“Doing what you love is the cornerstone of having abundance in your life.” -Wayne Dyer, American self-help author and motivational speaker
Deciding what you want to do for a living is one of the most important decisions you’ll be making throughout your life. And I say “throughout your life” because “finding your passion” or “discovering your true calling or purpose” is more of an ongoing journey rather than a destination.
The truth is that you won’t find these answers by simply “thinking” about it. You are going to have to experience them and uncover different opportunities, talents, and interests as you move forward.
Without experience, it’s virtually impossible to know exactly what you will want to be doing for the rest of your life. This lack of life experience makes it a little hard to make those decisions and choices straight out of high school and even in your early adult years. Heck, many adults still aren’t sure what they want to be when they grow up.
The key to finding the path in life that will make you the happiest is to (1) Know where to begin by asking yourself some of the questions below and (2) Keep moving forward by engaging with the real world and uncovering new abilities, interests and opportunities.
1. If you knew you couldn’t fail and if money were no object, what would you have? What would you be? What would you do? What activities make you smile? What feels right? What kind of environments do you love to be in? What makes you happy? Take some time answering these questions. It’s extremely important for you to look deep inside of yourself, without the influence of what others perceive to be important, worthwhile, pleasurable or fun, and examine what YOU love to do, see, feel, and hear.
2. What comes natural to you? What is very easy for you but may be difficult for others? Studies show that passion stems from actively doing things that tap into your natural inclinations and abilities. When you tap into these natural abilities, you can expand on them and become an expert in a very small niche.
3. What interests and goals pull you forward? Positive Psychology states that we are more often drawn by the future than driven by the past. When you take the time to get to know yourself you may find interests that pull you forward and goals that inspire you to take action. By all means, follow them!
4. What do you love to do that makes time fly? You usually know you are on the right track when you begin to experience what psychologists refer to as “flow”, or what’s known as being “in the zone”. Experiencing pure joy while you are performing a task is a key indicator that you are moving in the right direction.
Don’t be discouraged if you are beginning your journey with a job that you have no interest in. What you do in order to pay the bills does not define who you are and these types of jobs teach us a lot about ourselves and help us uncover our true strengths, values, and even personal boundaries that we otherwise wouldn’t be aware of. Sometimes we don’t know what we really want in life until we actually experience what we don’t want. (On a side note, this stands true for the people we meet as well.)
Don’t stress if you aren’t sure what you want to do. Quite honestly, it took me 45 years to discover that I wanted to write for teens and young adults and I still can’t guarantee that this will be the last career choice that I ever make. The one thing I can guarantee is that you’ll change your mind about things. You’ll grow and learn things that you don’t like about things you thought you would love. Life is everchanging and your interests will be to.
I began my journey by working in a shoe store at the age of 16, then a hardware store at 17, followed by a law firm by 20. It was during my 5 year stretch there that I realized I was pretty good at writing while also attending college in order to get a degree in Psychology. Writing and having an interest in human behavior just so happens to be the only two consistent interests throughout my whole life. It was one of those clues that you can only see when looking back.
A few years later I worked for a small business that was owned by a young woman. Working for her taught me that I too wanted to own my own business someday. Then I had 2 children and began writing short stories while working for and learning the ropes of yet another small business at night. After that job, I was certain that my own business was in the horizon.
My path and a great offer led me to work for a large software company where I was happy and honored to be able to create my own newsletter in order to boost employee morale worldwide. It was during those 5 years that I started my own business on the side creating inspirational and motivational bookmarks and framed art.
Eventually, I was able to quit the software job and work on my own business full time while my children were in school. Soon after, I had my 3rd child and began working nights taking care of the elderly so that I could spend my days dedicated to my children.
While I was working the night shift with the elderly, I realized how valuable the wisdom they were sharing with me was… stories of their greatest lessons and most profound regrets. I decided that I wanted to do the same for teens and so I began writing a book that eventually evolved into the 56 Module Total Mind Development Course for Teens & Young Adults.
Shortly after finishing the course, I realized that teens could benefit from the wisdom of many experts and professionals from around the world and so I founded this online publication, The Teen Mentor, LLC. This way, we could create a Portal of Wisdom.
You see, each experience and job that I had, whether I enjoyed it or not, taught me something very valuable and each experience and job that you have throughout your life will do the same.
You are just beginning your journey.
Finding yourself and your life’s mission or passion is going to be an ongoing endeavor and you will likely go through many jobs, many different careers, have many different interests, and interact with many different people who will show you all kinds of different opportunities and interests. Not even you know where you will actually end up, but you can certainly learn how to face in the right direction.
Simply keep moving forward toward goals and interests that feel right and good to you.
The goal to finding your calling and passion in life isn’t actually reaching a destination, it’s having the self-awareness in order to honor what you like and what you don’t like throughout the whole process.
That’s what makes a real happy life.
About the Author: Michelle C. Ustaszeski-Hutchinson is the Founder of The Teen Mentor, LLC, a Personal Development Expert, and the Author and Content Director of The Total Mind Development™ Program for Teens & Young Adults. Her mission is to educate the younger generation about the important stuff that they don’t learn in school and help facilitate the sharing of wisdom from one generation to the next. Read more about Michelle or find more of her articles here.