When people talk about finding a career that they love you often hear the word passion, finding your passion. But what if you can’t find it? There isn’t anything you feel that strongly about and can imagine yourself doing for the rest of your working life.
When I was contemplating making a change in my career, I can remember desperately trying to wrack my brains to think about what was I passionate about and drawing a blank. The fact that I had to wrack my brains should have been my first clue! Don’t get me wrong I totally support the concept that if you turn your passions into your job then you will never work again. (i.e. work will not feel like work.) I have asked my own coaching clients about their passions. But I struggled with the word passion, it's a very strong word and for some of us, is hard to even contemplate. Because I couldn’t figure out my passion I kept on ignoring that inner desire that I should be doing something else and just buried my head in the sand.
Passion… what does the word conjure up for you? An intense feeling, belief or drive to do something? For a middle-class conservative thinker, risk-averse girl like me, the word passion was a bit out there, a tad extreme! I was putting huge pressure on myself to figure out what I had intense feelings for that I could do for the rest of my working life.
My problem was twofold. I was putting too much emphasis on the word passion and making further demands that this passion had to be so intense it would hold my interest for the rest of my working life. This was a real lightbulb moment for me. By replacing the word passion and letting go off finding a career that had longevity I was able to make my breakthrough and move forward.
If you are struggling with this very concept here are two shifts in thinking that may help you achieve your career breakthrough, it worked for me:
1. Let go of the word passion
The Oxford dictionary defines passion as ‘Strong and barely controllable emotion.’ However, if you explore further meaning and examples you will find this one ‘An intense desire or enthusiasm for something.’ Enthusiasm, interest, enjoyment, excitement are all words I feel comfortable using and could relate to having experienced. By replacing the word passion I was able to start to identify potential areas for further exploration. Let go of the question ‘What am I passionate about?’ Instead, consider these:
- What do I enjoy doing at work that I am good at?
- What do I get excited about outside of work?
- What am I enthusiastic about?
- What subjects catch my interest if I am watching TV or reading?
You do not need to have a passion, but you do need to know what will make you happy, it's about finding a career that fits you.
2. A career for now
Gone are the days of a career for life that our grandparents and even our parents were brought up in. Just because you are changing your career does not mean you have failed in getting it right the first time around, your interests, your priorities, your needs have changed. You want something different for yourself and are taking steps to be happier. 46% of us will retrain during our career (I’ve done it twice!). The world of work is changing as automation takes over and our needs are evolving. Your next career may be the one for the rest of your life but take the pressure off for now and instead consider what you need from your career right now and the immediate next few years. Who knows what is around the corner, you could win the lottery or actually find that passion!
Instead, focus on what do you need your career to be able to do for you right now. Do you need flexibility in the way you work, do you need to earn a certain amount to support your family, do you need to be based in a certain location.
Making a career change can be hard and obstacles whether real or perceived will appear, but it is absolutely possible, believe me! If you know you are destined to do something else but are struggling to figure out what, then consider how you can get support through coaching programs. If you would like to know more about my coaching practice then why not schedule a free introductory call and we can explore together what is holding you back.