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How to Find Passion in Your Job

Photo by Kara Pecknold

Are you in a stage of loving your life so much that you would pay money to live it? If not? What can you do about it? A common question asked is, “I really want to feel that way, but I’m just not passionate about anything. How do I find passion?”

A friend of mine asked me that question a few weeks ago. He has a high paying job and what appears to lead a full and fulfilling life, complete with volunteering and interesting hobbies. But he felt that something was still missing. He was looking for his purpose and genuinely wanted to find his passion. “I like a lot of things, but I don’t have any passions. How can I find passion, Tina?” This is a great question, and one that got me pondering about the topic. This article specifically looks at finding passion in your job.

This is part two of my notes from Professor Srikumar Rao‘s google talk, along with my personal thoughts on the topic. You can find part one here: How to Make Profound and Lasting Change.

The Problem

Most of us make the mistake of assuming that our ideal job is out there somewhere, and we have to go out and find it. We tell ourselves that our lives will be great, just as soon as we find it. As a result, we end up defining our ideal job using a widely accepted, but arbitrary, set of parameters. How much the job pays, job title on your business card, type of person our boss is, size of our office, how much we get to travel. We say in our minds, once I can find that, then I can be passionate about my job. Chances are, that job probably doesn’t exist. Assuming that it did exist and we were put into that situation, within a few months, we will probably be back in the same state we are now. Unsatisfied.

 

 

The Secret to Passion

Passion do not exist in the job, it exists within us. Either we find it in us right where we are, or we will never find it. Only within us, can the passions of our soul shine through. The best place to start igniting that passion, is where you are, right now.

The beautiful thing is that if you ignite passion within you from where you are, the external world has a miraculous and magnificent way of rearranging itself to suit the new person you are becoming.

 

The Unhappiness Spiral

Every time we are unhappy with what we are doing, or we feel frustrated, angry or disappointed, two things are always true:

  1. We are concentrating exclusively on the two or three things that are wrong with the job. We ignore the 30 or 40 things that are pretty good about it.
  2. We are living completely in a Me Centered Universe. We tell ourselves, “Oh, poor me. Poor me. How unfair this situation is.” We start to view our lives as if everything existed as to make things more difficult for us. We focus entirely on how the world affects us. It is impossible to live a truly fulfilled life if we are living exclusively in a Me Centered Universe.

 

Exercise: How to Find Passion in Your Job

We all have the innate power to transform ourselves and our life situations for the better. Most of the time, it is as simple as a shift in our perspective. The following is an exercise to help us get out of that space consumed with negativity about our present situation. The exercise is tailored to finding passion in your job, but it really applies to every area of life.

  1. Take a notebook with you at all times.
  2. Systematically noting down things that are pretty darn good about your job. Things you enjoy. Things you are grateful for. Co-workers you like.
  3. Take one thing from this list that is important to you and significant to the company. Come up with a simple one month project where you will be increasing that component in your daily life. Example, if you work with a few pleasant customers, then the project could be: how to get more customers like that? Or, how to get our current customers to be like that? Or, how to get more work with those pleasant customers?
  4. Do something every day to help you accomplish your projects goal. It’s best to do this in the morning as a priority item, but anytime during the day will give you a boost.
  5. Evaluate your progress at the end of the month. Give yourself more time if you need.

Through actively practicing the exercise above, you will discover that there is an enormous amount that is great about your job and your present situation. The act of noting down the things you like, will take you to a different space. If you continue with points 3-5 consistently, by the end of the year, you will have completed as many as 6 projects that are important to you and are significant to the company.

This exercise forces you change what you focus on, which changes your perspective and outlook. You will find that you are no longer in the job you dreaded, your entire professional life has changed and your ideal job has grown around you. Recognize that you were the creator of that ideal job and the creator for this positive space you are currently living in.

Parting Words

Sometimes, we spend so much of our free time thinking about how much we dislike our current situation that we forget that what we repeat in our heads becomes our reality. The more we repeat that story, the more we reinforce that story. As we reinforce the story, we identify with it and it changes your perspective. What we often do not realize is that these stories we tell ourselves are hurting us. One of the best gifts we can give ourselves is to recognize that we are not our stories, and to becoming aware of when our mind chatter starts telling these stories.

We are never as stuck as we think. We are never as ‘incompetent’ as we think. We are never as insecure as our minds have us believe. Practice being the observer to your mind, thoughts and stories.

What is one aspect of your job or life situation that you are unhappy about? What are some things (name several) you enjoy about your job or life situation? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below. See you there!

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About the author

Tina Su is a mom, a wife, a lover of Apple products and a CHO (Chief Happiness Officer) for our motivational community: Think Simple Now. She is obsessed with encouraging and empowering people to lead conscious and happy lives. Subscribe to new inspiring stories each week. You can also subscribe to Tina on Facebook.

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95 thoughts on How to Find Passion in Your Job

  1. Wonderful post. I am so glad that I stumbled onto your great site. I talk a lot about passion and personal accountability on my sites, and agree that we need to find it within. Not just for work, but for all things in life. Thanks for that nice post.

    peace,

    Mike

    livelife365

  2. I’ll use your tips to deal with the problem and see what happens.

    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Jef

    Hi, im a long time reader. Nice note and i bet this can help me with school and other things i dread.
    Just wondering, where do u get those colorful pictures you show at every post you make?

    thanks – jef

    **********************
    REPLY

    Hey Jef! I get the pictures either from a friend on flickr or I purchase them from istock photo. I include a link after each image state where I got them from, and if from flickr, I include their name as well. I love matching pictures to posts, and spent much time on it (about an hour per image). :)
    Lemme know if you have any other questions.

    Tina

  4. I love the very specific, proactive steps you outline in this post. I imagine that it will help me to re-focus my energies at work and in projects at home. I know that I feel a great deal of contentment when I accomplish a task, this should reinforce the focus on the positive ones and increasing the number of those in my daily life.

  5. ‘Passion do not exist in the job, it exists within us. Either we find it in us right where we are, or we will never find it.’

    I like this quote. This is what I should read and practise to feel better about my current (boring) job.

    Thanks!

  6. I don’t know. Sometimes changing the situation IS more important than changing the attitude.

  7. good ideas worth reading but some times u can help it if your boss is toooo bossey

  8. Very informative & motivational post!

    I do agree with you that passion does not exist in the task; we have to be passionate enough to achieve the desired results.

  9. Nice article. Thought, i think that applying such “mind discipline” may force us to satisfy ourselves with a some situations that are not objectively satisfying. “I do a cool job, i do a cool job, I do a cool job, and i persuate myself that it is a cool job”.

    You’re true when you’re saying that we see everytime the bad side of things and forget the good one, but what we really need is trying to obtain the objective vision of our situation, to my mind.

  10. DEXX

    I believe there is truth to all of the comments posted on this blog. While we are conditioned by society to label certain situations and experiences good and others bad I do think it is our attitude and self dialogue that place it on a spectrum. Its bad…but its not the end or its good…but there is room for improvement. Occu-passions do exist for those with the well being to tap into that emotion in the first place. For many others and myself it is a constant struggle to remember the things that satisfy me when discontentment is easier to detect. Thank God for people like Tina to remind us.

  11. I’m a fan of making the most of whatever you do. If you play your best game, I think you get more opportunities to find the passion in what you already do.

  12. I’m a graphic designer and to many I have a “dream job”. I’m always amazed when people are fascinated by what I do and it’s sometimes a reminder to realize how good I have it. However, I’m going to do this 5 step exercise because right now I really think I need it. Thanks again!

  13. There is a different story on my end. I always remain too busy in my job that deadlines keep running after me like anything. At times I sit and look back– i do fins a sense of satisfaction on whatever that has happened. maybe this is the passion you talked about and I am one those who are lucky to posses that.

  14. “Passion is the genesis of genius.” -Tony Robbins

    Hey Tina,

    Follow your passion and you won’t make wrong decisions.

    Like you mentioned, you don’t find the right job/project/movement; it finds you. Some project with the exact specifications for what you’re passionate about doesn’t exist. And even if it did, the precise activities you like to do will change, and the job will stop being perfect.

    By embracing your passion, you attract the right work to you. No, it doesn’t magically float over in your direction. Rather, you start noticing and giving yourself permission to get to work on projects that you get most excited by, not what “seems right.”

    The passion is inside you. By embracing and allowing yourself to follow it, you’ll do less boring stuff and more that excites you, that lights the fire and pumps your spirit.

    Awesome reminder on the importance of following our passion,
    Oleg

  15. Krystal

    I hate my job so much (think it is a total mismatch and the whole dept could just call it the ‘scam’ dept) but after reading this article, I manage to cut back on some tears. Thank you.

  16. Jean

    I love this article because so many people seem unhappy in their career. I am actually looking for a book to reignite passion with people in their current jobs to share with my team. Either a workbook or one with good ideas I can research and share. Any ideas anyone?

  17. You’re true when you’re saying that we see everytime the bad side of things and forget the good one, but what we really need is trying to obtain the objective vision of our situation, to my mind.

  18. Excellent article and well said. Thank you for your thoughts and insights. I hope more people “get this.” Thanks!!!!

  19. I like and agree with this article. We must uncover our true purpose and passion and the rewards will come to us. This is the focus of my coaching practice and I’ve just written a book called Finding Your Best Job Ever….available at Amazon.com and Kindle

  20. Hi, I just read your article and followed the comments. In my practice I help people identify their core values so that they can recognize whether they are in the right place/working in the right job. There is nothing more painful than working 8 or more hours a day at a job you hate. What’s more painful is to believe that you have no choice.

    My new book “Finding your Best Job Ever” is available at Amazon.com

  21. It is appropriate time to make some plans for the future and
    it’s time to be happy. I’ve read this post and if I may I desire to suggest you some fascinating things or tips.
    Maybe you can write next articles regarding this article. I desire to read even more things about it!

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