Discovering YOUR Passion

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.
If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle“
-Steve Jobs

We have all seen countless inspirational quotes linking the words passion and career. Two of my personal favorites that speak to this important connection are:

“Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion.”
–Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel

“Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

Here in the Career Development Center we use the phrase “Discover your passion” as one of the key concepts in our new tag line. But what exactly does it mean to discover your passion and why is it so important?

Defining career passion…

A quick Google search for the definition of “career passion” included:

  • Doing work that energizes, inspires, and excites you.
  • Is a key component of personal happiness.
  • Usually entails doing something that comes very naturally to you—an extension of the real you.
  • Is not one “right” career choice, most of us have multiple areas we feel passionate about.
  • Is sometimes defined as your life’s “calling”.

Career passion is NOT what others think we should do and is typically not driven by financial gain or what the “hot” jobs are. Some say that if you are truly doing what you love and giving your heart and soulto it, the money will follow. There is not always an easily apparent tie to your college major; but the knowledge, skills, attitudes, and connections that you possess as a result of obtaining your degree are vital for success. (Not to mention the fact that obtaining a college degree has an impact on your potential earnings and odds of becoming unemployed –but that is for another blog J)

Why is feeling passionate about what you do for a career important?

For starters, the average person spends90,000 hours at work over their lifetime! That’s more than 10 years! We all know people who go to work every day and hate every second of it for years on end. Don’t be that person. We each only have one life to live—don’t you want to spend yours doing something that you feel good about? Doing what you love also contributes substantially to your success. People are generally more motivated and achieve more when they are doing something they truly enjoy. Lastly, it makes perfect sense that there is a clear link between career satisfaction and health and well-being—something most of us strive for.

How do you find your career passion?

Some people seem to know what career path they are going to follow when they are a small child, but for most of us, finding our career passion is a journey and continues to evolve as we grow and experience life. It is important though not to be passive and sit and wait for your career passion to come knocking on your door. There ARE steps you can take to help yourself, including reflecting on questions like those below (HINT: write things down! It may sound simple but it is much easier to see connections and patterns if they are right in front of you in black and white. Plus, you will have record of where you have been as you move forward on your journey.)

  • If you could do ANY job in your life, and money was no object, what would that be? Another way to look at this—what would you do with your life if you won the lottery?
  • What are the causes, activities, and subjects that you have felt passionate about and been involved with or would like to be involved with?
  • What kinds of things are you engaged in when you lose all track of time?
  • Who/what are the people, places, and things that energize you?
  • What are the values that are most important to you? Need ideas? 
  • What do you like to do in your free time? Brainstorm and list 5-10 activities that you truly enjoy. Look for themes.
  • What skills come naturally to you? What do others come to you for, consider you an expert in, praise you for?
  • What are your favorite things to learn more about? Could be academic classes (think: which classes did I actively attend just because I loved the course material)? OR subjects of interest that you pursue outside if class?
  • What do you like to read about? Think about magazines you like, what catches your eye on the internet, etc.
  • QuintCareersFinding Your Career Passion Tutorial: Finding Your Ideal Career Path
  • Linkedin:How to Find Your Career Passion
  • Idealist27 Questions to Ask Yourself to Figure Out Your Passion

“If there is no passion in your life than have you really lived? Find your passion, whatever it may be. Become it, and let it become you and you will find great things happen FOR you, TO you, and BECAUSE of you.”
-T. Alan Armstrong


– Pam Weller, Director: Career Development Center

Pam Weller

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