I often hear debate about finding your passion in work. Some women say that it’s not possible – that passion is for family and people, not for work. Others fear that we have set expectations too high. That millennials are not taking jobs or are not engaging in jobs because they haven’t immediately been able to “find work they love to do and a way to make money doing it”. Then others believe that finding your passion means life is work and vice versa. Then there are the houses in Silicon Valley where startup employees eat, sleep and work together 24/7. I don’t know if that is passion or not.
I lean on the side of finding the passion. When you are doing what you love, it bleeds into your life and you don’t feel as much stress over work life balance. Perhaps you even make sure you take care of yourself because you want to give energy to work. You love when the energy you get from your work spills energy back into to your whole life.
Now with Sheryl Sandberg’s Lean In Movement I see the need for finding your passion even more important. Leaning in is hard….you have to fight your own fears, organizational structure and caretaking of a family if you have one. Why would you do it if you don’t love or at least really enjoy what you are doing?
Here a few women’s ideas on finding your passion. Step one…take action. Don’t wait for it to hit you over the head.
“Take action. That is the first step. No amount of career counseling or talking to people or making lists helped as much as taking action. That is when you start learning.”
“Continually explore. Rather than think of work as work…think of it as study. If you are a lifelong learning you will study what you love. Think of study as a way of life.”
“Get out of your head and in to your heart and body. Take a pause. Don’t just keep going and get lost in the tasks. Stopping to take a pause is how you learn to listen to your gut.”
“Just pick one thing. It won’t limit you. Make a decision. Any decision will move you forward so you can learn from it. Passions evolve. Just take a step and then …become very aware of what gets you excited. Pay attention….get grounded in what you enjoy and do well.”
It seems trusting your gut is strongly linked to finding your passion. In the words of Steve Jobs:
“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. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. Because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well worn path; and that will make all the difference.” – Steve Jobs, Stanford Commencement Speech, 2005