As Confucius said, “choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” It’s great advice, but it’s not always that simple—it can be difficult to figure out what you love and how to turn it into a viable business or job.
Often, our truest passion emerge during our childhood, only to be limited by real-life pressures. Think about what you loved long before you had to worry about your career. Writing? Science experiments? Taking care of people? Getting back in touch with those instincts is an important step in identifying your passion.
If money were no object, what would you do? Would you travel? Spend all of your time with your children? Would you start a charitable organisation to help abused women? Of course, money can’t be ignored, but don’t let financial pressures dictate your choices. Your career should ultimately lead to financial security, but if financial security is the defining motivator, it’s unlikely you’ll end up doing what you love.
Sometimes you’re just not the best judge of what makes you happy. Ask the people who know you intimately when you seem the happiest and what you do the most enthusiastically. Their answers may surprise you.
Find some quiet time and see which courses naturally interest you. What would you study if you could do it all over? What courses do you think you could teach? Which subjects scare you to death, and which ones do you find boring? Revisiting these possibilities will point you in the direction of the right subjects and topics that you love.
Of everyone you know, either personally or in your extended frame of reference (from your dermatologist to Oprah!), whose career would you most want to emulate? Reach out to her to learn more about how she got to where she is, or, if that’s not possible, read everything you can about her career and life.
After you’ve done these exercises, think about what you’ve learned. Focus on the things that you both enjoy and do well—whether you have a way with animals, make a killer lemon tart or crazy about origami—don’t forget to write them down. Then, narrow down the list to your top three or four interests. Review the list often and use it as a starting point when you’re plotting your career move.
Once you have a solid idea of what you love doing, it can still be a big leap to turn that passion into a viable career. Here are four easy steps to start making the change:
Career counsellors help others figure out what they want for a living, and they’ll have insights and tools to help you zero in on the things you love most and do best, and also be able to offer ideas and guidance on how to find a career that best suits those passions. Take advantage of those resources. Better still, take on a free psychometric test on careeradvisor.asia to help you with your search.
More than ever, we live in a social media world. Once you’ve identified what it is that you love, get busy on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, connecting with people who share your areas of interest. Read blogs, join forums, and find out what it’s really like to do what you love.
Once you feel strongly that you want to start down this new path, start saving. A lot. The more money you have in the bank, the fewer financial commitments will influence your decisions and the less stressful it will be if and when you do quit your job.
Ultimately, you won’t really know what you love doing unless you actually bite the bullet. Until you give it a go, it’s really just speculation. So, whether you take a small step like signing up for a class or you dive head-first into entrepreneurship, roll up your sleeves and do it. You’ll never know until you try.