Life is too short to waste your time in a career you don’t love.
The best thing to do is to find a profession or activity you enjoy that also leverages your natural talents and abilities. But just how do you go about doing that? Follow the methods below to find the passion in your life and be on your way to a new career or redesign your profession.
The Peak Experiences Method
One simple way to discover your passion is to grab a notebook and jot down the memories that stand out as the peak experiences and highlights of your life. Then, take a look and see what the underlying core values are that made those experiences memorable or exciting. For example, two of my peak experiences were: 1) the year I lived abroad in US; and 2) giving my college graduation or community function speech, which was at once terrifying and exciting.
The corresponding values I found were: Travel & Adventure and Lead & Inspire. Once I realized how important these core values were to me, I began to orient my work around them by leading life-coaching seminars.(though it was not earning me enough revenues to make a living). But this fulfilled my core values for travel and adventure while inspiring others to lead more fulfilling lives. Ideally, your career will align with your top core values as well as your passions. Those values may be creativity, invention, risk, beauty, etc. People value different things. In terms of determining what your passions are, values are the things you do or that you find interesting or fun. When engaged in these activities, you feel most like yourself. We feel our happiest when we are in alignment with our core values.
The Child’s Play Method
Another way to find your passion is to evaluate what you enjoyed in your childhood. For example if you watched a video clip from your childhood, and noticed more than one instance where you were sitting in the middle of a mud puddle. If it was a beach, you were covered in sand. So, what’s the adult version of playing in the mud? For me, its pottery—there is something incredibly grounding about throwing pots on a wheel. Some may also love gardening, which is a grown-up way to play in the mud.
Whatever you were drawn to as a child is almost guaranteed to resonate with you at an elemental level as an adult. Think about it: kids are full of energy, partly due to the fact that they regularly engage in activities that energize them. Most adults have forgotten how to play and are so focused on their work and family responsibilities that they feel they don’t have the time or energy to have a bit of fun. Look at pictures from your childhood to see what stands out, and use them as inspiration. What did you love doing back then? What from back then stands out and makes you happy now?
The Visualization Method
Keep your vision for your perfect profession in front of you by creating a vision board. Use those images from your childhood, or find other images that represent your core values and peak experiences. If you love travel, find images of destinations you’d like to visit. If you dream of writing a novel, use covers from books that inspire you. If you would love to work with the elderly or children, collect images that reflect who you’d be working with. Include quotes that inspire you as well as a list of your core values. The key is to start visualizing your dreams and then begin taking steps to making them reality. Keep your board in a place where you will be sure to see it every day.
The Project Method
Once you understand what your core values, passions and natural talents are, find a project that allows you to express them. And it doesn’t have to be something big; it’s fine to start with something simple and easy.
After evaluating his core methods, one of my colleague discovered that he valued beautification. So he asked the management if he could landscape the front of the office building, which was quite drab and boring for a chemical manufacturing company. He rounded up a team of volunteers, and they worked together to transform the exterior. His enthusiasm for the project got noticed by top management, and he received an unexpected promotion.
If you want to write the next great novel, you might commit yourself to freelance writing first. If you want to work with the elderly, you might volunteer at a nursing home. These projects will help you more fully home in on your values and passions and could potentially lead to a new opportunity in your career. With these methods, you can give yourself the best gift ever—a happy and fulfilling career (and life).