Why following your passion is not the answer to career happiness

Jul 05, 2022
Career advice

Hands up: Do you feel stuck in your career? ๐Ÿ™‹‍โ™€๏ธ

๐Ÿ’ญ Maybe you can relate to feeling hungry to finally do work you’re actually passionate about … 

๐Ÿ’ญ Maybe you are feeling lost and overwhelmed by the ba-gillion different options out there, not knowing what’s the right one for YOU (#decisionfatigue) …

๐Ÿ’ญ You might feel stagnant and bored, like you’ve lost your spark at work, being painfully aware that you’re not living up to your fullest potential …

๐Ÿ’ญ Or are you wondering “is this it?”, constantly questioning if you’re on the right path in life …

โ—๏ธENOUGH IS ENOUGHโ—๏ธ

You are so damn ready to set the badass in you on ๐Ÿ”ฅ and get clear about finding work you love. So, the next logical step for you to take is seeking career advice from random self-help gurus you can find on the web.

Umm, let me guess what their common advice is? Follow your passion! Find your passion first and then meaningful work will appear by itself. Let me spill the beans for you folks, this is not just super generic, but also very WEAK career advice.

Stick around here or watch this video๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿผ and I’ll tell you exactly why you SHOULDN'T follow your passions, as well as what to do instead! 

First of all, let’s find out why this career problem happens so frequently.

Our parents and our traditional education system push expectations on us from an early age. We are encouraged to find something safe and stable – "well paid". This leads us to make big decisions as teenagers that make us question everything five years later. "Argh, what the hell have I done?"

The sad truth is that only 29% of millennials are engaged in their jobs. And 70% feel like they’re in roles that don’t align with who they are as people. 

Why the advice to "Follow your passion" is a myth

  • A lot of us are multi-passionate – we’re into loads of things. I’m obsessed with careers, psychology in the workplace and the future of work. I also love French pastries and am obsessed with cats. I love personal development and goal setting. Some people are into health, fitness and writing poetry. We are complex, multi-passionate beings. It’s not a one-way road. 
  • Some of us feel like we don’t have a compelling passion. We enjoy lots of things and have hobbies such as swimming, knitting or cooking – but we don’t want to make a career out of those. Some interests are simply meant to stay hobbies. Trying hard to make it a profession can take the joy out of it.
  • We are only passionate about things we’ve already tried, so it’s super past focussed. There are so many professions out there that we would be really great at, but we’ve just not been given the chance to try them yet. Think about it.
  • 65% of today’s kids will end up in jobs that haven’t even been invented yet. With the rise of AI and robotics, what we studied becomes outdated after five years – entire professions will become obsolete when new ones emerge. 

Finding a passion first and creating a career around it IS NOT the answer. So what is? 

Dan Pink’s model in his bestselling book, Drive, shows what intrinsically motivates people. His three principles of masteryautonomy, and purpose can easily be applied to the career space.

Do what you are

Mastery is the desire to improve. If you are motivated by mastery, you'll likely see your potential as being unlimited, and you'll constantly seek to improve your skills through learning and practice. 

People who know what their natural strengths are and use them at work are 6x more engaged in their jobs and 3x more likely to report having an "excellent" quality of life. They perform better and get promotions faster. 

When you do things, you are naturally good at, it releases feel-good neurochemicals in the brain which make you feel good. It then allows your pre-frontal cortex, which is in charge of things like creativity, strategic thinking and decision making to do what it does best, so you perform better. Isn’t that mind-blowing? I call it a virtuous cycle. ๐Ÿš€

Once you’re a high performer, you achieve expertise and a deep understanding of concepts and skills, you build that talent stack, and work towards mastery, the money starts to follow. 

In a supply and demand market, rare and valuable skills (career capital) are going to be hot property. Make sure you keep building your own career capital through consistent (digital) learning and pay attention to what the market needs.

As Simon Sinek puts it so wisely: "Working hard for something we don't care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion."

Has the concept of mastery sparked your curiosity? Go ahead and find your own top five strengths here.

How to determine your career path

 

โšก๏ธAUTONOMY - Personality and values 

Autonomy is the need to direct your own life and work. To be fully motivated, you must be able to control what you do, when you do it, and who you do it with. It’s THE KEY to a happy and meaningful life. 

Personality

  • What’s your personality type?
  • Where do you get your energy from?
  • How do you process information, make decisions and structure your life?
  • Do you need strong relationships with your co-workers or prefer working alone?
  • Can you find yourself constantly brainstorming or do you function best with a deep focus? 

Knowing your personality type is crucial to start building that killer career you want. Think of working without alignment to your personality type preferences as trying to write a one-pager with the wrong hand – sure, you can still do it, but it takes longer and requires more effort. I’d highly recommend checking out my video๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿผ about it.


Values

Define your core values, for example:

  • Innovation/Futurist: Are you genuinely interested in innovation and new technologies?

    • โžก๏ธ Working at start-ups or tech businesses could be a match for you.

  • Learning/Growth: Do you prioritize a lot of options for professional development?

    • โžก๏ธ Make sure that there are realistic chances to grow within your workspace.

Surprise, surprise ๐ŸŽ I’ve also made a video on how to know your values. Click down below to watch it. ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘‡๐Ÿผ

โšก๏ธPURPOSE

Knowing your purpose, or your why, gives your career a deeper sense of meaning and helps you to endure setbacks, as you have a clear reason to get out of bed in the morning and to keep going when times are tough. 

You may become disengaged and demotivated at work if you don't understand or can't invest in the "bigger picture". But if you believe that you are working toward something larger and more important than yourself, you often end up being more hard-working, productive and engaged than others who don’t.

I often have millennials come to me who feel a bit down about the fact that they’re not really making an impact on the world. โ They are doing well professionally and earning a good salary, but they are not really helping to solve the world’s problems or doing anything "meaningful".

I want to make it clear that you do NOT need to work for a charity, non-profit, social enterprise or humanitarian organisation to make an impact on this world. โ 

All of these options are fantastic, noble, and rewarding. But it can be simpler than that. โ Even my Mother feels like she makes a big impact on people’s lives at her part-time cleaning job because she creates more time in life for people to spend precious moments together, or helps young families find their groove with a new baby while she takes away some of the hassles of the day-to-day. โ Always think about the ripple effect of your work! โญ๏ธโญ๏ธโญ๏ธ

Example purpose statements:

  • I allow organizations to examine and improve the workplace culture and wellness initiatives so their employees can feel healthier, happier and more successful at work.
  • I create unforgettable travel experiences to help travellers appreciate the beauty and culture of destinations around the world, enriching their knowledge and compassion towards the planet. 
  • I empower women to get promoted more often in the workplace so they can smash the glass ceiling.
  • I help to drive sustainable innovation in the world of fashion and materials so that fashion can be enjoyed more ethically.
  • I support people to access honest and accurate information so they can better understand the world around them.
  • I enable children to access better education on the topic of sexual health so that we are raising a generation that’s more informed, body-positive, respectful of others and consent-seeking.
  • I assist people to save time and make their lives more streamlined and easier so they can spend more time with their families and friends.
  • I guide busy corporate city dwellers to have a better quality of life and find calm more often to decrease anxiety.

To all my rockin' Badasses out there: Yes, you can totally feel passionate about your work, but it’s not through following or finding your passion. Passion comes with time. It’s a RESULT of doing what you’re naturally good at, in an environment that works for your values and personality, where you feel a sense of purpose, meaning and connectedness to the bigger picture.

Make sure you follow me on Instagram, Youtube, LinkedIn, and Pinterest to get more powerful career advice. ๐Ÿ’ฅ

Stay badass, 

Rosie x

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