There’s nothing more fulfilling than waking up every day and doing something you’re passionate about. But how do you find your passion? How do you figure out what ignites your spark?
It isn’t easy to discover what makes you feel purposeful and joyful. But it’s a journey of self reflection worth taking.
Here are some ways you can discover a passion of your own.
Before you get to the brainstorming stage, you need to make a personal audit of your life. Pay attention to different elements of your life that would indicate where your passions lie, such as:
- How you spend your free time
- What you daydream about
- What types of stories and media you gravitate to
- What your hobbies are
- The type of people you like to spend time with
- What you wanted to be when you grew up
- What do you do that makes you lose track of time?
When I was little, I wanted to be a ballerina. Granted, I had never taken a ballet class in my life. While I’m not a ballerina, I am an artist, writer, and photographer. My appreciation for creativity and artistic impression as a child was a clue into what would bring me joy as my dream job in the future.
Once you’ve done some soul searching and figured out how you spend your time currently, it’s time to brainstorm.
Look at all the notes you took. What themes are you seeing? Where are you connecting dots? And how can you pull a profession out of that?
Let’s take a look at an example set of answers.
- How you spend your free time: Cuddling with your animals
- What you daydream about: Helping people
- What types of stories and media you gravitate to: Medical dramas
- What your hobbies are: Bird watching
- The type of people you like to spend time with: Analytical but creative thinkers
- What you wanted to be when you grew up: Astronaut
- What do you do that makes you lose track of time? Spending time at a shelter
So what types of jobs could this compassionate, analytical person that thinks out of the box who loves animals, helping people, and medicine do?
What if they became an exotic veterinarian for a zoo? It’s as good a place to start as any.
On your journey to discover your passion, you might surprise yourself. Sometimes you find passion in places you least expected it.
Liberal art colleges operate on this principle with their general education requirements. To get your degree at these types of schools, you not only need to complete coursework related to your major, but also fulfill requirements in disparate courses of study.
That’s how my engineering husband ended up taking a philosophy class and I, as an English and Communications dual major, took a Sustainability and Ecology course. While I didn’t recognize how it would apply to me at the time, I later discovered my love of homesteading and now apply those principles to my small farm.
Exposing yourself to things you never considered trying will give you the opportunity to see what makes you feel excitement. So once you’ve brainstormed, find a place to try it out. You never know what will stick.
If you go out to find your passion in life and find it on your first try, congratulations! You either know yourself extremely well or you got lucky.
But chances are what you tried out wasn’t something that made you feel quite as passionate as you thought it would. And that’s okay! Pursuing your passion is an art, not an equation. There’s no formula to figuring out your spark.
So it’s back to the drawing board. Think about your experiment. You went out and tried something; which parts did you enjoy? What parts did you detest? Were there elements you enjoyed, but might enjoy more from another angle?
Once you’ve discovered which parts you liked, try to find something that incorporates those elements in a different way.
5. Try Again
While it might seem frustrating that you didn’t get it right the first time, it’s all part of the process. Even if you absolutely abhorred your first attempt, it’s not a failure or a waste of time. Think of it as an opportunity to get out of your comfort zone and get closer to your true happiness in the long term.
It’s time to take your findings from the regroup session and apply yourself once again. Colleges promote internships not just because they look good on your resume. They show you what it’s like to do your job in a real world setting. You might love accounting homework because it comes easy to you and it has one right answer. However, you might find that being surrounded by numbers for 8 hours every single day of the work week drains your soul a bit. You’ll never know until you actually try it.
6. Dig Deeper
Did step 5 not work? Go back to step 4 and try again.
Was step 5 a partial success? Go to step 6.
So you tried out a new field and you liked it, but that specific job didn’t feel like the right fit. What positions did that job interact with? Do you like the industry, but not that specific job?
If you went to a marketing company and thought that social media marketing was interesting, but you thought the best part was coming up with captions, maybe you should try being a copywriter.
The bottom line is that every time you reflect on where your joy comes from, you’ll find that you get closer and closer to the right answer.
7. Apply Yourself
Once you find your passion, it’s time to go all in. In order to live a life that’s passionate, you need to devote yourself to whatever fans that flame inside of you. If you could pursue that passion professionally, go for it! Do what you need to do to make it happen. Take courses, shadow a professional, hire a career coach, explore different career paths. Doing something that brings you joy every single day completely changes your life.
What’s holding you back from your dream job? What’s stopping you from taking that leap of faith? Whether you still need help on your path to find your passion or you’re just not sure if you’re ready to pursue your dreams, join WBD. We have the resources you need to make the leap into a profession that aligns with your true passion. Sign up today and let the second chapter of your life begin.
Author, Artist, Photographer.
Sarah Margaret is an artist who expresses her love for feminism, equality, and justice through a variety of mediums: photography, filmmaking, poetry, illustration, song, acting, and of course, writing.
She owns Still Poetry Photography, a company that showcases her passion for capturing poetic moments in time. Instead of poetry in motion, she captures visual poetry in fractions of a second, making cherished keepsakes of unforgettable moments.
She is the artist behind the Still Poetry Etsy shop, which houses her illustrations and bespoke, handmade items. She is the author of intricacies are just cracks in the wall, a narrative poetry anthology that follows a young woman discovering herself as she emerges from an abusive relationship.