It’s unlikely that as a kid when asked what you wanted to do when you grow up, you proudly proclaimed, “I want to work in data entry at a mid level industrial supply company!” For the luckiest among us, our jobs are our personal passions. If so, congratulations! Like the cliché every guidance counselor repeats ad nauseum: if you love what you, you don’t have to work a day in your life. Unfortunately, not everybody is lucky enough to marry their passion to their paychecks (and by passions, I don’t mean the type in romance novels).
Discover Your Passions
The first step is obviously to figure out what you’re passionate about. For some people, it’s art, or music, or sports. Or maybe it’s writing, or fishing, or cross stitching, or cosplay, or model trains, or salsa dancing, or collecting baseball (or Pokémon) cards. Whatever you’re passionate about (provided it doesn’t hurt anyone or prevent you from functioning in your daily life), figure it out!
Cultivate Your Passions
Once you figure out your passion, grow it. If you figure out you love watching football, expand on that. Maybe there’s a flag football team in your neighborhood you could join, or a fantasy league to play with your co-workers. If you love music, learn a new instrument, or try to write songs. One of the best ways to cultivate a personal passion is learning more about it. If you love swords, learn as much as you can about swords. Whether you’re interested in the Civil War, or Batman, or fashion, learn about it! Public libraries always have plenty of resources, whether books, DVDs, or access to online databases.
Maintain Your Passions
Sometimes we know our passions, but let them wither on the vine, so to speak. They can be hard to maintain, especially when life gets busy. Find a way to make it a habit, or a scheduled thing. Maybe Tuesday evenings are your “hobby night,” or find a club that meets regularly to play Magic the Gathering or a softball league to join on Saturday afternoons. Find a way to fit your passion into your life so it’s not disruptive to what you need to do, but it’s regular enough to help you feel fulfilled and happy.
If your work is your passion, then make sure you’re treating it that way, doing the best you can and loving it as much as possible. If it’s not, make sure you’re finding ways to feed and nurture that passion in a way that doesn’t interfere with your ability to make an income, but can help make the time at work less awful because you can look forward to that dance class after your shift, or appreciate the hours you get because you’re making money to put into that classic Chevy you’re restoring. Include reminders of your passion in your workspace, by making your computer background related, or putting a figurine on your desk. Sometimes these little things help prevent burnout, keep us engaged, and remind us what makes the work worth it.