Find your passion at work. Why is this important? It matters in helping us reach our goals by picking the right goals in the first place.
Why we don’t reach our goals…
I was once asked in a magazine interview, why don’t people reach their goals?
There are typically two reasons: 1) people pick the wrong goals in the first place; and 2) they lack a sufficient structure for support to reach their goals.
How do you pick the right goals in the first place?
You make sure it is aligned with one of your passions and values. How do you find your passion and value? Let’s start with a coaching client’s example:
My client’s husband, Jim, works 24/7 in a consulting job. He takes work home in the evenings and works every weekend. He is trying to get a promotion. Eventually, Jim gets the promotion. But they give him a paltry salary increase to go with his new responsibility.
So, he does some research and goes back to the company with his findings. His new salary is below market and industry standards. They offer no explanation and say this is what they are willing to pay. Period. Needless to say, Jim isn’t happy. He decides not to work over the weekend. After all, why work if you aren’t getting paid?
With a whole weekend free, he realizes something important–he has lost touch with his passion in life. Jim needs a hobby, something other than work he can get excited about. He has no clue how to find it. I’ve given Jim a little indirect coaching through his wife.
There are a few ways to find your passion in life:
1. The Peak Experiences Method.
One simple way to identify your passion, or calling, is to jot down the peak experiences and highlights of your entire life. Then take a look and see what the underlying values are.
For example, one of my peak experiences was the year I lived in Spain. Another was giving my high school graduation speech (terrifying and exciting at once!). The corresponding values that align with these peak experiences: Travel & Adventure and Lead & Inspire. Once I realized how important these values were to me, I began to orient my work around them by leading coaching seminars internationally–enabling me to express my core values while working.
Ideally, your work should be a full expression of your top core values. If you can’t find work in alignment with your passions and values that pays, then you need a hobby that expresses your core values.
2. The Child’s Play Method.
Another way to find your passion is to look at what you used to do naturally as a kid. I didn’t remember, but saw in old home movies that I was the little girl always sitting smack in the middle of the mud puddle. If there was mud, there I was! What’s the adult version of playing in the mud? For me, it was pottery–there is something incredibly grounding about throwing pots (I’d probably like mud wrestling, too).
I also recently discovered that I love gardening (might have something to do with the fact that it is easy to pull weeds out of the damp English soil).
As a child, I loved spinning on the kitchen stool until I was dizzy. The adult version? Swing and ballroom dancing. I love being spun around by my partner. The more spins, the better.
Whatever you were drawn to as a child is almost guaranteed to resonate with you at a core and elemental level as an adult. A client recalled that as a kid her idea of fun was to follow the cat wherever it went. She is still an explorer at heart and loves travelling and seeing new places.
What did you do when you were little? If you don’t remember, dig out the old home movies and ask your parents, siblings and relatives. If you feel like something is missing in your life, this might be the answer.
3. Align Your Values and Your Career.
The key to finding deeply fulfilling work is to do something that is in alignment with your core values. I’m not referring to values in the moral sense of right and wrong. I am referring to the sense of doing what you truly love to do–that which is of intrinsic worth to you personally. These are the activities you would still do if you won the lottery.
When you are living in accordance with your core values, you are most fully alive and most fully yourself. For example, you might value creativity and invention. You might value travel and adventure, or perhaps peace, or being spiritual. You might value risk, experimentation, or perhaps grace, beauty, or elegance. Different people value different things.
When do you feel most alive?
Take a moment to reflect on the peak moments or experiences in your life (#1 above). Look back and see what the highlights of your life have been. The most rewarding careers are those that allow and perhaps even demand that you express your core passions and values fully. Take a few minutes to review your personal life history and list the peak moments of your life. Next to each peak moment, write down why that moment was important to you. Next, write down the true or core value or passion it reflects. Finally, choose your top four or five core values from the Tru Values Program™ below and write them down.
Now, the next step is to start a small project that enables you to express one of your top core values.
What are your Core Values?
Values are things you do or that you find very interesting or fun. When engaging in these activities, you feel most like yourself:. You may feel well, connected, excited, glowing, and easy-going. We like living in alignment with our core values, but most of us lead lives which do not grant us the chance to JUST do these things. For example, we may be too busy with responsibilities, chasing unmet needs, or struggling to just get by. In order to fully honor and express your core values and passions, you may have to substantially alter and enhance your life. This is well worth doing.
Nothing beats having a life fully oriented around your core values and passions.
In fact, according to the latest research on happiness, you’ll be much happier living a values-based life than if you win the lottery. Thankfully, the odds of doing so are much better, too!
Many of us spend our lives trying (consciously or not) to honor these core values. We find ourselves getting upset or frustrated, bored or resigned, wishing and hoping to have a better, richer, more satisfying life and career. But most people lack the tools to identify their true values and their natural abilities and talents. That is where a little career coaching can be an immense value in speeding up this process.
Give yourself the best gift ever–a happy, fulfilling career. It may take a bit of introspection and some investment in coaching, but it is well worth it to find a career that has you jumping out of bed, eager to get going. Don’t stop until you love your work and find your passion in life. Your professional Career Coach can assist you to more fully understand your own core values and help you take the steps to begin expressing them in your life as soon as possible.
Take this free Career Test to Identify your Core Values:
Download your own copy of the Tru Values Program™ by clicking here.
Learn more about the Career Change Kit here.