We’ve all heard the sage advice: do something you love and the money will follow. But what if you’re not quite sure what that something is? In her HuffPo article, “How Do I Find My Passion?”, life coach (and former Hollywood agent who left her job at age 25 to pursue a life she could be passionate about), Christine Hassler, describes discovering your passion as “an evolutionary and unique process.” She says:
“I did not discover what I enjoy doing until my late twenties, and I was not able to make a full-time career out of it until almost thirty. Along the way, I encountered frustration, disappointment, jobs I hated, dead-end career paths, and having to do things I didn’t really want to. The most valuable thing that I learned is that passion is a journey. It is not something that you can find, it is a discovery process – it cannot be planned. Passion emerges from of a myriad of experiences, a commitment to do self-investigation and exploration, and a willingness to risk not adhering to societal expectations.”
I especially love that last line: “Passion emerges from of a myriad of experiences, a commitment to do self-investigation and exploration, and a willingness to risk not adhering to societal expectations.” This really resonates with me because it’s been through trying different things – and experiencing frustration, disappointment, jobs I hated, etc. – that I’ve discovered what I really want in life…and what I don’t (and unfortunately, or fortunately – depending on how you look at it – those things tend to go against the grain of what society expects from someone like me).
When I was much younger, Corporate America was very appealing to me – everything from the sharp attire to the business challenges and big salaries – but experiencing it firsthand left me feeling like a cog in someone else’s machine. I discovered that I desired something more, something of my own. But I brushed aside my feelings because I felt fortunate to be working for such an impressive company right out of school. But every morning the truth was there, staring back at my sharply-dressed corporate self in the mirror. Eventually, those feelings became a little more pushy, tempting my thoughts to stray out the window during important meetings (no wonder most of our conference rooms didn’t have windows!) and forcing me to pull off the roads. I then considered doing some life coach training, as I have always had a passion for helping others. However, I was scared to take the leap from a corporate job into the unknown.
It was frustrating to say the least. Why, after four years of business school, internships, studying abroad and landing the golden goose of a job, was I not fulfilled? But as I look back on it now, I understand that those feelings of frustration were actually growing pains that marked the beginning of a very important time of self-discovery, which ultimately helped me figure out what I’m truly passionate about.
What experiences helped you find your passion?