I recently gave a talk to a group of undergraduate students about how to identify their goals and the importance of passion during that process.
Although most of them agreed with me on the importance of being passionate, the reality is that most people have a hard time identifying what they are passionate about. More often than I would like to admit, students come to my office seeking advice because they find themselves pursuing a career they are not fond of, and it is not only until they are almost ready to graduate that they realize it.
But, what about those of us who aren’t students anymore, does the same instance happen when we choose our careers or jobs? How important is it to be passionate about what we do once we finish school (or graduate school)?
For most people, being passionate is overrated, but if you ask me, passion is the one thing that can set us apart from the rest. If we want to be successful we need to be passionate about what we do.
Being passionate is much more than just liking our job. It is about knowing that no matter how tired or frustrated we are about what we do, we wouldn’t stop doing it. It’s about feeling fulfilled and accomplished. Being passionate is about understanding that not every day will be a perfect day, and accepting that at times we will fail, but we won’t quit. Passion is about identifying that small and slightly warm flame in our stomach, and working towards making it an out of control fire.
So, what can we do to be passionate in our jobs? First thing we need to do is to identify what we are passionate about. We have to look within ourselves and try to find what we like, what moves us, what ignites that flame I just mentioned.
Once you identify that, there is nothing else to do but to help it grow. Find the time to cultivate your passion and make sure that it is aligned with what you do. If they aren’t related in any way, then still find a way to cultivate it and make sure that you have a healthy balance between what you do (and hopefully love) and what you are passionate about.
Sometimes, it might seem that what we are passionate about is not related to our jobs, but with some creativity. I am sure you can find a way to combine them. Also, you might be able to develop certain skills doing what you are passionate about, and then transfer those skills to your job. For instance, I am passionate about art, and there are many skills I learned through art that I constantly use in my current job.
For example, the creativity I developed as an artist is the same creativity I use to prepare a presentation, or write an essay, or even when identifying an alternative solution to a problem.
In any case, in a competitive world like ours, we need to set ourselves apart from the rest and skills, education, or experience might not be enough to do so. Passion tends to be contagious, and when we are passionate, others tend to notice, giving us the opportunity to prove that we are the best at what we do. Good luck!