How to find your passion

How to find your passion

Find your fire

Passionate people are the most employable. So how do you figure out what makes you tick?

BY FRAN MOLLOY

Leaving education for the workforce can be daunting and the choices ahead overwhelming. How do you find your passion – that single idea or mission that will make you leap out of bed in the morning, impatient to get to work? And if you don’t already have a passion, how do you develop one?

Sometimes, finding your passion is simply a case of following your curiosity. You might not have a clear vision for your career – but there are articles that fascinate you and movies that attract you; you are likely to be curious about things which aren’t immediately apparent to you.

Simply going through your internet browsing history could uncover a pattern of interests that start to make sense. These are the unique motivations that differentiate you.

Look back at your school days. What were your favourite subjects? Perhaps you really loved physical education and sports – would you be interested in a career in sports management or in the health sector? If it was art that floated your boat, consider design, or perhaps the entertainment industry.

How to find your passion with the billionaire challenge

Try out “the billionaire challenge”. Set up a large piece of paper as your record. Imagine you have one year off in which you can do whatever you want, and a billion dollars to help. What will you choose? Writing your ideas down in response can sometimes let a pattern emerge of interests that aren’t driven by practicality.

Writer Mark Manson says that most people get distracted by the idea that they must find that one thing they are passionate about – not knowing is the point, he says. You’re awake 16 hours a day – what do you do with your time? Your passion is probably right there in front of you – you’re just avoiding it.

A classic example is Steve Jobs’s curiosity for typefaces that led him to attend a seemingly useless class on typography, which lead to him developing his design sensibility. Later, this sensibility became an essential part of Apple computers and Apple’s core differentiator in the marketplace.

Here are five exercises to help you figure out how to find your passion… Continue reading

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1 Ancient future

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1 Ancient future

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2 Digital Dreamtime

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3 Meet and greet

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6 Keep on track

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Indigenous tech

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8 On the job

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9 Crack that code

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How to find your passion with 5 simple exercises

Exercise 1: Revisit your childhood. What did you love to do?

“It’s amazing how disconnected we become to the things that brought us the most joy in favour of what’s practical,” says Rob Levit, a creativity expert, speaker and business consultant.

Exercise 2:  Make a “creativity board”

Start by taking a large poster board, put the words “New Business” in the centre and create a collage of images, sayings, articles, poems and other inspirations, suggests Michael Michalko, author of creativity books and tools, including ThinkPak (Ten Speed Press, 2006).

“The idea behind this is that when you surround yourself with images of your intention – who you want to become or what you want to create – your awareness and passion will grow,” says Michael.

Exercise 3: Make a list of people who are where you want to be

You don’t have to reinvent the wheel when figuring out how to find your passion. Study people who have been successful in the area you want to pursue.

Exercise 4: Start doing what you love, even without a business plan

A lot of people wait until they have an extensive business plan written down, along with angel investors wanting to throw cash at them – and their ideas never see the light of day. Today is the day to jump in and start doing the things you’ve been dreaming of. 

Exercise 5: Take a break from business thinking

While it might feel uncomfortable to step outside of business mode, the mind sometimes needs a rest from such bottom-line thinking, says Rob Levit, who has recently taken up haiku, a form of Japanese poetry. Maybe for you, it will be creative writing, painting, running or even gardening. Light bulb moments often occur when you’re most relaxed and doing something completely unrelated to your goals. 

How to find your passion

“Imagine you have one year off in which you can do whatever you want, and a billion dollars to help. What will you choose?”

Fast facts

1. In 2013, Australia ranked ninth among OECD countries with an average full-time working week of 42.8 hours, according to a report by The Australia Institute.

2. Around 44.5% of Australia’s workforce is classified as “creative-class workers” – the fourth highest ranking in the world, according to the 2014 Deloitte Australia Shift Index report.

3. An estimated 68.8% of 2015 university graduates in Australia were in full-time employment within four months of completing their degrees (up from 68.1% in 2014), with the longer-term outlook very positive. Bachelor degree graduates in the wider Australian workforce have an unemployment rate of just 3.4% compared with an overall unemployment rate of 5.9%, according to Graduate Careers Australia.

Heather Catchpole

Author: Heather Catchpole

Heather co-founded Careers with STEM publisher Refraction Media. She loves storytelling, Asian food & dogs and has reported on science stories from live volcanoes and fossil digs