“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” – Steve Jobs
I’m sure you know at least one person in your life who pretty much had their career and life path figured out since they were kids. They got their sights on becoming a lawyer, nurse, or engineer, followed a fixed path into realizing their dream careers and are now pretty much “set” for life.
Most of us aren’t as fortunate. Though we’ve all had childhood dream jobs, as we grew up and learn more about ourselves, we found out that perhaps that cool job we envisioned of having as a kid isn’t what we really wanted to do or turned out to be extremely difficult to realize. As a result, many of us we are left dazed and confused trying to figure out what it is that we are meant to do with our lives.
If you ever seek for advice on this matter, chances are, you’ve been told to “follow your passion“. This is great advice if you already know what it is you are passionate about but what should you do if you don’t?. I suggest that you do everything in your power to find out just what your passion is by seeking the things that excite you, the things that make you truly come alive.
Speaking from my own experience, you may find this contemplation will far from being a walk in the park. I’ve spent the better part of my 20’s taking the trial and error approach to desperately find my elusive passion.
Even though I managed to stick with the same majors throughout college (Business & Economics), by time senior year came around when my peers were already running around in a frenzy sending out their CVs and going to interviews in hopes to get a spot at the top prestigious firms right out of graduation, I find myself going against the tide. I chose not to send out my resumes to any of the big companies and opted for the smaller/ boutique firms. I remembered thinking how silly my peers were because of almost all of them, in exception to few, wanted the top jobs due to one thing: great pay.
I’m eternally grateful that though I wasn’t sure as to what I wanted to do with my life back then, I was already aware of what I do not want: a well paid but soul-crushing job. I ended up accepting a decently paid job at a medium-sized marketing firm with a kick-ass boss, a slew of challenging tasks and fun colleagues.
But then, the Universe intervened.
Whilst waiting for the job to start in the fall, I visited my family abroad during the summer and took an internship at a boutique executive search (headhunter) firm.
Little did I know then, this decision ended up changing how my life was to unravel. Long story short, I was offered a managerial position and after much deliberation, I decided to accept it. I loved the job and everything that comes with it but after about 2 years, I realized that it wasn’t quite what I wanted to pursue in the long run. After that, I decided to take more risks and jumped from one industry to another.
Ever since then, I figured I should at least try any job that seemed interesting and challenging. As a result, in the span of 8 short years, I had worked jobs in the diverse industries of Human Resource, Law, Non-Profit and Public Relations. Though my current CV makes me look as if I’m “indecisive“, the experiences, knowledge, skills, and network that I’ve gathered along the way is simply priceless and helped me to find my true passions. The road to finding them was certainly long and winding but it was well worth it and I wouldn’t have want it any other way.
If finding your passion(s) sounds too daunting and risky to you, ask yourself this question: are you willing to risk to live your life without passion and always having to wonder what could have been? If you yearn and desire to live your best life, you must be willing to step out of your comfort zone in order to find and live out your passion. The life of your dreams can be a reality, but first, you let go of the fear that has been holding you back and finding out just what it is that makes you truly come alive.
“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the things that you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover” – Mark Twain.