The question comes in many ways. It could be from a friend, a colleague, or during your interview: “What are you passionate about?” And your answer: “I don’t know, ok?! Stop asking. AHHH,” as you crawl into a ball. It’s a big question and the truthful answer is most of us are still figuring it out.
I hate this question. Whenever anyone would ask me, I would clam up and just choke out some answer about “telling compelling stories” or customize my answer to the person I was talking to rather than really digging in and answering it for myself. While I did love telling stories, which is why I went into journalism in the first place, was it my passion? I worried I was the only person who hadn’t figured out what her passion was.
And passion is such a large, important word. It feels all-encompassing. It feels like everything.
Don’t let the question trip you up. It’s ok if you don’t know, but spend time searching. The more time spent looking within and paying attention to those “sparks” of interest, the easier it is to hone in what you enjoy and what path you’d like to pursue.
Rid yourself of “should.”
Thinking you should be successful, should have a job by now, or should have your passion figured out is ridiculous. All the little steps until now brought you here, and you are exactly where you “should be.” It’s now a matter of discovering where you want to go and putting some goals behind getting there.
Design your Life.
Think like a designer. Prototype different versions of your life and see what sticks.
A well-designed life is a portfolio of experiences, adventures, failures, hardships, achievements, satisfactions.
They emphasize that it’s important to focus on problem finding as much as we do on problem-solving. Ask yourself questions to hone in on both your life view and your work view.
Life view is why we are here. What gives our life meaning and what makes it worthwhile
Workview is why we work? What is work for and how does it relate to your fulfillment and growth?
How do your life view and work view clash or intersect? Complement each other?
Track what makes you happy and when you’re most satisfied throughout the day. What are you doing? Who or what are you interacting with? What is your environment?
Start mind mapping – once again the book lays it out but it involves creating areas where you’re engaged and energized and in a state of flow and create word clouds to pepper those in with experiences – using some of those words, highlighting some different versions of the life.
The basis for this is to try stuff! Don’t worry, ponder, just know it’s a process and get started!!
What do you want to do? Where do you want to be? Who do you want to be?
It’s incredibly difficult to figure out what will make you the happiest when you’re starting out your career. It’s nearly impossible. It’s hard not to be paralyzed by fear that you might make the wrong decision. What if you start on a path that you hate, only to discover it sucks and you want out—stat? What if you make a horrible decision and your career is over before it starts?
Breathe. This doesn’t happen. A job is only a job. And your first few jobs are just that—they are still just jobs. They are only a stepping stone to the greater journey of your career. But you have to start somewhere. You get paid in exchange for doing something for somebody else. That’s it. It’s not the entire rest of your life.
But use that time to figure out what you like, what you don’t like and what direction you want to move in. 2020 is the time to make some goals based in asking the right questions.