A few years ago I gave a speech at a church to a group of youth whom the minister said may have “lost their way” or simply needed more guidance. A friend of mine who does motivational speaking was invited to speak and he knew about some of the work I had done with youth in Nova Scotia, he asked if I would like to speak to the youth as well, so I did. I thought about myself at 16 years old, I thought I knew everything and no one could tell me anything, and the things that they told me were the things that all adults say, “go to school and get an education.”
In preparing my “speech”, (I use this loosely because I didn’t want it to be too scripted or crafted), I thought about what most people think about when it comes to youth, “how can I motivate them to do something positive?” Coming up with the topic was easy, find out what they love to do and help them understand their passions, so I decided to speak about passion being the best education anyone can have in life. I told them that when you are passionate about something you learn as much as you can, you spend as much time researching, finding a mentor, reading about it, or doing it, you take action…you educate yourself. This seemed to really resonate with the teenagers. Throughout the speech, they asked a few questions about how they could learn more about their passions and shared their long-term goals, all of this in front of their peers. I closed my speech with a call to action, I told them that any of them who wanted to help to craft out their action plans to help them work towards their passion to come to talk to me after the presentation. After the presentation a large group of them came up, (a few I had not even thought were listening due to their body language), and they fired off questions. My then-girlfriend, (now fiancée), and I sat and talked to the youth for about another hour and before leaving I gave some of them my contact information and offered to connect them with people already working in their “passionate field.”
From that day on I understood that the equation for life-long career success is: Passion + Action = Career Success. This is not only true for hard-headed teenagers that have “lost their way”, but for adults who are unhappy in their unfulfilling ‘9-5′ jobs, or for those trying to figure out what they really want to do with their lives. As adults, we sometimes have to take our own advice and listen to our inner voice telling us to explore our own passions and educate ourselves. We have to be brave and courageous to explore our true career aspirations and that is not easy. It is easy to tell a teenager to go to school and study hard so that they can get a “good job”, but is a good job what you really want them to have? Lots of people have good jobs and they aren’t happy because they do not like what they do. Instead, I think we truly want ourselves and our loved ones to have a career that they love, something they enjoy, something that they could spend hours doing and they would never be bored doing it; a true passion. However, passion without action is a distraction, because sitting around moaning and groaning about our jobs creates negative energy. We have all talked about the reasons why we cannot pursue our aspirations and justified reasons for being miserable in a job we do not like. What can we do to make the transition from distraction to passion? Now that would be ideal right? What if your circumstances truly do not allow you to fully pursue your passion, then what? Well, try finding aspects of your job that you really enjoy and try to do them more. Volunteer to do the tasks that give you energy at work, trade-off tasks with coworkers if you can, or take on projects that allow you to play to your passion. Or, if you are really brave, if you really believe in yourself, you may have to leave your current situation to explore your passion.
Here are 5 tips to get you moving towards achieving your life long career aspirations:
5. Find your strengths and your passion
Simple? Probably not. Most of us do not sit around bragging to our friends or colleagues about all of the things we are great at, it’s a secret. The first thing you need to do is find out what activities you love to do, tasks that give you energy and excite you. How can you do this? Self-reflect and think about the things that give you energy, what do you love to do that you could do all day? Find free online self-assessments, there are lots out there and they may help to guide you to what you already know, your strengths. You can also speak to colleagues, friends, family, they know you well and can provide you with suggestions for what they see as your strengths.
4. Figure out how you can play to your strengths in your job
Marcus Buckingham, ( a leadership guru and author of “Go Put Your Strengths to Work”..Google him), says that finding your strengths and playing to your strengths is one of the keys to enjoying your job. So, if you can’t or don’t want to leave your job, this may help those miserable days become more enjoyable. Taking it further, knowing your strengths and fully playing to them is pursuing your passion. He defines strengths as things that give you energy, activities that you could do all day and it wouldn’t seem like work. In your job think of tasks that you love doing, things that give you energy, can you do more of those things? Do you have the ability to volunteer for tasks that give you energy at work, trade-off tasks with coworkers if you can, or take on projects that allow you to play to your passion? Mention it to your manager, who knows what can happen.
Check this Marcus Buckingham link on Playing to Your Strengths: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4GGB_d8FZig
3. Test drive it
Many organizations have a job shadowing program yet many employees never take advantage of the opportunity. This is a great way for you to explore other roles within the organization that you make find attractive. Take advantage of the program, if the program does not exist it may be something that could be arranged with your manager and the manager of another department.
We all know someone who tells us that we should leave our job and do something that we enjoy doing, however, it is not that easy. One suggestion is to find a part-time job, volunteer, or simply do what you love to do as a side business. This will allow you to get your fix of pursuing your career aspirations and gain valuable experience at the same time.
1. Nike it!
You know the Nike slogan, “Just do it”, so you have found your strengths, know your true passion, you have test driven it, maybe even doing it part-time, are you brave enough to make the leap? With the right planning or not, (depends on your life situation, your risk tolerance, and financial obligation and situation), you can dive in and pursue your passion full throttle. Learn as much as you can, research, find a mentor, take courses, get connected with others, do what you need to do to continue to love what you do. Only a small percentage of people actually do what they enjoy doing while the rest complain about the job we hate but will retire at if our organization will allow us to, (which they probably won’t). When you are at your job, thinking about how much you wish you were doing something else, remember this equation: Passion + Action = Life-Long Career Success.
Danny, Your Mindset Coach
Danny Stone is a Speaker, Mindset Coach and Author of the best-selling book, You Have The Keys, Now Drive. For more than 15 years he has been helping people get more clarity, take massive action, and create the lives they want. He’s helped countless individuals move from the passenger seat to become the drivers of their lives. If you are struggling in your life or business and want more success and happiness, contact Danny to set up your Free Clarity Call.
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