Discover Your Passion: Learning How to Find Your Life’s Work

Growing up, it was easy to decide what you wanted to do for a living. On a daily basis you would be content with the idea of being anything from a hairdresser to an astronaut. Adulthood seemed to be an awesome time when all your dreams would come true. In real life, however, deciding on a career can be a hair-pulling nightmare.

College forces 18-year-olds who barely know how to feed themselves into choosing their lifelong passions. If you chose a major in college out of necessity, you may find yourself midway through your 20s or 30s, and adrift in your professional life. Your life’s work does not have to be as unattainable as it may seem. Included here are a few exercises that will allow you to follow your dream to a new career.

Reconnect With Play

Studies have shown that children and adults both learn through playing. Taking time to invest in hobbies you find enjoyable can help develop a passionate interest in you. Many adults spend less than an average of two hours a day, over the course of the week, on their own personal recreation.

Many toys and games that children play can translate into adult careers. For example, word and number puzzles may result in long-term problem-solving and programming talent. Children who build with blocks may enjoy careers in architecture, and those who created crayon masterpieces may find purpose in graphic design.

Take time as an adult to reconnect with things that you enjoy doing. What piques your interest? What is fun for you? Where do you find focus and growth off the clock? These things may lead to you discovering a passionately driven career that was born out of innocent play.


Reevaluate Your Priorities

Finances are one of the biggest obstacles in purposeful career choices. Most children do not grow up “wanting to be” an investment banker. But once there are dollar signs in front of that job title, you find it an appealing career choice. People who are successful and passionate about their careers usually pursue them in spite of money. Nearly every entrepreneur who has found success had to suffer through the “starving artist” phase of their dream development. Evaluating your priorities to be passion focused and not money-oriented can help you find a career that is fulfilling long-term.

Find a Role Model

You may believe mentors and role models are only for troubled kids, but adults need role models just as much as children. Many of the jobs you are going to find through your passion have been done before; however, they may not have been done with the innovation, creativity and excitement you bring to the table. Take a look at your colleagues, coworkers and friends. Are they living out their dreams? Fulfilling their passions? You are influenced by those around you, and wasting time with other people who have “settled” will not push you into a passionate career. Find a role model who is out there living your dream. Figure out what drives them to be better, what makes them happy and why they chose their career path. Understand what struggles and disappointments they overcame to be where they are. Learning from a mentor who has already been through it all can both inspire and prepare you to follow your passion.

Quit Your Day Job

If you really need a kick in the pants to get started on your dream, take a leap of faith and quit your job. While this may not be a good choice if you have dependents, young, single people can easily go this route without too serious of ramifications. It may mean moving back in with your parents or sleeping in the office, but you can easily get started on your career if you devote all of your time to your passion.

For people with dependents, pursuing your dream is just as possible. You will have to work even harder than other people, but your business can be started in the evenings and weekends. You will face many months of being stretched thin between your day job, side hustle and family responsibilities, but it will pay off.

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Ms. Career Girl

Ms. Career Girl was started in 2008 to help ambitious young professional women figure out who they are, what they want and how to get it.