There are hobbies and passions that can be turned into your dream job.
Sometimes, you are either just unaware of them or have not discovered them yet. Today, I wanted to share with you 10 things that might help you discover your passions and turn them into a career.
I have learned these from highly successful people in the books and interviews I have consumed.
1.Experience beats thinking
I want to start with the most important tip. I was told to do this, I didn’t listened, and learned the hard way.
It’s better to learn from experience rather than pondering. I spent dozens, if not hundreds, of hours creating charts and Venn diagrams to draw out my interests and skills t see where they intersected with jobs that paid.
Although it wasn’t completely useless, it didn’t help as much as I thought.
Venn diagrams can help you come up with cool ideas by merging interests that you wouldn’t think of. But it doesn’t solve everything because you only know a portion of the job titles that are out there. Doing a comprehensive scan of job titles LinkedIn can show you how vast and diverse occupations can be. There’s stuff you never would’ve considered.
Actually seeing and experiencing a job through an internship, volunteering or shadowing opportunity could be worth hours of just sitting there thinking about it.
Because there are a number of factors you can’t predict based off your limited experience. There are little quirks about the job you may not realize. A casual doctor who helps average people in the countryside might have a much more laid back job than you expect.
You also have a rigid, shallow understanding of the job market. Reach out and pick the brains of real people with real experience. Find out what they hate and love. LinkedIn is a great way to do so, and you can bet they’ll be more honest than a brochure. Otherwise, you’ll have a skewed perspective about jobs.
More importantly, experiencing a job firsthand can paint the picture of what it’s like more than reading a job description ever can.
Lauren van Boudet found herself in a similar rut and decided to shadow 30 different jobs. She covered the field: from fashion photography to corporate jobs. She learned a LOT more than she did from all the thinking she did before.
Marie Forleo, an online business owner, spent months deciding if she should quit her job and become a dance instructor. When she finally did, she cried. It felt so right. She said if she had only known earlier, she would’ve tried a lot sooner. Testing and feeling can do a lot more than thinking.
2. Talk to real people (preferably in-person)
Find people who have interesting jobs. Get them on the phone. Even better is in person or shadowing them while they are doing the job.
Ask them for an informational interview. From there, see if you can shadow them for 15 minutes or an hour. You can learn a lot.
Marie Forleo is an entrepreneur who has frequently told the story of how she spent months agonizing about teaching dance. It was wasted time. She said she should have just tried it out. The first day she did, she started crying and immediately knew it was a great fit.
3. Use Hypothetical Tests
Common hypothetical questions include “If you had all the money you could ever need, what would you do as a job?” or “What would 5 different versions of you be doing in 5 different alternate universes?”
These questions definitely help, but only if they are framed in the right way.
Some people will just respond “I will do no work and sit on a beach all day.” which defeats the purpose of the question.
The point is to figure out what actual job titles that pay you would do if money wasn’t an issue and it was about enjoying a career. This will help find your passion.
Again, it’s not perfect, from my own testing. For some people (especially younger folk who don’t understand the job market or job titles out there), they can give broad or vague answers like “CEO” or “President of the country”, not understanding how difficult the job is.
4. Use A Flow Chart
Flow is defined as a state of mind where time flies by while you’re working. It supposedly signifies that you are doing work you enjoy.
One thing you can do is get a notepad and document your activities for a full week. Find those moments where you find that time flies. Those are your flow states and from there, you can find what hobbies and activities you do during that time.
5. Ask friends
Sometimes, you are too biased to figure it out yourself. Ask friends who have known you for a while to see where they would think you can fit.
Ask them “what job titles do you think I would be good at and enjoy?” or just “what job titles do you think I would like?”
6. Explore Job Title Descriptions on Job Boards
Browse new industries on job boards and look at new job titles. This works because it emphasizes another critical but overlooked element of careers: jobs that people actually will pay you for.
You have to acknowledge that not every activity can be translated to work people will pay you for, such as eating potato chips on the couch.
7. It Doesn’t Happen Overnight
From my study of thousands of successful people, I have found that most of them take years to succeed.
The young teens who get rich are overly popularized by media. This is far from the norm. Be patient. I have found that it’s often a journey. Your first job lets you learn more about what you like and don’t like, which guides you into a better second job. The process keeps repeating.
What you can do is be strategic about it. Many people don’t care or take previous experience gained forward and tumble into mediocre new job titles, never progressing in an upward fashion or moving to a job they like better.
Here’s advice from James Cash Penny, the founder of J.C. Penny. A little over 100 years ago, he turned a business venture into 34 stores, which turned into a retail empire. His advice still rings true to this day:
To young men my advice is as simple and distinct as my own experience. It runs like this:
Take time to discover what you would prefer above all else to make your life work. You may have to do a lot of temporary jobs before you reach the one your ambition places above all others. But if your idea is clear and your determination firm, you will surely reach it.
Remember that it is often necessary in life to learn to work hard at many things before you arrive at the great privilege of working hard at the one thing you prize the most.
That many have persisted for thousands of years simply because their truth is unassailable, applies to all of us in all situations and problems. Hence the great Proverbs, the Golden Rule, the Decalogue, the Sermon on the Mount, and, along with these, the testimony of men who have sought their way to the rare privilege of doing what they most wanted to do.
Remember that all this effort to reach your preference in life work and your further effort to perfect it within the scope of your ability is for just one purpose. And the purpose is to give service to the utmost of your ability.
Or Steve Jobs at his iconic commencement speech at Stanford:
You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.
You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.
If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on.
8. Don’t Be Paralyzed
In the book, the Paradox of Choice, the author found that people are less happy, less satisfied, and paralyzed when given more choices.
Here’s his lecture on the topic:
This insight has been used in many fields. In particular, it’s been used in business. Smart businesses make sure to not have too many choices for colors or products in their store. A great example of this is Apple. They have intentionally inhibited the choices for the color of the iPhone.
Why does this matter?
Nowadays, we are paralyzed with 12,000+ job titles. That number is growing every year.
In past generations, we may have had only a handful of jobs (under 10) to choose from in our little town. Too many choices can paralyze us.
9. Realize that there is more than 1 destiny for you
Don’t fall into this false belief that there’s only 1 job title or vocation you will be great at or love. In fact, there are plenty of fits out there.
Lewis Howes is an example of an athlete who was gravely injured and found his second passion in business to succeed. I have discovered other individuals like him. There’s one person I discovered who lost a chance to be a professional soccer player after a debilitating injury. He worked as a pizza delivery guy for years while building up his music skills and eventually started a very profitable music studio. (I found the story through an interview on a Youtube channel called Asian Boss. They have since taken down the video for unknown reasons.)
Here’s a video I did about an NBA player who got into the fast-food franchise business after his athletic career and turned that into $400 million dollars:
Athletes serve a great example because their lifespan can be as short as 2 to 5 years. Many are still young and able to work after they “retire.” Therefore, they look to find new passions.
10. Don’t get too picky initially
A picky princess is a concept I coined for young people in the modern world that have so many different options that they complain about the smallest of things.
Don’t be so picky that you aren’t willing to start or settle with any job title.
Remember that your grandparent’s grandparents had 5 to 15 jobs to choose from in their small little town. And they were happy to just have a job. That was not long ago considering that human civilization has been around for thousands of years.
Of course, passion and interest is still important, but you want to make sure that you keep in mind your ancestor’s times and be grateful for what you have. Remind yourself that people can still be happy and thriving even if they don’t completely like everything about their jobs. Don’t become the spoiled brat and remember that you can learn to love certain parts of your job you thought you wouldn’t.
Nowadays, I have seen young people who believe they have to find their dream job on their first or second try. However, I have met a few people who have obtained jobs that didn’t look that appealing on paper in terms of the job titles or job description. But because they tested it out rather than rule it out, they actually found it more interesting than they expected and ended up loving it more than they ever thought they would.
We are constantly told these days to “follow your passion” but sometimes, it can hold you back in being too picky. Give things a chance.
Most of us are dealt mixed or poor hands in life. For some people, it was slavery. For others, it’s sexual abuse. For Asian Americans, it’s strict parents with narrow expectations on what we can do to make them proud and avoid disappointment.
Keep in mind that your parents want the best for you but good intentions don’t always result in the best behaviors. Hitler had good intentions to save the German economy. That didn’t end so well.
I’m not saying your parents are Hitler. I’m saying that you should make the best of what you can with your life or, as Gary Vaynerchuk says, you’ll die with tons of resentment and regret.
Try out your passions on the side with a full-time job. That way, you have the security your parents want and the creative expression you crave without the downside. If becomes profitable, you can move.
- Don’t rule out job titles before giving them a try. People have found jobs interesting they thought they wouldn’t after trying them out.
- Experience beats theorizing. Sometimes, you need to experience it to understand. Try an internship or shadowing opportunity if possible. Network and form relationships to get these.
- It doesn’t happen overnight. Ignore the overnight success stories. They are a rarity and are often not as overnight as you think. Many successful people move between several careers and industries to slowly figure out what they like and don’t like and what they’re good and bad at.
What was your favorite lesson?
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