Do you know that feeling like you’re still hungry and you aren’t quite full. I’m talking about the emotional, mental and spiritual kind of hunger.
You know there’s more for your life and you can’t figure out what it is or what to do about it.
Some people know what they want to be when they are very young. Taylor Swift, one of my favorite artists knew when she was very young that she wanted to sing and write music. She convinced her Dad to move to Nashville so she could start a career in music at the age of 13! She was writing music for other artists at 14 for a major record label. Now she’s one of the top recording artists of all time and she loves her job. If you’ve ever seen her in concert or her various interviews you can just tell she is passionate about what she does and it makes her come alive – it makes her full.
I consider people like her lucky, blessed, or maybe both. However, there are people that are continually trying to find their passion in life and feeling like something is just not quite right. You probably know people that move from job to job in search of something else or maybe that’s you. You also may be the type of person that thinks you have to stick a job out for as long as you can even if you know it’s not right for you. Because staying in a job that makes you unhappy is sometimes easier than admitting to yourself “maybe I’ve chosen the wrong career”.
Because staying in a job that makes you unhappy is sometimes easier than admitting to yourself “maybe I’ve chosen the wrong career”.
If you know me personally, you probably think I’ve become successful in life and that I have it all together. I have a doctorate and a master’s degree in neuroscience and biology. I’m also a realtor (which may be a whole other blog topic!). I’ve published numerous scientific articles, traveled all over the world to talk to people about my work, and taught hundreds of students. By many people’s standards, they might think “wow, she’s really smart” or “those are pretty big accomplishments”. However, I still don’t feel complete (or whole) after having accomplished those things. I always felt there was something bigger that I was meant to do. I look at my colleagues and just feel as if something is different about me. I see a passion in them that I don’t have in my career. Do I enjoy learning about science? Yes. Do I have fun doing research and teaching students? Yes, absolutely. Do I think that’s what I am meant to do the rest of my life? No. Definitely not. There is a pull within me that I am meant to do something greater.
Do you feel like that too? If so, I am here to tell you that you are NOT ALONE! In fact you are probably in the majority. The thing is, do you want to live a life that’s just mundane, waiting for Friday to come around? I don’t! I want to be fulfilled and LOVE my work life as much as I do my home life. One of the reasons that I started this blog is because I picture myself in the future as a published author (outside of science).
If you are struggling with this right now there’s no doubt you have many questions running through your mind, like I did and still do.
What if I have a passion and don’t know how to start?
Just do something. No matter how small. Maybe you’re afraid to fail but you never know if you’ll succeed if you don’t at least try. If you love taking pictures, take a photography class to learn more about the technique. Or shadow a professional photographer to see what it’s like to do that as a living. The point is, you can’t get to where you want to be automatically and sometimes you might fail. It takes time and baby steps at first, but if you don’t put one foot in front of the other you won’t go anywhere. And then you’ll never know your true potential, which is truly tragic.
What if I don’t know what my passion is?
I hear you! For some people it takes a lot, A LOT of self-reflection to figure out what will make them feel like they are living their full potential. Journal your thoughts. Talk to friends that can point out your strengths. Read job postings to see what resonates with you. Job shadow people you admire. Paint or make something with your hands (sometimes being creative will help you think more clearly or you’ll learn you want to be a painter so that’s a win/win :p).
Know that your vision of success won’t happen overnight. Don’t get frustrated because you feel you aren’t making progress. The worst thing you can do is beat yourself up about it. Why? That negative mindset could potentially send you in a downward spiral and you’ll end up shutting down. Be kind to yourself like you would a good friend. Stay positive and keep your mind open to possibilities.
What if I think I’ve found my passion and then I try it and end up hating it?
It’s entirely possible. But here’s the thing… at least you know. No doubt trying new things will help you find what you do and don’t like. You have power in that knowledge. Use it to keep honing in on your passion. It’s also possible it could lead you somewhere you wouldn’t have gotten to without your past experiences. The best thing you can do is to not get down on yourself and remind yourself that everything is a new learning experience.
I encourage you to stop making excuses, stop procrastinating, stop listening to the haters and follow your dreams.