Last week I wrote an Can You Really Live by the Grace of Passion? I said that I’d post more specific tips for finding your passions, so here they are as promised. I use the plural of passion since like me, you can have many. Finding your passion is not about just one thing. It can expand and change and multiply as you see how lovely it is to do the things that bring you joy!
As I said last week, I never wanted to teach. Yet I continued to do it for a while as I searched for ways to follow my passions. I also worked on getting as far from DoorMatville as possible. It took time. I tried new things while I still had a steady income. I saved money when I could. Networking opened some doors. My strong faith opened more.
When I finally felt strong enough, I burned the renewal form for my teaching license and with it, my security blanket. And, I swore I’d never do anything for money that I didn’t love.
That was 13 years ago. Thirteen GLORIOUS years ago! The timing was interesting too. A few years before that I gave up the day camp I owned and operated for years. That was another good source of income. I actually enjoyed it at the beginning, since it was mine. But eventually there was more and more red tape involved and it became too tedious. I’d always wanted to see what it was like to live in Manhattan. So I sold my camp and moved into a much more expensive living situation.
That was just before I also gave up teaching, as my expenses increased! I honestly didn’t know how I’d support myself but just kept following my passion. Faith kept me from worrying and I managed to find ways to make money from my abilities, doing things I enjoyed. I didn’t get my first book deal for a few years but I slowly—step by step—reinvented myself. I helped others write their books, which I still do, and put my talent to work. My friends sometimes tease that they don’t wonder if I’ll make enough to pay my bills, but wonder where the money will come from. I always manifest enough income.
I’ve NEVER regretted giving up what I had no passion for. NEVER!
So how can you get to the place of loving your work? It doesn’t have to be from working for yourself, though for many of us it’s the way to go. Many people find satisfaction in their jobs. The main thing is to be happy about what you do, wherever and whatever it is. Here are some steps that I found helpful:
* Think about whether you love, or even like, the things you do, whether work or play. We’re often on auto-pilot when it comes to living. I’d go through the motions without even thinking about what I was doing. Ask yourself, “Do I feel happy with what I do?” If it’s not a resounding YES!, turn off your auto-pilot and begin to pay attention to what you like and don’t like.
* Pay attention to how others talk about their jobs. Do you want to spend your life like those who complain or can’t wait to retire? Or do you want to feel the kind of satisfaction you hear from those of us who discuss our careers with passion?
* Pay attention to any parts of your current job that you enjoy. You might actually enjoy the work but dislike the company, so working in a different place might be all that’s needed. Or you might want to get a job that allows you to do more of the aspects you like. For example, if you like helping others to troubleshoot the computers in your office, consider taking a class on how to do just that for a living. If you love the times you work directly with people, look for a job in communications.
* Pay attention to your outside interests. Write down everything that you’d love to do if you only had the time. Then look for jobs that might allow you to further that passion. If you love to travel, research jobs in the travel industry. If you love animals, there are jobs at organizations for animal rights or even the zoo. You might be able to put your skills to use in an environment that deals with what you love.
* Take a class in whatever interests you. See if new skills can lead to a more satisfying career. Talk to the instructor and make new friends with your interests. Networking is key to finding your passion.
* Volunteer. Do some free work for an organization that does something of interest to you. Learn as much as you can and network your socks off. You never know when an opportunity will open and someone you helped will think of you for it. A teacher I know took a PR class, just because doing publicity interested her. She then volunteered to do PR for some non-profits and did so well that she was offered a PR job. Now she’s a successful and very happy full time publicist. I’ve improved some of my skills and made good contacts while volunteering for organizations in the field I want to be in.
* Close you ears to nay-sayers. I wouldn’t be where I am now if my students hadn’t said I couldn’t rap because I was a white woman. That led me to prove them wrong and an awesome career beyond that. Many times I’ve been told “you can’t do that” and proved them wrong. People trapped in their little boxes on auto-pilot see through the blinders of their own limitations. If YOU believe it, you can do it. Those who CHOOSE to rise to the top of their game.
* Use your spiritual faith to manifest. I often look up and say thanks for something I don’t have yet. As I became a faith-based person, I began to manifest small things. Each one led to more. Since I know with all my heart that I get support in everything I need, I take BIG risks. No matter how bad things have looked at times, I always waited for a miracle and always have enough money for what I want.
* Decide what’s more important—money or happiness. It’s definitely possible to have both, but happiness is a much more satisfying goal. Money often doesn’t make someone happy if the work sucks! As someone who sometimes lives on the financial edge—since I turn down all but things I want to do—I can say with certainty that being happy with what you do is the best gift you can give to yourself—much better than money can buy.
Don’t make excuses to stay unhappy with your job. And, there’s nothing wrong with having a job you don’t love but that doesn’t make you unhappy if it allows you to follow other passions. Being a happy person should be the outcome. If you go to an office with nice people, don’t feel like you can’t wait for the day to end—every day—and you have lots of joy outside the office, that could be the right track for you. Otherwise, use some of my tips to stir the passion in your life.
Living to the fullest is the best. You may be scared but when you are, remember that you can’t get the time you waste back. It’s better to try and not get
where you want than to look back when you’re older and feel regret that you didn’t take a chance. “What if I’d only done this or that?” can make your later years feel worse. I lived on the safe path when I was a DoorMat. And I was rarely happy. Now I wake up smiling every day. I encourage you to go for the smiles too!