What’s your passion in life?
The answer to this thought-provoking question varies from person to person, can be something which frequently changes, and can be often left unanswered, leaving a person really contemplating what they’ve been doing in life.
When I was young I remember wanting to be a sports medicine doctor. Then I decided it wasn’t for me as I hated science and math. Then I wanted to be an English teacher. I determined halfway through my freshman year of college, that I wasn’t really excited about all the reading and analyzing. I enjoy writing, but not reading (mainly the material we were given in school). I then thought it might be more fitting for me to be an elementary education teacher. That didn’t last long as I experienced the reality that not all kids are hardworking and respectful. I was at a crossroads because nothing seemed to be a passion for me. I finally discovered Communication Studies, and ended up graduating with a major and minor in that field. I loved it, I still look back on my studies and remember how enjoyable they were. It fit me.
The question, “what can you do with that degree?” was a very common question to myself and the rest of my classmates. I would always respond with “Pretty much anything. We communicate every day in any field of work.” I landed jobs after college without issue, and I’m coming up on ten years with my current employer.
In the first few years of my current job, I wasn’t sure if I was in the right profession. It was very hard, there was a lot of information I had to remember, and it tested me on so many occasions. There were many more happy hours attended after work in those early days then there are now. But thankfully, I grew, I learned, I mastered many things I didn’t think I would ever fully understand, and I am making it. I get to help the public in some very big ways and that is extremely satisfying. I enjoy working with the public (there are days when it’s questionable) but for the most part, there is always a sense of accomplishment when you can positively impact people right in your community in various stages of life.
I think we often struggle with wondering if our current profession is our passion or not. But I question, do we always have to be 100% passionate with what we do that makes us an income to live on? There will probably be people who will want to debate with me on this, and I welcome that.
I personally struggled with finding my passion early on in my career. When I thought I couldn’t do the job I was in and felt like it was not worth the amount of stress I was putting on myself I often contemplated all the other things that maybe I could do. The other job titles out there that might sound more important. But the longer I stayed, the more I learned, the more I earned, and the more I appreciated the benefits that came along with this job. I don’t feel like I struggle anymore with what I do. And though I wouldn’t say the job itself is my passion, the connections I get to make with people on a daily basis, is. It aligns with my goal to positively impact people, no matter what I do.
I’ve found many other outside of work activities that have also helped light up my soul. I don’t necessarily believe you have to make something you’re passionate about a job, but you can find ways to incorporate them into your life where it seems fit. And it’s important to be able to keep your life balanced while adding in the activities you enjoy too. The activities I have found are also very much community based, and have allowed me to meet many other people with similar views and lifestyles.
I’ll admit it that my wage is a big factor at what keeps me at my job. Yes, I may have other talents in different areas of work that I would no doubt be able to change to. However, the financial security is very ideal. It affords me the ability to travel often, to keep the roof over our heads and comfortably heated in the winter and cool in the summer, to save for the future, and to have fun. Could I walk away from this security financially, I don’t know that I could or would want to. And I suppose this would be different if I did not find any joy out of my current job, and for some, that is a crossroad they are up against.
My advice about finding your passion would be this. If you’re in a job that you are good at, but maybe don’t find it to be your passion, first, I think that is absolutely ok. We are not going to love our job every second of the day, even if you work in a field that you’d define as your passion. It’s just not realistic to think that if we work our passion, there aren’t going to be days that are very challenging. If you know you have a passion in something, but may not be able to comfortably survive doing it as a job, then find ways to do it on a volunteer basis, or even as a small side business. There is nothing wrong with working one job that pays the bills, and working on something else outside of that. If you look hard enough for something that aligns with what you’re passionate about, you may surprise yourself the things you can do that will fulfill that part of your soul. It could be as simple as getting involved in a new community, like in fitness and wellness. It might be attending networking group events.
In order to find out passions, it’s important to keep our minds open to new things. To try new things. To be an active participant in getting to know what really brings us joy. Being passionate about something doesn’t always equate it to needing it in order to make us money. The simple return of joy, in whatever you do in life, is as valuable, if not more.