“There is no job that’s better than another job. It might pay better, it might have better benefits, it might look better on a resume and on paper. But actually, it’s not better. Every job is worthwhile and valuable.”
Many people operate under the dysfunctional belief that they just need to find out what they are passionate about. Once they know their passion, everything else will somehow magically fall into place. I hate this idea for one very good reason: most people don’t know their passion.
William Damon, director of the Stanford Centre on Adolescence, found that only one in five young people between twelve and twenty-six have a clear vision of where they want to go, what thy want to accomplish in life, and why. Our experience suggests, similarly, that 80 percent of people of all ages don’t really know what they are passionate about.
So conversations with career counsellors often go like this:
Career Counsellor: “What are you passionate about?”
Job Seeker: “I don’t know.”
Career Counsellor: “Well, come back when you figure it out.”
Some career counsellors will give people tests to assess people’s interests or strengths, or to survey their skills, but anyone who has taken such tests knows that the conclusions are often far from conclusive. Besides, finding out that you could be a pilot, an engineer, or an elervator repairman isn’t very helpful or actionable.
I remember coaching one particular lady who started crying when I had this very conversation with her, she came to me because she was very unhappy in her very well paid six figure job in the city with all the trappings but felt unfulfilled, when we finally got to the core of what she really was passionate about, she wanted to be was a vet.
So we’re not very passionate about finding your passion. I believe that people actually need to take time to develop a passion. And the research shows that, for most people, passion comes after they try something, discover they like it, and develop mastery – not before.
To put it more succinctly: passion is the result of a good life design, not a cause.
Your life is not a thing; it’s an experience; the fun comes from designing and enjoying the experience and doing a job you love.
The reframe for the question “What do you want to be when you grow up?” is this: “Who or what do you want to grow into?”
Life is all about growth and change. It’s not static. It’s not about some destination. It’s not about answering the question once and for all and then it’s done. Nobody really knows what he or she wants to be. Even those who checked a box for doctor, lawyer, or engineer. These are just vague directions on a life path.
I encourage people when they are looking for a new job or career move to be curious, to try stuff then only then maybe one of these will turn into a passion that you would really be passionate about doing.
I for one have lots of different passions, from being an artist, dancer, inventor, I even have the sewing machine, but, it does not mean I want to take these passions up to make a living from them.