find your passion

How to Find What You Love to Do

As reported by Forbes this past summer, 52.3 percent of American workers are dissatisfied with their jobs. If you’re among the unsatisfied majority, there’s one thing you should know: It doesn’t have to be this way. In May of this year, Pick the Brain outlined certain steps you can take when you’re in a situation you don’t enjoy. But what if doing what you love involves something totally different? Whether you’re just starting out in your career or have been at it for decades, it’s never too early – or too late – to start doing something you truly love to do. The most important question is what that means for you.

Though it seems like a simple enough question to answer, most people are surprised to realize that they don’t know what their dream job actually is. “Do what you love” is a common maxim, but how do you figure out how to integrate your passions into the workplace? Until you can pinpoint your dream career, you won’t have a good path to your ultimate goal. Here are seven tips that can help you find your career endgame:

Analyze Your Current Job

A great way to figure out what you’d really love to do is by considering what you’re currently doing. What do you love about your job? What do you loathe about it? Consider things like the hours you work, your work environment, your salary and whether you typically work alone or as a part of a team and determine what you like best and which environments let you thrive.

Ask Yourself First

This seems obvious enough, but sit down and ask yourself (and not others) what you want. Leave concerns about how much it pays, whether or not it’s practical and other issues aside. Just ask yourself and see what you come up with. While the answer may be unrealistic, it could help you identify the types of characteristics that your ideal job would have. For instance, if you decide you’d love to be an astronaut, it could mean that you’d like to do a job with a heavy emphasis on science and discovery. Leave the concerns and opinions of others as well. Your career should please you, not fulfill someone else’s dreams.

Will it Destroy Your Passion?

Sure, making money from your passions is great. However, doing so could sour you on the thing you love doing the most. For instance, if you really love vintage clothes and decide to open a shop, you may find that the day-to-day toil of trying to make a profit from such items sucks away any enjoyment you once derived from buying them for yourself.

Take On Side Projects

Find time to explore the things you’re passionate about. Why not try tinkering around with a few side projects to see what develops? Freelance work is a prime example, and setting up an online store is another. Because you’ll still have your day job, you won’t feel the pressure you otherwise would by immediately devoting yourself to a new career. Additionally, you can determine if your passions remain important to you even when working.

Make a List

Oftentimes, simply putting things down on paper is all it takes to gain the inspiration you need. With that in mind, make a list of your interests and skills. Include as many of each as possible. Even if something seems silly or frivolous, jot it down. Once everything’s in front of you in black and white, you could very well find the answer you seek.

Volunteer

There’s no law that says you must start making big money from your passion right away. Why not ease yourself into it by volunteering in some way? If you love animals, you could volunteer at the local animal shelter. It doesn’t have to be so hands on either; for example, if you want to get into web design, you could volunteer to start a website for a local business or non-profit.

Keep Money in Mind

The idea of the starving artist may be a romantic one, but it also comes with a not-so-pleasant reality. Once you’ve found what you want to do, brainstorm ways in which you could make a living doing it. There’s usually a way to find a compromise, so be sure to keep financial matters in mind after you find out what you want to do.

If you put these tips into action right away, before long, you’ll have a much clearer idea about what you love to do, and that information will allow you to pursue the career of your dreams at long last. What’s your dream and how do you intend to follow it?

Katherine Wood is Managing Editor at Talent Tribune, a data-driven HR blog powered by Software Providers.