When I began my professional career, my goal from the start was to gain as much experience as possible. I knew in my field that I’d have to start at the bottom, and climbing to get to a higher position was going to take a lot of work. It took me a long time to find a job after university, and at that point I was desperate for anything in my field. I settled, and discovered I was unhappy pretty much instantly. The next year and half was then delegated to getting what I could out of the job, and doing a little soul searching to discover if working in this field was truly my passion.
Passion for what you do is so important in the business world. You’ll be more productive (because you’ll want to do the work) and you will be happier with the results. Here are a few tips on how to find your passion in the business world.
Richard Price – founder and CEO of Academia.edu, a platform for academics to share their research papers freely – started his entrepreneurship with $150 invested in his own banana bread company. From there, he opened a sandwich shop, founded a Craigslist-type site for Oxford students looking for housing, developed a popular Facebook app (in the early days of Facebook apps) and then decided on his current venture. His ideas didn’t hit him instantly, and the magic didn’t happen overnight. He knew in general what his goal was – he wanted a highly scalable business – but he didn’t know how quite to get there.
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His philosophy is to experiment a lot, and not to get tied down to your ventures or jobs. If something doesn’t work out the way you want it to, shut it down and move onto something bigger and better. Through a series of inexpensive experiments, or internships and entry-level positions, you can find that spark.
Sometimes thinking in terms of business goals and ROIs can quell your passion. If you’re running a business or searching for the perfect job, sometimes it’s hard to look beyond the numbers. Allow yourself time to get creative – and I don’t just mean using creativity as an outlet (although that’s certainly encouraged).
Discovering what you want to do for the rest of your professional life doesn’t come from reading a couple blogs about a topic, or experiencing one job from one facet in the industry you like. It comes from doing and seeing, and asking yourself an endless array of questions. Would your childhood self love what you’re doing now? I loved to read as a child, and that’s pretty much all I do all day at work. Pull a board together of things that inspire you, and figure out why those quotes, pictures, articles, etc., do so.
Notice the trends
Is there something you keep coming back to in your life? I wrote my first short story when I was in grade school, I got high marks in my literature classes and even took to editing friends’ work on the side (I even enjoyed it), and yet I went into uni in a field completely unrelated to what I actually like to do.
It doesn’t have to be school or childhood experiences either. Is there something as an adult that you love to do, but don’t have time to do it? Could you apply it to a business model and turn it into a company, or find a job in the field? If so, you have not only found your new path in your professional life, but you have found your passion.