Monday, October 22, 2012

Finding Your Passion

When it comes to choosing a career direction we are often told to 'Follow our Bliss'.  The goal being,of course, to engage in work that we love and are passionate about.   For many of my clients this proves to be good in theory but much more difficult in practice.  Most lament that they don't seem to feel passionate about any job and therefore they feel they must settle for something that they are perhaps only mildly interested in.

Often the challenge in determining what 'job' might push your 'passionate button' rests in getting past the title. We have preconceived notions not only of what specific jobs and roles do, but of whether or not we are capable or suited to do them.  All too often we discount opportunities simply based on their title, and all that conveys to us.  'No, I wouldn't like that' or 'No, I don't have the skills for that' or, even worse, 'No, I could never do that'... are the phrases that limit our choices and restrict us from truly being able to explore, and determine, where our true passion lies.

The following exercise has proven useful to many of my clients in uncovering new paths and new sources of passion for them.  If you're feeling a little stuck or want to establish that 'path of purpose and passion'... give it a try.  You might be surprised what you discover about yourself, your interests and the path you could be on!

The Work...

Step One.  Get rid of your labels.  We want to start with a clean slate, no preconceived notions about what a 'job' is or does or whether you would be interested in it, good at it, or qualified to do it.  So... no focusing on titles, just ignore them completely.  For our purposes they are completely irrelevant. So too with job level...  we don't care what it is, how much money it pays or where it's located.  Also irrelevant.

Step Two.  Go to the job boards and read as many descriptions of different jobs as possible.  Read descriptions from different areas, disciplines, levels.  There is no pre-qualifying what might be a fit for you.  We are working from the broadest part of the funnel here, so you want to go as wide and broad as possible.  You don't currently know where your passion lies so don't disqualify anything before you check it out fully.

Step Three.  As you read over the descriptions, highlight for yourself any aspect of the description that strikes you as interesting or exciting.  It doesn't matter whether it is practical for your lifestyle or whether you have the skills to do it.  Keep an ongoing list of these elements, adding to the list any segment from any description you read that stirs your soul, or that moves you even a little!

Step Four.  Once you have uncovered a number of items and recorded them in your log, start to categorize them by their key skill and functional areas.

Step Five.  Analyze any of the trends and insights that you gain concerning the areas of interest that are now uncovered.  Spend some time thinking about how it fits to your current career path.  Are you on the right path already?  Are there some minor shifts and tweaks you need to make to strengthen your interest and passion?  Is it a major change that is needed to set you on the right course?

Step Six.  Determine what you need to create this new direction for yourself.  More education?  A coach or mentor to help bolster your skills?  A new role entirely?  Consider what you need to set you on the right path and list them.

Step Seven.  Should be intuitive...  go out and take action.  Even one step in the right direction will feel empowering and help stir the embers of your passion, filling you with purpose.

Oh, and one final caveat.  This is your list, your choices, your passion.  Other people get to choose their own path, don`t let them choose yours.  Sometimes what others want for us will not align with what we want for ourselves.  Uncover your passion and pursue it.  You only get this one go `round...  it`s a much more interesting ride to fill it with work that you love and that fulfills your purpose than spend it working to fill someone else`s.

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