Finding Your Passion and Career Path

By Kailey Walters on March 26, 2019

From a very young age, depending on the environment in which we’ve been raised, we are constantly given conflicting advice on what to do with our futures. Some of us may be pushed by parents, other relatives, and even peers to pursue a career that is practical and lucrative; others of us may be encouraged to go for whatever our passion is and turn that into a career. While neither of these approaches is wrong, and are even both valuable in their own ways, all the different messages we get from people around us can become confusing after a while.

So where does that leave us when we start looking for jobs? How do we know what kind of career path to choose when there are so many different potential options?

What’s important to consider first is your definition of passion. After all, “passion” often comes across as too strong of a word when it comes to describing careers, which can scare off many of us from figuring out what “passion” really means. Instead, it may be helpful to define passion as something meaningful that you care about. Of course, this broad definition leaves plenty of room for figuring out what that means exactly for you, particularly how you can unite your passion and your career.


Pursue Your Curiosity

If you’ve been stressing out about what your passion truly is, you may be overthinking things a bit. Sometimes, trying to think about something as subjective as your passion in purely logical terms is not helpful. Instead, consider what you’re curious about. If you’re currently in college, now is the perfect time to experiment with a variety of fields you may be interested in (and don’t worry about not graduating within four years — even if you switch majors multiple times, you can still graduate on time. It’s been done).

Deena Varshavskaya suggests thinking about what you would be interested in doing if money were not a factor. Adopting this sort of mindset, without worrying about the financial trappings of your future potential career, frees you to figure out what you’re genuinely interested in. It could be a hobby you already enjoy doing in your free time, or it could be something new that you end up exploring through a college class or club that you join. Whatever it is, give yourself the freedom and opportunity to expand your horizons and go after what you’re curious to learn more about.

Be Realistic and Take Healthy Risks

A super important attitude to have towards your dreams and your career path involves being realistic. On one hand, you don’t want to discourage yourself from pursuing your passion just because you think it’s too difficult or even impossible. On the other hand, it’s necessary to keep your ambitions in check so that you don’t end up chasing a dream without any solid support or alternative options in place. That means reflecting on what’s important to you, weighing your options, and knowing what the consequences are, within reason, for your next steps.

What’s more, following your passion doesn’t mean you have to stick to the same dreams and ideas that you’ve had ever since you were five years old — or even since you were fifteen or twenty-five. Don’t be afraid to reflect on your core values and what you really want to do in order to take some healthy, informed risks. Of course, that can look different for different people. It’s important that you know what is feasible for you based on your particular goals and your circumstances.

Don’t Prioritize Money

It’s important to keep your true goals in mind when it comes to pursuing your passion — which means that sometimes you need to put aside your money priorities. Instead of focusing on how much you can earn financially from a certain job, focus on what you can gain in terms of experience and skills. That way, you will be able to concentrate on improving yourself without getting bogged down by worries about money.

Define Your Goals

Once you’ve arrived at a clearer picture of what you’re curious about, you have a starting point from which to set some goals for your career path. After all, knowing your motivations for studying a certain major or going into a specific field is essential, so that you have something driving you to get through college and pursue a career.

Be Aware of When Things Aren’t Working Out

If you’re already working a job that you don’t enjoy or don’t see a future with, perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate. Even if you don’t know exactly what you want to do instead, it’s important that you take action to figure out your next steps.

On the other hand, if you’re working a job in a field that you’re somewhat interested in but aren’t sure where things are going, you may want to stick with it and stay committed for the time being to see where it will lead. Even if you aren’t sure exactly what your purpose is in this job, you may be surprised.

When it comes to figuring out how your passion and your future career path align, don’t overthink it. Explore your curiosities and set goals for yourself, and you will be well on your way.

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