Career Growth, Confidence

Where’s Your Fire?

Where is your fire, your passion? What makes you jump out of bed at 5am?

If your dreams feel like work, then you’re doing the wrong work.

Working on fulfilling your dreams should be stressful… BUT a good stress.  You must distinguish between a stress that invigorates you and a stress that depresses you.

If you’re worried, anxious, feeling guilty and the stress is unbearable, than the payoff, the reward (your salary, challenges, autonomy, creativity) is not enough.

I can’t give you passion, or tell you where to find it. I can only emphasize that without passion you’re probably fulfilling someone else’s dreams.

Your passion should be a way of life for you; it should be ingrained into your daily regime, your habits, your intuition, and your disposition.

If you think success is an option then you’re doing the wrong work, you’re in the wrong career; you’re on the wrong path.

People who complain that they don’t know what to do are often just confused, so they just drift from course to course, job to job without ever realizing what they want in life.

Treat every job as an opportunity to learn something new. Learn new skills, challenge yourself and then move onto another job.

Part of finding your passion is figuring out what you do NOT like to do.

Follow my TIPS on finding your passion.

  • Take on more opportunities. Work in different areas, try everything at least once. Work in an office (in a cubicle!), work for an entrepreneur, work in the business sector, in the entertainment or fashion industry. Intern for a non-profit, volunteer doing something totally out of the box (I worked with the dying as a hospice volunteer for 10 years! –a total out-of-the-box experience).
  • Stop chasing the perfect job and focus on learning new skills. Each and every job you have should be an opportunity to LEARN SOMETHING NEW. I must shout this at you, because so often new graduates are obsessed (and stressed out!) about finding the perfect job, with the perfect company. Do not fall for this trap. Also don’t believe you’ll make $80,000 in your 1st job out of school. Won’t happen. So, focus on what new skills you’ll be learning in your job. How can you be challenged in your job?
  • Recognize there’s no single correct pathway to finding your passion. Unless you’re one of those really lucky people who knew since they were 5 years old what they wanted to be and nothing and nobody stood in their way. But, for the rest of us, it takes a little time and a lot of different experiences to figure it out. That’s OK.
  • Start listening to yourself and stop listening to what you think you should be doing with your life. Maybe tune-out your parents, friends and your internal negative voice, and start focusing on what gives you joy.

Here’s a short list of everything that I tried during my LONG years as a student.

  • Worked as an administrative assistant in an office (handling paperwork, photocopying, answering phones, dealing with the public);
  • Retail sales selling high-end fitness equipment;
  • Volunteered for Hospice Toronto where I worked with the dying 4-hours a week. I did this for 10 years! –Did my Master’s thesis on hospice care and got a book deal to publish my 1st memoir on my life with the dying;
  • Self-taught makeup artist, worked for various brands under the Holt Renfrew company (Bobbi Brown makeup, NARS, Laura Mercier), also worked for MAC. Then worked in a beauty boutique with Shoppers Drug Mart;
  • Became a research assistant (RA) and worked on the following projects: Gambling, Aboriginal Health, Aboriginal Gambling, traumatic Brain Injuries, Editing of undergraduate textbooks; Eco-conscious Consumer Trends; Homelessness and Addiction Issues; and
  • Became a Teaching Assistant (TA) teaching sociology of education, introduction to sociology…..

I worked in malls and little boutiques; I worked in offices and did work from home. I worked for one boss or a team of leaders. I worked for men and women. I worked with only men on the job or only women. I worked crazy shift work and part-time hours (they’re the worst!). I worked nights, (4pm – midnight shift), I worked split shifts (worked 2 hours in the morning then came back for 3 hours in the afternoon….again it’s the worst!).

Throughout all of these opportunities I learned a tremendous amount about what I enjoyed doing, and what I definitely did NOT want to do with my life.  But in each job I learned a new skill (whether that was a new software program; bettering my public speaking; or just getting more comfortable with rejection, –happens all the time in retail).

So my advice to you is to get out there and try as many different things as you can. Fail often and you’ll figure out where your talents lie, and where your passion becomes inflamed. Take a risk, honestly.  Get out of your comfort zone. Keep asking yourself, what you would do with your life if you weren’t afraid. Keep answering that question and you’ll find your passion.