A Shorthand Guide to Finding Your Passion

We’ve all heard the saying, “Do what you love,” and having a job that we look forward to everyday isn’t as far-fetched as many may think. The key to this is self-awareness, which is an important component to both personal development and professional development. When we reflect on our strengths and weaknesses, we find what we’re truly passionate about and that is the key to finding a job that’s the perfect fit.

If you can’t list what you’re passionate about off the top of your head, don’t worry you’re not alone. There are a couple tips out here to help you uncover your passions.

Tip #1 Think back to when you were a child—what made you happy? What made you stand out?

When we were children, we didn’t care what others thought of us. We followed our passions and did what made us happy. When I was in elementary school, I LOVED to read. I was never seen without a book, whether it was lunchtime, recess, class or you name it. In fact, my third grade teacher scolded me in class once to put my book down and pay attention. I was nominated for an accelerating reading program and had amassed enough points to serve as principal for a day – a feat that no student had accomplished since I had been there! However, in middle school I began to hide my love for books with fear of being labeled as nerdy. As I’ve grown I’ve learned to embrace the nerdy side of myself and have found friends who share my passion for books.  Reflect on what made you happy as a kid to uncover talents you have that others may not.

Tip #2 Follow your curiosity

Ask yourself the question: what are you naturally drawn to?  Be inquisitive. Your innate curiosity is your natural born instinct to be drawn to areas of interest to which you will be successful. Pursuing these interests is what can set you apart from your colleagues and is ultimately what make you a unique individual! Have you always doodled as you take notes in accounting, but have always daydreamed about being a children’s book illustrator? Are you involved in a service organization, but have always wanted to lead a mission trip? Do you waitress at a restaurant but have always thought about starting your fashion business? Whatever it may be, go after it! You never know where your curiosity may take you. More likely than not, it will be to your true passion.

Tip #3 Be Humble-Proud

Have you ever had someone tell you, “Great job on that presentation, you crushed it!” only to respond with, “Oh, no, it was nothing. “ You may be trying to come off as humble, but there’s no need to turn down the compliment!  Although presenting may come naturally to you, don’t assume that it comes just as easily to someone else—you may have truly blown them away with your confidence!  When it comes to job searching, never play down your accomplishments. If you’ve been told that you’re a great public speaker, be sure to list “confident speaker” as one of your skills. It’s one that not many people have. Your superpowers should be on your resume, so make sure they shine! But the important thing to remember is that there is a difference between bragging and humble-bragging.

Tip #4 It’s not all about the money

The all too obvious—don’t make money your primary consideration. You may have heard it thousands of times but we truly can’t emphasize the importance of this, especially to recent graduates on the job search.  I’ll never forget the story my mom once told me from Suze Orman’s, The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke. The story was about Lauren, a college graduate with a passion for designing shoes, but she had only received a job offer from a toy designing company. Although the job paid well, Suze advised her to say no and hold out until her dream job came along, but when it did, the pay was not great. Suze advised her to take the job, work hard and prove herself. Lauren did and was soon promoted, and was making more than she ever would a toy designer. Your dream job and your dream pay– Isn’t that what we all want?  Your passion will always prevail, so stick it out and stay true to yourself. The end pay-off is far greater than any starting salary.

When we dig deep, and find what we’re passionate about, it will make our work life that much more enjoyable. Use your passions to guide you and help you find where you’ll truly be happy. Good luck!

Adapted from: 4 Ways to Figure Out What You’re Good At (Not Just What You’re Passionate About) and 4 Practical Ways To Find Your Life’s Passion And A Career You Love