In my experience, the best way to find your passion or interest is by experiencing it in real life. Many of us don’t find our passions or interests until we have already graduated and started working. It is very difficult to know what you are passionate about if you have never done it on a regular basis. The first step would be to write down your future goals and then identify the potential career paths that can lead you to those goals. For example, if a future goal for you is to have flexibility in your job where you are able travel, then choosing a career that allows you to work remotely would be a good way to go. From there, you can narrow down your options and begin to learn about those careers and seek potential internships or jobs shadowing.
Another good way to identify what you passionate about is to take into consideration your own personality. The success of your career and your job satisfaction will depend on choosing a career path that fits your personality. For example, if you are very outgoing person that prefers to be surrounded by people, then you could potentially find your passion in a career of sales or marketing. If your personality is more reserved and prefer to work individually, you could find your passion in the field of administration, analytics, accounting, etc. Like I mentioned, the best way to find your passions or interest is by experiencing them on your own and identifying your personality type.
One thing I have found very useful as I've continued in my career is doing a Values exercise. There are a few versions of this values cards exercise online, where you are given a series of cards containing values descriptions, and you are ask to review them and select the values that most resonate with you, down from about 30 to the top 5. Once you have that top 5, of things that resonate and mean the most to you , these can be your guides.
Your five key values may be things that have resonated with you because you feel they are currently lacking in your life or career, or they are things you are passionate about, or things you want to keep doing. The important thing is that they are important to you in the your life right now. Now, when you have a decision to make, you can refer back to your key values, to see if a choice aligns with the things you've identified as being most important to you.
I say "right now" because your values and want you value most can change, as can your goals. Having a guide towards what your ideal life and career might look like gives you a lens you can use to support your choices, or identify why you might not be feeling comfortable, and looking for a change.
I have a physical set of cards, and I refer to them every six months of so, to remind myself, and to double check if anything has shifted. If I've made a change that means one of the valued "needs" now feels "in control", it might not resonate with me so much, and I may switch it out for the next one.
Once you have your values, look at the things you do right now, and a list of things you might want to do, and see how they stack up against your values. It might not be what you expected!
Some really great advice I've had from a mentor, too, is that not everything you have to do is about your passion, exciting or totally amazing. Passion and fulfilment can be a quiet joy and contentment, too. As long as you are finding ways to feel fulfilled, happy and challenged in the right ways, you will find the ideal balance. If your job isn't your "passion", find things in your personal life the fulfil your values, and look at ways to achieve or relate activities in your work as ways to achieve those things you highlighted as valuable to you.
Sarah M. recommends the following next steps:
You have gotten some great responses here. I would just add my thoughts that starting with what already interests you is a good way to start. This is because work, any work, can be made harder if you don't like what you do. I can get through some difficult stuff at work because at the end of the day, I love what I physically do. I may not like my boss or my clients, but I love the development of a product that meets a need. So what do you like? Often you exhibit a talent or skill in something that you love. Singer, painter, speech giver, runner - the things that you do well can lead you to what you want to do. You just have to consider your options. CareerVillage is one of those places where you can get more information. Ask people what jobs are required for whatever skill you have and want to use. Do internet search around specific skills or maybe industries that you are interested in. There are several people on this platform for have asked about being in the movie business. There are literally hundreds of job roles that can support the making of movies - from actor to human resources. So that leads me to another point - how would you like to use your talents and skills? At my core, I am a writer in my personal and professional life. I am a writer but writing medical journals would be beyond ability. Medical and legal jargon don't interest me. So think about how you want to use your talents and skills.
You have pretty great answers to guide you in finding your passion.
For me, you can find your passion / interest by trying things out. That is the best way to know what you want, what makes you wake up in the morning and what you dream of at night. It is something that you want to do despite of all challenges that may go your way.
Take your sweet time in finding your passion. Life is not a race. We all have different paths and timelines. Enjoy every single journey.
Have a great time finding your passion! :)
Very good question and excellent advice provided by others.
I am going to share the best advice that was given to me and also how my passion found me.
The advice: Whatever is your first thought when you open your eyes in the morning, that "thing" that resonates your thoughts throughout the day and you would do without being paid is your passion. The key is turning that passion into income that will provide for you in the future.
When I was in high school my goal was to be a pediatrician. I had even mapped out the college I would attend. I always knew I wanted to be in some sort of helping profession and loved children, so it seemed a perfect fit to me. But sometimes life has a way of going in different directions and because of my choices...my path changed.
The experiences I endured as a result of my decisions empowered me to be a voice for those in similar situations. Simply put, I didn't want anyone to have to experience what I did without support.
So instead of becoming a pediatrician working only with children, I became a Social Worker working with not only children, but with every population imaginable. I have had the opportunity to help amazing people and learn things I never even imagined.
Know that your passions can change. Be inquisitive, ask questions, seek advice from those you trust. Remember... there are no mistakes, only opportunities to grow.
There is no timeline on when people find their passion. It is different for everyone and you can't force it. I had the same question several years ago and here is some pieces of advice I was given:
What you can do is think about what you are happy doing. Make a list of those things if it helps - what gets your heart racing; what makes you smile. Sometimes you may need help with that list so ask trusted friends and advisors what they can see that you are good at.
Mull over that list and you may be able to out those items into categories.
Remeber - there is no timetable.