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5 Questions to Connect to Your Passion
August 2009

What do career burn out and being laid off have in common? Both situations are opportunities to explore what you are passionate about. While there is pressure if you are laid off to find another job as soon as possible, for some markets and industries the opportunities may be far and few between. Savvy professionals benefit from tapping into not only their talent, but also their passion in order to find work that feeds their soul and their pocketbook.

After years in a particular field or profession, it can be hard to differentiate between what you are good at and what you are passionate about. Put another way, it can be easy to confuse what you've gotten really skilled at with what you love. If this is the category you fall into, this post offers five questions you can use as you begin to explore what you are really passionate about.

Tip for working through the questions: Avoid starting your exploration with the notion that there is only one passion that you must pursue for the rest of your life. If there are several things that you are passionate about, you can look for a way merge the things you love. Or it may be a matter of deciding which one you will pursue first. The point is to stay as open without trying to force a single path for your self.

  1. Who do you most admire? Are you moved by people working to preserve the environment? Or maybe you are fascinated by innovative technology leaders? This doesn't necessarily mean that you want to do what they are doing, but it may be an indication of the type of people you'd enjoy working around.

  2. What accomplishments are you most proud of? People may acknowledge you as an excellent accountant, but if you are more proud of the fact that you are a certified professional trainer, that could be an indicator that your passion lies elsewhere.

  3. What topic or subject could you talk about for hours? Consider topics that you have become an accidental expert on like landscaping, flash development, car repair.

  4. What would you do if money was no object? Meaning you didn't need additional income and it's something that you would do for no pay, simply because you loved it.

  5. What opportunities or experiences would you regret not having? Have you ever found yourself wishing you had said yes to an offer or experience from your past? The key here is to identify what you'd regret and then work towards making it happen so you don't look back 5 or 10 years from now thinking, “I wish I had”.

Journal your responses and then lay what you have written aside for a few days. When you come back to what you have written, see if you notice any patterns. Pay attention to the events or thoughts that stand out to you and anything in your responses that sparks an emotional response. Finally share what you’ve uncovered about yourself with someone you trust. This should be a person that will dream and brainstorm with you and not judge what you are thinking or feeling.

Remember, while each of us is born with certain passions, it takes longer for some of us to find out exactly what those passions are. Taking the time to uncover your passion before you make your next career move will help ensure that you are steering your career in the right direction.