“Follow your passion,” they say.
But what if you don’t have any passions?
Or have too many passions?
Or have one passion that won’t make you any money (I love owls, but I doubt anyone will ever pay me to spend time with them)?
Are you doomed to a mediocre existence and soul-sucking job just because this mythical passion hasn’t deigned to make an appearance in your life, yet? Nope.
Truth bomb: very few people are so passionate about something from the cradle, they just know what they’re meant to do for the rest of their life.
The rest of us has to figure it out the hard way. You know, trying different things, failing at one or more careers, and taking just any job in the meantime to pay the bills and keep a roof over our heads.
This is what I did. I spent the past 15 years exploring every little passion I had in the hope it’d be THE ONE – only to quit every career I started because I hated every second of it. I felt like such a failure.
But you know what? With each failed career, I got one step closer to my life purpose. I’m living it now. In the end, it all worked out.
There’s a better way – an alternative route that helps people carve out careers they’re passionate about and that fulfill their life purpose.
Instead than following your passion, you create a vision for your life and then figure out how to use your skills to get there. Here’s how:
Step 1: Figure Out Your Ideal Lifestyle
I’ve figured out pretty early that the traditional 9-5 path isn’t for me. I resent having to ask for time off every time I want to go on holiday, follow rules and systems I believe are outdated, and have someone decide how much money I deserve to earn every month.
I crave freedom. The freedom to take an afternoon off to have coffee with a friend, do things my way, and up my rates as my skill set improves.
For me, freedom is a non-negotiable. If a career can’t provide that, I’ll quit faster than you can say “you’re fired.”
For others, the freelancing career I dig so much is hell. They love having a set schedule, being told what tasks to work on each day, and getting a steady paycheck at the end of every month. They crave stability above all else.
Maybe you crave something else entirely. Maybe you want a job that allows you to express your creativity, travel the world or have a big impact on the planet (like finding a cure for cancer).
Instead on focusing so much on finding the right career or job, figure out what kind of lifestyle you want and what you’re not willing to give up on.
Once you identify your non-negotiables, a lot of career options will close off. That’s ok. They’re not right for you.
Step 2: Identify A Core Skill To Cultivate
Think of something you’re passionate about. It could be baking cupcakes. Speaking French. Playing the violin.
Go back to your first few lessons. Did you enjoy them? Probably not. You were totally out of your depth. Had no idea what you were doing. You didn’t add enough sugar. You couldn’t master the grammar. You weren’t able to play in tune if your life depended on it.
You’ve probably thought of giving up a thousand times. But you’ve stuck with it and got better. Not just that. As you improved, you realised your passion for it grew bigger every day.
You didn’t start to bake cupcakes or learn French because you were passionate about it. You became passionate about it as you mastered the skill.
When you’re so good at something, it becomes second nature, you get a feeling of pleasure and satisfaction every time you engage in it.
If you don’t have any passions to follow, think instead of what you’re incredibly good at. What gives you pleasure and makes you feel accomplished?
Once you’ve identify one (or more) skill, think about how it fits into your ideal lifestyle.
If you’re fluent in French and crave freedom, why not try your hand at being a freelance translator?
Crave stability and want to make a bigger impact on people’s life? Teaching French to children is a better option for you.
Step 3: Tame Your Inner Mean Girl
Now you’ve identify how your skills can help you achieve your dream lifestyle, the next step is taking action towards your goal.
Let’s say you’re stuck in a cubicle, but you dream of having a job that allows you to earn a lot of money while travelling the world. You’re good at coding and have a great eye for design. Why not try setting up your own web design business?
The first thing to do is to be honest with yourself. Are your coding skills really that good to allow you to make a living by designing websites?
If the answer is “not yet,” that’s cool. Stay in your cubicle job (for now) and use your spare time to improve your skills.
Good enough? Great. Keep your cubicle job (for now) and start looking for your first couple of clients. Once the money starts rolling in, you can go part-time at your job or even quit completely.
The trick is to get your Inner Mean Girl to shut up. Doesn’t matter how skilled you are, your Inner Mean Girl is terrified by change.
She’ll tell you you’re not good enough yet. That you don’t have what it takes to succeed. That it’s safer to just keep the day job. If you quit, you’ll be homeless.
She’s lying. Switching careers isn’t easy, but it’s doable. One step at a time. Because if you couldn’t make it come true, you wouldn’t have that dream in the first place.
Remember that next time your Inner Mean Girl raises her ugly voice.
Can Your Skills Lead You To Your Life Purpose?
Popular opinion say you need to identify one big passion in advance, match it to a job and bam! You’ll never work a day in your life again.
But what if you don’t have a big passion? Follow your skills. The gifts and talents you have are a clue your life purpose has left behind. You’re meant to use them and share them with the world.
Match these skills to your ideal lifestyle, and you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and pleasure. That’s a sure sign you’re on the right track.
Over to you, now. Did your skills help you find your life purpose? Share your experience in the comments below.