If you’re still looking for your passion and you’re not sure what you want to do in your life, you’re not the only one! When it comes to finding your passion and discovering the right career path, there are lots of myths that can hold you back. In this article, we’ll be discussing the truth about finding your passion. I’ll also debunk some of the myths about finding your passion that might be preventing you from getting unstuck, figuring out what you want, and finding work you love.
But first, what is passion?
Before we get started, it’s important to define what we mean by the word passion when you talk about work or your career. If you Google “the true meaning of passion”, you’ll quickly realize that there are many different definitions including:
- Strong and barely controllable emotion
- An intense desire and enthusiasm for something
- The suffering and death of Jesus
And that’s just a very small sample of the definitions out there. But one of the most interesting things about the word passion which rarely gets talked about is its Latin origin which meant suffering.
“suffering, enduring,” from past participle stem of Latin pati “to endure, undergo, experience,” a word of uncertain origin. The notion is “that which must be endured.” – Etymonline
And this is important to remember because when you’re passionate about something, you will do what it takes- you will be prepared to suffer for what you love.
Before you panic, suffering for what you love doesn’t have to mean enduring unbearable or excruciating pain. It could just mean getting out of your comfort zone, pushing yourself to work on a side hustle after your day job, stretching yourself to learn something new to make the transition you want to make, or attending networking events that you previously avoided. This is what doing what it takes looks like.
One thing that every definition has in common is the strong emotional feeling that drives you to action.
Once you’re committed to the fact that in order to do what you’re passionate about, you’ll have to do what it takes to get there, you’ll start to make progress towards finding your path, and many of the myths that we’ll go on to discuss shortly will no longer hold you back.
Passion Myths debunked
While some of these myths might not sound that harmful, believing them will put a halt on any plans you have to one day be doing work you love. That’s why it’s important to recognize them for what they are. Stories that we tell ourselves, or that society or other people will have us believe. But remember, stories are just stories and it doesn’t mean they’re true.
Myth #1 You need to find your passion by a certain age, date or point in your life
Do you know someone who seems super successful, their career looks great, they have good friends and loved ones around them, but, they see themselves as a failure? They think their life is not on track because they wanted to achieve something specific before they reached a certain age and now they’ve passed that age, they don’t see themselves as successful at all, despite everything else they’ve achieved.
Maybe they wanted to be on the 30 under 30 list. Perhaps they wanted to be married with children by a certain age. Whatever it is they wanted- they’ve created a rule for themselves that dictates that to be successful means they must have achieved these things by that set date or age- otherwise, they’ve failed.
Can you see how easy it is to set yourself up for a life of misery?
Are you setting yourself up for misery when it comes to finding your passion?
We all create rules that we live by. Some of these rules are out in the open and everyone knows them, but other rules are so deep within you that you might not even realize you have them.
The idea that you have to have found your life’s passion or launched your dream career by a certain age or date is just one example of these rules that many of us believe.
The problem with some of these rules is that they set you up for misery. If you’ve already passed a certain age and your rules have no wiggle room then the possibility of finding your passion will seem slim to none. So what would be the point in trying? According to your rules you’ve already failed.
And these rules can be about anything, not just age. One of the most common reasons people struggle to change career direction is the fact that they’ve devoted so many years to their current career path and they have a rule that says that once they commit to a certain point, it’s too late to change.
If you’ve been in your industry for 10 years or even more, it’s understandable to feel that it might be too late to transition, but this is not the case.
There are lots of people who discovered their passions and “made it” later on in their careers and after building successful first careers in other areas. Proving that there is no time limit to changing your career and ultimately your life if that’s what you want. What’s more, many of these people have gone on to do things that have made a huge impact on so many – something which wouldn’t have happened had they given up.
Myth # 2 You can’t earn any money doing things that you’re passionate about and you should, stay in a job you hate for the money.
The idea that you can’t make any money doing things you enjoy is a common notion, but one that’s firstly extremely dated and secondly filled with assumptions.
The Starving Artist
I grew up in a household where all career talk centered around becoming a doctor. And if not this, then at least becoming a scientist -doing something “real.” This limited perspective of what a career should look is where this idea stems from.
We all know the concept of the starving artist. People who are passionate about their art and pursuing it enthusiastically, but alas making no money and struggling to make a living.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I agree that some paths are more complicated, competitive, or more ambiguous than others. This is all true. However, there have been many advancements wich have created opportunities that never existed before. We now have the internet and social media and with that, a whole host of new ways to pursue certain passions and make an income from them in ways that we previously couldn’t.
This myth also ignores a key element to a successful and fulfilling career- purpose. AKA – You’re why. Not to mention the concept of adding value. If you have an interest in something or you have some skill or talent, the secret to working within your passion is finding a way to add value to other people’s lives, while working in alignment with your purpose – if you can do that, then in this day and age, anything is possible.
Myth #3 If you haven’t found your passion by now, you don’t have one and your dream career isn’t out there.
I had a massage, a while back, and being me, at the end I got talking to the masseuse. I was very interested to know how she came to be a masseuse and what I discovered was a wonderful surprise. Better still, it was a great lesson that I will share with you now.
As it turns out, she was a former Chemist, then a teacher before becoming a masseuse. When we spoke, she was already in the process of learning programming and preparing to change careers again.
While she had enjoyed all these careers, for her, her passion was constantly learning new skills and she felt that with so much out there she wanted to learn, one career just wasn’t enough to satisfy this desire.
The lesson here is this.
Only by taking a first step towards finding work that’s meaningful to you will you find what you’re truly passionate about. And you might surprise yourself along the way.
You are an incredible and complicated being. You won’t be able to think your way to finding your passion in a quiet darkened room. The journey to finding your passions will be a journey of self-discovery and if you get started, there’s no telling where you might end up. Your passions might be buried so deep down inside that what’s needed to uncover them is a powerful experience or a mind-blowing conversation. One that you’ll only have when you attend that next event. You just don’t know it yet.
Or perhaps, you just need a coach to help you dig it out.
If you’re ready to get started then take the next steps below:
1. Get clear on what your values are if you want long term career satisfaction:
2. If you’re completely stuck and struggling to figure out what steps to take to get unstuck then do these: