A passion is something that people deem necessary in order to start a certain career or a certain life path. What if you don’t know what that passion is yet? No need to worry, your job doesn’t need to be your passion.
Recently I have found another job and am switching in a couple of months. I am not a person who hates their job, although I am not a big fan of getting up early to work full-time on other people’s priorities.
You can say that my day job isn’t my passion. It is something that I would be interested in for a couple of hours per week, but going to the office 5 days per week is giving up my freedom of time.
I say why does your job need to be your passion? What I really enjoy doing is writing stuff, even though I don’t always have the time I want to dedicate to it. I wake up early so I can write for a couple of hours in the morning before going to work.
Recently when I returned home from my mini-retirement, I was not motivated to blog at all. I was wondering why I was doing it and I had the feeling I was only going backward. When I self-corrected, I have learned a lot from that.
I will share with you what I’ve learned over the last month about passion and jobs. Here is why your day job doesn’t need to be your passion.
Get To Know Yourself
The first thing you need to do is to get to know yourself. The most important things you need to know:
- What are you naturally good at?
- What do you love doing?
- Think about what job you (dis)liked the most, why?
- What are the most important values that you don’t settle on?
- What things make your heart sing?
- If you couldn’t fail at anything, what would you try?
Write down the answer to your questions and reflect on them. They will uncover a lot about your likes, dislikes, talents, motivators, and much more. It can be a starting point to see what it is you should be doing.
Look at your interests, motivators, and talents as always changing. They are extremely dynamic and depend a lot on which phase in life you’re currently in. You won’t be the same person in a couple of years, so don’t expect your interests to stay the same.
As you grow, your passions grow with you. Some will stick, some won’t. That is all perfectly fine.
Stop thinking that your passions or interests are something that is fixed from a young age. Yes, some people won’t have a passion and that’s totally okay.
While it is largely encouraged to ‘follow your passion’, many don’t even have one. If you do have one, expect your passions to change over time.
Another thing that people think, is that you will randomly bump into your passion at the supermarket. This is a romanticized version that doesn’t hold true for most people. Those movies where 8-year-olds are amazing at math and solve entire world problems before noon? That’s not the majority, so do not compare yourself with them.
Most people will not ‘find’ their passion. It is something that is developed through internal reflection and outside work.
Developing your passion sounds like it is something fun, but it is a learning process with many ups and downs.
Take One Step At A Time
It can be overwhelming when you want to take too many steps at the same time. You’re looking at a point on the horizon and wondering why you’re not there yet. You want to do 100 things at the same time and it never seems you’re doing enough.
This is what happened to me and I can ensure you it is far from productive.
When you are choosing a certain business or career direction, just because you want to reach this major goal. You’re looking too far ahead. Take it easy, take one step at a time.
When you’re taking it one step at a time, you’re preventing overwhelm and still focusing on your goals and your dreams.
For example, many people want to become famous. While that can be great, it will not solve your problems. I recently read this amazing article by Time Ferriss about what it is really like to be famous. This article touches upon the fact that many people think that this *insert goal* is going to help them find joy or happiness again. BUT oftentimes, people have no idea what it is actually like to reach that goal.
Thinking about your goal is great and gives you a lot of motivation, but it will not bring you ultimate happiness.
Thinking about the why behind your goals is even better. It will make you think about what is the essence of what you want to achieve. Do you want to be famous to have a sense of significance, importance, feel like you’re good enough? Those are all examples of things that are solved internally, not externally.
When you’re focusing on the essence of what you want in life, you can start taking different initiatives to get that feeling without drastically changing your life. Take tiny steps forward before you change your entire life around that one thing you think you want. It would be a shame if it is not what you really thought it would be and now you’re stuck with it.
If you’re focusing on trying these small things and getting the essence of what you want to achieve, you can already live your passion or interest in small increments and see if you’re happier for it.
Learn To Set Your Boundaries
Once you know what you want and you’re taking steps to get there, that’s so great! The thing you need to beware of is to set proper boundaries to stay there.
If you’re making a change in your life, not everything will stay the same. For example, if you start a blog and want to write three articles a week, something has to give. It is not realistic to only add things to your life without subtracting anything else. You’re getting up earlier and going to bed earlier, making that you can’t watch the series you want or you can’t meet friends during weekdays anymore.
It is important that you’re able to make time for this journey to create a better life for yourself. Prioritize yourself and what you want.
If you’re saving ‘no’ to something that isn’t high on your priority list, that means you’re saying ‘yes’ to something you really want.
It can be hard to say no to friends, but it is essential to prioritize what you want from yourself first. You can’t pour from an empty cup.
Consistently work towards what you want and don’t expect your job to be your passion any time soon.
There Are A Few Lucky Folks
Do you remember that famous Steve Jobs video at Stanford? He talks about doing what you love. Of course, there are always a lucky few who can do what they love 100% of the time. People follow him blindly because of his success.
He has accomplished very great things. He’s a genius. A genius who our world only sees every couple of years or even decades.
The thing is people who already know what their passion and true calling in life is, don’t need to hear this advice. They are very busy doing what they want to do and they know exactly where they want to go.
They rarely have to reflect on what they want to do in their lives and they don’t have to question whether their day job is their passion.
For the people who are not having that great passion be their full-time job, follow what you love outside of your day job and it will come to you in due time. Contribute as much as possible to the world and it will come back to you.
Every single one of you has a great gift to give to the world. We all have our own views, interests, and skills to add. Follow that and make sure you’re keeping it fun.
Be very aware of when you want to create an income out of your passion, this can become stressful and is not what you intended with it in the first place.
Follow your impact and maximize it by paying attention to it.
I am not the greatest financial consultant, nor do I want to be. I want to maximize my income from my day job in the shortest amount possible, use that income, and create my ideal life.
All In All – Why Your Job Doesn’t Need To Be Your Passion
Giving people the message that your job needs to be your passion can be very discouraging for many people.
It is important to get to know yourself first, to know what you want and why you want that. When you do know what you want you can start doing more of what gives you joy and less of what doesn’t.
Stick to your new habits and your new way of living, as there may need to be a couple of sacrifices along the way.
If you haven’t found your passion in your dream job yet, follow it outside of your dream job. Do what you love and contribute to the world. When you do that, it will come back to you.
Do you think that your job doesn’t need to be your passion?
Founder of Spark Nomad, Radical FIRE, Journalist
Expertise: Personal finance and travel content
Education: Bachelor of Economics at Radboud University, Master in Finance at Radboud University, Minor in Economics at Chapman University.
Over 200 articles, essays, and short stories published across the web.
Experience: Marjolein Dilven is a journalist and founder of Spark Nomad, a travel platform, and Radical FIRE, a personal finance platform. Marjolein has a finance and economics background with a master’s in Finance. She has quit her job to travel the world, documenting her travels on Spark Nomad to help people plan their travels. Marjolein Dilven has written for publications like MSN, Associated Press, CNBC, Town News syndicate, and more.