In grade 3, I wanted to be a mystery writer of the gory and strange. By grade 6, I wanted to write plays. By grade 10, it was movies (I had an Oscar outfit all picked out). By college, I wanted to be a musician. By the end of college, I wanted to be a psychologist. By the end of university, I wanted to teach Science Fiction & Fantasy Literature. I dropped out of my first Masters' degree in Lit to be a touring stage manager and assistant director.... last year I was head of infrastructure planning for trading in finance. Careers don't always follow a straight line.
I was/am passionate about all my choices. I'm still a writer. I still study psych. I no longer play in an orchestra but I write music. My daily paycheque is in technology, being creative to help drive change and strategy.
I understand, from talking with my peers, that none of them knew what they wanted to be in the early years. I was lucky; I knew my goal. If you're like many of my friends... or my son and his friends... it's less about passion and more about aptitude. (What can we do well enough that someone will pay us so we can have a life?)
I believe we all have passions in our lives. Baking. Cooking. Running. Old movies. Sports. Woodworking... we call them hobbies. We love them enough to devote time and money to them. These activities refresh us, inspire us and keep us sane.
Lately, it seems like everyone is being told to "find your passion" and be reassured "the money will follow." That's not always true. Circumstances (health, family, etc.) can get in the way. Sometimes you just are not sure what drives you at a particular time of your life. It can feel unattainable - the holy grail of opportunity.
Sometimes you have to construct passion.
I believe we can find a little something for ourselves in anything we do... if we understand what motivates us.
Over the next few Monday blogs, I'll lay out an exercise I constructed to help identify what gets us out of bed to go to work or helps to identify a new opportunity for ourselves.
If you don't know your passion, you only need to know how to ask yourself questions.