You’ve seen it many times before. “Live, Laugh, Love.” “Life is about creating yourself.” “Seek and you will find.” And a number of other platitudes about passion and purpose in life. It feels nice to read – that all you have to do is live, laugh, and love to be successful – until you realize how complicated those things actually are. Finding your passion at work is equally complicated because most people work not just to find fulfillment but primarily to feed themselves and their families. You may be able to switch a romantic partner (relatively) easily, but when there are bills to pay, you can’t afford to job hop.
However, hope is not lost. There’s a lot you can do to find your passion at work that doesn’t revolve around quitting or complaining. Here are the top 5 ways to find your passion while maintaining your financial health.
1 – Put your hand up to help someone else
You may work in marketing, but if you hear at an all-hands company meeting that HR is working on a new initiative… offer to help out. You may not have any desire to work in HR. That may not even change after you help with the project. But you may discover something new about yourself. Or you may find something you really did like doing, like task management, perhaps.
Putting up your hand to help someone else is one of the best ways to try new things and identify your passions. It naturally pushes you out of your work zone since you’re helping another person with different tasks. But it also gives you goodwill and shows that you are a team player, two things that help a lot when you eventually want a promotion or other career move.
2 – Ask your manager for projects in an area you think you like
If you know that you like a certain kind of task but are not sure if it’s a “passion” yet, ask to be put on projects that involve that task.
Let’s say you really like writing. That’s a transferable skill to most areas in business, so you could approach your manager with this:
“Hi [manager name], I know it’s not in my everyday tasks, but I really enjoy writing. I’d love the opportunity to write more, and I’m happy to try writing in any style – articles, social media, UX writing, or anything else. If there are projects you notice that involve a writing component, would you mind recommending me to help out?”
Simply asking will help you get further. And, who knows, your manager may have been desperately looking for a writer on a project they are responsible for.
3 – Attend meetups
If you’re on your passion hunt and have no idea what things you like but you have areas you like, attend a meetup. Millions of people attend meetups around the world, and in big cities there’s likely a meetup every weekday evening (sometimes more).
Sites like Meetup.com have robust offerings where you can enter a topic you like – for example, HR or marketing – and see all the meetups in your area. Some are free, some have a small fee. Go to whichever ones you can afford that look interesting and give it a shot. The more meetups you attend, the more likely it is that you’ll discover new things you may be passionate about. Remember that different meetups have different themes or styles, so don’t give up on an area because one meetup wasn’t for you – try a few styles first.
4 – Have coffee chats
If you’re in the midst of figuring out what you like, there’s no faster way to learn than asking people about their work. Take your coworkers on coffee chats to learn more about them and their work. You get to know about their work and projects, potentially opening an opportunity for you to offer help. Either way, you get to know a coworker better, which is a good thing.
You could also take people for coffee chats not in your workplace. This is called “informational interviewing” and is a great way to connect with new people. If you see someone in a job that you think you might like or want one day, reach out to them and see if they’d be open to a coffee. If they can’t, you may still be able to ask questions back and forth via email.
5 – Look at job descriptions
One easy way to learn about new tasks you may enjoy is reading job descriptions. Start by picking a functional area you like. Then scour LinkedIn and other job boards for job descriptions with titles that pique your interest. Check out the job requirements and tasks to learn more about what those people do on a day to day basis. If something seems interesting, google it a bit more to learn what the task actually entails.
If you find a basket of tasks that you think you might like, the next step is to find ways to try those tasks. You can do this on your own (for example, managing your own social media), as a side-hustle business, or as part of your job. If you’re employed, though, don’t do this research at work – it can look bad if you’re analyzing job descriptions on company time.
Finding passion is about taking action
Regardless of the action you take, taking action is required to find your passion. If you do nothing and expect a passion to land on your lap, you’ll be disappointed. This is because passion is not necessarily a burning fire in us all the time. Sure, sometimes you read about people who “knew from a young age” they’d be doing what they currently do. But most of the time that’s not the case.
Instead of thinking that passion is a burning fire inside waiting for the right thing to come along, thing of it like a pilot light. It’s there, but it needs kindling to get started. Once the fire starts to burn, then you’re able to take on huge next steps to make sure the flame burns bright into the future.
Research for this article powered by Tech Daily.