- Making money and doing something that drives you don't have to be mutually exclusive.
- Finding something that you're passionate about can improve your performance.
- Passion alone does not necessarily lead to happiness on the job. Not all passion is positive. Don't be afraid to change jobs or even career trajectories.
I remember the first time I attempted to write a story. It was a warm summer evening, and I was cooped up in my room, sitting on the floor and scribbling notes onto printer paper. I was 5.
I could barely form letters at the time, but the ideas burned inside me like the setting sun – I'd found my passion.
If you're so lucky to discover a craft that excites you, build on it, align your goals with it and never let it go.
"To truly reach your potential, you need to identify your passions and talents and create ways to utilize them each day," said Heather Monahan, founder of #BossinHeels, a career mentoring group. "If anything is important enough to you, you will find a way to make time for it."
Losing sight of your ambitions will leave you uninspired, and those feelings will affect both your professional and personal life. Here's how to hold tight to your passions and develop your goals throughout your career.
What is the definition of "passion"?
Being passionate about work doesn't necessarily mean it makes you happy but rather that it is meaningful – that it "elevates us beyond our usual self-interest," Richard Harbridge, chief technology of 2toLead, wrote.
What are the benefits of having a job you're passionate about?
"At its best," Harbridge wrote, "passion is rewarding and can make us more important and enthusiastic about our work." A good challenge keeps us interested and engaged in work outcomes, which, in turn, can improve our performance on the job. But because passion and happiness don't necessarily go hand in hand, keep in mind that your job doesn't have to be forever. If you find yourself miserable at work, even if it's work you're passionate about, a change of job, or even of profession, may be in order.
Why is work-life balance important?
Passion can be all-consuming, Harbridge wrote, and as you have a deeper relationship with work, your feelings of self-worth or well-being can be tied more to events that happen there. This can be motivating, but it can also have negative consequences for your mental and emotional well-being. Having interests and hobbies outside of work, as well as time away from your professional concerns, can help balance that drive and even out your work's ability to negatively affect your health and well-being.
How to find a job you're passionate about
Monahan offered some tips for tying your passions to your career:
Choose an industry that reflects your interests.
You don't need to work in a position that directly aligns with your interests, but you should be channeling them in some way. For instance, if you work in real estate but have a passion for photography, you can leverage this skill by taking photos of properties. This not only appeals to buyers but also allows you to practice your craft.
Without heart or drive, you'll never reach your potential. Rather than choosing a job for the money, choose it for your happiness. And if you aren't feeling satisfied in your work, don't hesitate to make a change. You're never trapped.
Monahan advised speaking up to managers when you feel unfulfilled. That way, they can involve you in projects geared more toward you and your talents. By leveraging your skills and interests in the workplace, you will not only perform better but also feel more motivated, confident and inspired.
Share your goals with loved ones.
The more you talk about something, the more real it becomes. Speak about your goals as often as possible, with as many people as you can.
"The more people you bring into the fold to share your goals with, the more people you have asking you about your progress and updates, which keeps you on track," Monahan said.
Stay inspired by voicing your ambitions to a family member, a mentor or someone who has embarked on a similar endeavor. Monahan said she shares her goals with her son, to help her commit to those objectives. When she feels like quitting, she thinks about what type of example that would set for him, and continues to push forward.
Make your passions a priority.
One of the most common excuses for not doing something is a lack of time. But if you are truly passionate about something, you won't let yourself get sidetracked. You'll likely never "have" the time – it's about making the time.
"I found that the simple step of taking action helps,"Monahan said. "Doing something, no matter how small, each day to take you closer to your goal will allow you to see progress."
This is ultimately up to you. While you might have support from friends or loved ones, you're the one choosing to wake up an hour earlier or work on a project instead of binging Netflix shows in your free time. Hold yourself accountable for pursuing your dreams, no matter how busy you might be.
"Writing your goals down and having them handy to see as a reminder also helps," Monahan added. "I like to give myself deadlines and track my progress against them each week."
Always remember why you started and where you want to end up.