Do you love what do you do? Do you have a passion for the everyday of your job? If so, I applaud you for searching for and finding a career that fills your soul at the most basic level. For many however, this pursuit has not been as fruitful.
I presume most people like at least certain things about their jobs like the people, the company, the flexibility, or the compensation, but maybe not the work itself. Work isn’t terrible, but the daily grind doesn’t really get their juices flowing.
Given the amount of time many spend at work and the free time outside of work many people lack, one might be feeling a desire to find emotional and personal satisfaction from work (considering the limited disposable time outside of work to satiate personal needs). With that, let’s ponder a few questions to ask oneself in the journey to meld pursuing personal passions with pursuit of career success.
While the major goals or responsibilities might not be the most purposeful rewards for you, what small of aspects of your job do bring you happiness?
Consider the smaller projects or periodic assignments that you really enjoy. Could you do more of these? Is there a certain portion of your daily tasks that you really like? Do you get to spend time training people or working with clients that brings joy even if the topic of training or discussion might not be your most beloved passion? Step back and think about the moments at work that made you smile or left you feeling refreshed and full of energy or excitement. It can be easy to focus on the parts of our jobs we don’t really like, but we should also not forget to appreciate the goodness we experience as well.
What indirect benefits do you derive from your job? What do you appreciate that might not be the job responsibilities themselves but be a result of or an effect of the job?
Some might think solely about the fulfillment of the work. But what does that work allow you to do? Does it support a lifestyle outside of work that brings joy and satisfaction? Would your more ideal job support that same (or perhaps a better) lifestyle?
Further, with what types of people do you spend your hard-working days? If you like these people (for their personalities, their expectations, their engaging conversations, or any other reason), would you find these same suitable people if you changed your path?
Take some time to step back and think if maybe the grass only seems greener on the other side of the fence. For example, a calm and mindful minimalist life might seem serene and perfect for a exhausted corporate veteran. But further consideration might garner a list of benefits, like glamorous vacations or luxury cars, that a corporate salary affords that a more minimalist life may find left behind.
I’m certainly not here to opine on which is better. I don’t think there’s a definitive answer and it depends on the person. But it’s important to consider both the direct and indirect costs and benefits of choosing a professional path.
Is your timing right? Might your dreams be achievable but maybe better suited for a later date?
I know many people might not agree with me on this one. So many people will encourage everyone to pursue their dreams today and never wait until tomorrow. To some extent, I agree. It’s always great to start taking steps toward any dream.
But life is real and has responsibilities and complications and challenges. Sometimes patience pays. Maybe you can see down the road a moment when stepping off your current path to chase your dream will be more fitting, such as after achieving a major upcoming milestone in your life. Consider finding peace in knowing that your circumstances and your job might not be perfect now, but there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Hanging in there and pushing through for a short while longer will lead you to a better place on an easier path in the end. (As a simple example, consider someone just one year away from paying off a major expense dreaming to pursue a profession with a significantly smaller compensation. It may make sense to hold off just one year until that expense has been fully paid and then pursue that new dream job.)
In the meantime, take small steps toward that new path or dream now. If you long to be a yoga instructor, attend lots of classes at different studios to hone your skills and gather information about what type of teacher you’d like to be when the time is right. Want to be a chef? Start a recipe blog as a hobby or host regular dinners with friends to experiment with recipes and master skills in the kitchen.
How about you?
If you don’t derive fulfillment directly from your work, how do you find personal fulfillment from your days? What brings you joy and satisfaction? How do you make time for it or come to terms with the consideration that now might not be the right time to experience full fulfillment but the opportunities lie in the days ahead? I’d love to hear your thoughts on finding the intersection of passion and professional pursuits in every day lives.