“I would like to feel passionate about my work.”– New client in career transition.
Feeling passionate about work is something many aspire to… or if passion feels like too strong a word, most people would like to enjoy their career and feel they are using their talents and strengths. Like many people, I’ve had professional experiences on both ends of the spectrum – times when I loved what I was doing and times when I did not.
One of the ways to determine what tasks or subjects would draw out a sense of joy in your work is to go back in time to uncover what has been a theme for you over time. The area I feel passionate about is the power of words and their ability to influence people’s thoughts, feelings and actions.
Let me start in my childhood. I loved stories and I adored learning to read. I can remember reading nightly at bedtime with my father, who was a particular fan of Dr. Seuss and read those stories aloud with great gusto. It was fun when my reading advanced from the books on hand in my room to checking books out of the school library. Biographies were a special favorite and I loved all the Little House books. I would read books quickly and I longed to be an author when I grew up. Surely if it felt this wonderful to read all these books, what must it feel like to write them?
I haven’t yet authored a book, but it always pops up on my list of things I want to do before leaving the planet. While it seems a more daunting ambition than it did in childhood, writing a book still seems like it would be a wonderful accomplishment. My love of writing did lead me to major in Journalism, though my major was Public Relations… where the art of providing information is utilized in the business world. When I couldn’t find a PR job in the recession underway when I graduated, I moved into the corporate world… where I was often selected to present to challenging audiences because of my ability to communicate effectively.
That’s the thing about passions. They can keep popping up in one way or another. While my childhood passion for words and ideas may never transfer into the status of bestselling author, my passion for communications has been in active use all the times in which I’ve been happiest in my work – whether in my past as a corporate leader in or now in my own coaching and consulting business.
Here are some questions to help you uncover your passions:
- Where are the places that your work draws the most compliments?
- What are you doing when the hours fly because it’s so stimulating?
- Where in your life do your efforts draw praise or allow you to move into a zone of pure enjoyment?
- What subjects or activities did you enjoy most in school?
- If money were not an issue, what career would you pick?
Sometimes what we are doing in our careers isn’t the problem, it’s where we are doing it. Recently, someone shared the story of a friend who moved into a role as an accountant for an orchestra, bringing a current talent to a different setting for which there was passion. The problem this person had wasn’t with her chosen career of accounting; it was the business in which she worked.
Another option to start uncovering what brings you joy is by creating some of that passion elsewhere in your life. Often when passion unfolds in one place, answers pop up about what to do in another aspect of our lives. While the dream of being a concert pianist might now be out of reach, the choice to take piano lessons or attend live performances allows the joy of music to come forward again. And that sense of joy may create something new in your work life as well.
At the end of the day, what most of us want is to know we lived fully, using our talents and loving our lives. What is the legacy that you want to leave? Start with the vision for your life and move from there into the vision for your work.
If you could use support in uncovering (or recovering) your passion as it relates to your career, I’d love to help. Just email me and we can set up a time to discuss your situation and how I might be able to support you.