her true passions and her future career options.
She loves the idea of risk taking and she embraces the unknown. She has a talent for taking an assortment of different objects and combining them to create something great. She energizes people and can make them excited to try new activities. These passions might be why she is fascinated by start-up companies and new product development. By analyzing the driving passions in her life, she realizes that these types of careers might satisfy her passions at a much deeper level.
Take a look at your responses to Step 1, and ask yourself these questions:
- Was there a common thread across my responses?
- Why do I love what I love? (What’s the passion behind the passionate activity?)
Step 3: Put your passions to work.
Which of your underlying passions are most important to you?
How can you further explore your passions via volunteerism?
How can your passions form the foundation of your career goals?
What types of career paths would value and leverage the underlying passions you uncovered?