Sometimes we choose a major, a college, or a job based on what we think we should do. We should make money, we should please our parents, we should have security. It seems better to take one road than the other. If we can make more money doing something else, then we should leave all that other stuff we like to do as a hobby.
Does this sound familiar? If it does, you might be ignoring your number one asset: your passion. Some of us might not know what it is right away, while others do and ignore it, or put it off until later. But at a recent career panel I attended through my alumni network, these panelists (who were recruiters, career experts, and top executives) agreed on one thing: You need to be passionate about what you do for a living.
Why? The panelists emphasized this not just because you’ll be happier doing what you love, but because it’s impossible to compete with someone who loves what he or she is doing.
If you’re wondering why you just can’t seem to get ahead, and it’s a job that you don’t really love, it’s because the people who do truly love what they’re doing are moving ahead of you. Passion is a motivator you can’t compete with, and when you have passion, it becomes obvious to those around and above you. All the panelists agreed — in order to really get ahead, you have to find a way to do what you love. And there is a way — even if you don’t see it now.
As we prepare to wrap up this year and head into 2013, think about what it is you’re passionate about. Are you doing it at work? And if you really aren’t sure what your passion is, think about those aspects of jobs or projects or activities that you’ve loved doing. Try asking yourself these questions:
- Which stage of a project did you seem to enjoy the most?
- At what moment in past projects did you feel inspired, like you couldn’t wait to share your ideas?
- What have you enjoyed doing in your free time since you were a child?
- If you had a free hour to do anything you wanted (other than sleep, eat, etc.), what would you do?
For example, when I was going through a career change and asked myself some of these questions, I found one thing in common: storytelling. It was storytelling in various forms, and any time a project involved it, I was excited and more than willing to contribute. So, start with those things you enjoyed and dig deeper — your passion will find its way to the surface if you listen.