Your situation is unique. Isn’t it?
I have often found my situation different, special and unique. My problems are not those other people have. My interests were unusual compared to my friends. I never belonged to any one of the “types” that the personality tests identify. I liked many things yet no career path was exciting enough to me. Even in school, the subjects I liked or disliked were changing constantly. One semester I was in love with Chemistry and in the other I hated it. I didn’t want to become an architect knowing I had to let go of becoming a psychologist, neither did I want to become an engineer and compromise my interest in fashion design. There was no one way for me. My situation was unique until I found my passion. I think you are the same wondering what your passion is and how to find it.
For a very long time, I used to think the only way out of my boring job was to go back in time and study a subject I was more passionate about in university. I hated my job then. Today however, I have found my “passion” and I can do exactly what I love every hour of every day. That has made me the happiest I could ever be. Honestly, what I do doesn’t even feel like work anymore partly because I have so much fun even when it is really difficult. I have found my own passion and you can too. Get ready to hear some really surprising facts.
In those dark miserable days at my job, I wasted a lot of time waiting in the middle of a process due to the nature of the tasks I was doing (semi-automated software testing). I had tried several times to replace that wasted time with something that reflected following what I thought was my passion (writing blog posts for the internal website of the company) at the time but I was still unhappy. Also on the side of my job after working hours, I was doing voluntary work that was related to what I thought was my passion (organizing professional events). Surprisingly I was not becoming much happier doing any of those. Was it that I had misunderstood my passion? I couldn’t tell. So how did I eventually go about finding what this mysterious passion was?
As you may have guessed, I did what a smart person would do. I started reading books and blogs, watching videos, learning about tools to use, going to conferences, getting help from career coaches and taking classes that teach you how to spot your passion and how to create a business around it. And of course I took a bunch of personality tests to really dig deep into my psychology and find that expert-in-hiding aka my passion. Yes, I did all of that to figure out what my passion really was. You have probably done some or all of these by now.
After every round of investigation, I had a different passion popping up. Sometimes it was one I’d found before and sometimes it was an exciting new one. In every case, I went about doing something related to it in my job environment or after working hours. Each time, it didn’t take very long until my excitement for pursuing my recently found passion faded away and I was back at self-discovery and research mode again. I repeated these steps so many times and failed at identifying my passion as many times. Being just human, I felt disappointed after so many times of failing. It really seemed that my passion was not really willing to show itself to me.
Gradually, I found myself trying to convince myself that work was supposed to be boring. I was starting to believe that it was normal to hate my job because everyone else around me did so. I thought if I wanted to be happy, I should quit my job and create a business that was aligned with my passion. Not knowing what that passion was didn’t make it any easier. And I couldn’t afford to quit my job for many different reasons. It was almost the end for me until one day the universe poked me very seriously. I’ll tell you that story in a separate post but now let me tell you what I learned. Because honestly if I knew this from the beginning, I wouldn’t have spent so much time going around looking for my passion.
The most important thing I learned was the relationship you have with your passion is not necessarily a monogamy. Wow! That means it is OK to have more than one passion. I have decided to call this phenomenon “Multiple Passions Syndrome”. People with multiple passions do not feel truly happy and in their element if only one of their passions is satisfied in a job or project or event. When only one or two passions are addressed in a task, although they experience some level of satisfaction, they often carry a feeling of void or disappointment that makes them wonder whether or not they are doing what they truly love. For people with Multiple Passion Syndrome, the regular tools usually fail to identify their true passion as their true passion is indeed a mix of many different interests. There’s a high chance you are a person with multiple passions syndrome if you are still reading this post. The truth is, you would most probably feel happy at work only if you are able to address a mix of your passions in your daily work.
Now looking at job ads, there is probably zero jobs out there that offer the possibility of doing all the things you are passionate about. So what should you do about that? I say you should create a job for yourself. I don’t mean you should necessarily quit your job and go start a business. That would be too easy! I mean you can create a situation in your current job – or your next job – that would allow you to do a number of tasks each of which relates to a range of things you are passionate about.
Get comfortable with the idea that you do not have to have a word for your passion or passions. It is ok to only describe a situation in which you are happily working. It is ok if you cannot think of a way to get paid for what makes you happy. I will help you find YOUR unique way of getting there. But first
1. Start visualizing your happiness
2. Tell your friends and even strangers about what makes you happy
3. Share your crazy ideas with others (at work, in school, in parties, etc) often.
4. Think of the tiniest thing(s) you can do today that is related to what makes you happy (Hint: do not limit yourself to ONE thing) and DO IT.
5. Allow yourself to fail.
6. Choose your tasks and build your job
7. Do, and do and do some more.
I know it may sound intimidating but if you never try you’ll never know. First step after knowing you are a person with multiple passions is to take action.
You need to actually do something to know for sure if you like it or not. You need to be doing something to know if you need to add something to it or remove some aspects of it. Think of it as the art of cooking. You need to taste the food to know whether you need to add more pepper or not. You need to taste it to know whether it has become to salty. Get comfortable with trying, failing, learning from your mistakes, moving on and trying again.
I will explain all these 7 steps in more detail in future posts. If you liked what you read, share this article with your friends and help someone find their passion.