Do you have time during the day to explore your passions? Not feeling passionate about your job doesn’t mean that you cannot feel fulfilled. When you’re done with your professional duties, you still have the chance to do what really excites you. There isn’t one right way to follow your passion. Whether it is your job or the activities you do during your spare time, what matters is that you feel happy and satisfied once the day is over.
Passion provides energy and motivation to our lives, meaning to our goals. When we only focus on professional matters, especially if we are not passionate about these, we may be placing our personal wellbeing at risk. On the other hand, if we only focus on our personal wellbeing, we may not be able to achieve our professional goals. Thus, creating and maintaining a balance here is important for both our career and our health, and a sense of passion could be just the aligning factor we’re looking for.
A day only has 24 hours and we usually need to deal with many obligations, deadlines, and family responsibilities. When on top of all of this we also want to pursue a passion project, work-life balance becomes an important concept for our overall wellbeing. With all these tasks in mind, it’s common to feel overwhelmed. Past research has shown that around 10% of people experience difficulties when trying to find a balance between work and personal life. The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) recognizes how finding true work-life balance is a challenge for many, with 10% of employees within the OECD countries working a minimum of 50 hours per week. In this article, we will focus on how to pursue a passion while at the same time keeping all other aspects of our life balanced.
Obsessive VS Harmonious Passion
Researchers distinguish between two types of passion, obsessive and harmonious. Obsessive passion results from “a controlled internalization of the activity within one’s identity and self”, where feelings of social-acceptance and self-esteem are usually associated with the result of the activity. On the other hand, harmonious passion is “an autonomous internalization of the activity into the person’s identity and self”, where the activity is deemed as important by the individual, but without any external pressure. Harmonious passion allows the activity to be a priority without interfering with other aspects of life. When a job becomes an obsessive passion, it will have an impact on one’s personal life, as their career will always be prioritized over their personal life. On the contrary, harmonious passion allows us to decide when and when not to engage in our professional pursuits.
It’s true that we spend most of the day at work, so it’d be ideal if we could feel passionate about it. However, if passion is lacking, but you feel that you’re applying your knowledge and skills at work, you might enjoy the sense of competence it gives you as well as the financial security the job provides. In this case, there is a possibility to find what truly inspires you during your spare time.
Discovering Your Passion
Finding our true passion mightn’t be an easy feat. Passion can carry with it both difficulties and disappointments, so it’s really important to know what really inspires us and what challenges we may find along the way.
Luckily, passions can be found unexpectedly at any point along our life journey. Taking part in a yoga lesson, trying lettering for the first time, or traveling are all experiences that may allow us to discover our passions. Every step we take personally and professionally can lead us to an activity or end result that ignites our passion, even though the road towards it might be an arduous one.
If we open our minds to what we’re doing, we may be more aware of how activities make us feel and the various places that they can lead us to. Try to discover how you feel when cooking, exercising, working, and doing other activities that are part of your daily routine. Try different experiences as well. The key is to keep searching through experience and introspection, because doing what we love brings energy and motivation to our lives.
Finding What You’re Passionate About
- We’re often told to “follow our passion”, yet oftentimes we don’t really know what we’re passionate about. However, we can all find our passions by doing what we like. Your job may not be the dream job you had imagined it to be, but personal and professional experience can guide you towards finding your passion.
- Trying new things can make a difference. Starting a new hobby, taking a new course, volunteering, or even expanding your social network.
- Paying attention to your feelings and examining your values. On a daily basis, we tend to “live fast”, and do what we have to in order to get through our daily tasks. If we could slow down and actually think about how we feel every time we try out something new or different, we may just figure out or understand our purposes and desires.
- Taking small steps and observing. It isn’t always easy or even economically possible to abruptly change our career and try out what we think we’re passionate about. However, by taking small steps and continually observing how we feel while doing the things we do, we can make the small changes we need in our lives. Taking online classes, joining book clubs, learning crafts… There’s a lot we can do that doesn’t require a huge change of lifestyle.
- Making mistakes during this process is common. Finding our true passions may take a while, and involve several tries and possible disappointments, where finding a balance between work and life is the ultimate reward.
Is It Time for a Renewal?
In some cases, having invested in education and time doesn’t mean that we need to dedicate our lives to that field. You can find yourself immersed in a profitable career but if it doesn’t fulfill your professional and personal goals, then change is still a possibility. Authors at the Harvard Business Review list some thoughts and feelings individuals commonly experience when it might be time for change:
- “I feel trapped.” When losing interest and motivation in a job, it usually becomes difficult to discover what exactly is wrong and how to fix it.
- “I am bored.” Achieving goals and job satisfaction aren’t the same thing. When we only focus on the end result, but don’t necessarily enjoy the process, we might find our job boring.
- “I am not the person I want to be.” Sometimes our routine is not compatible with who we truly are.
- “I won’t compromise my ethics.” This thought may come about when the requirements of our job aren’t aligned with our personal values.
- “I can’t ignore the call.” You may suddenly realize what your true passion is, or you might even receive a job offer that changes your personal and professional goals, and those are very difficult calls to ignore.
- “Life is too short.” Sometimes a difficult life experience may make us realize the importance of living a meaningful and purposeful life.
Authors at the Harvard Business Review recommend various strategies with which to assess those feelings, as well as how to find solutions to them:
- Taking time off: If this is a realistic possibility for you, sometimes taking some time to reevaluate is the best opportunity to reconnect with yourself and your aspirations.
- Exploring opportunities for professional guidance: This might include finding a program that inspires you to take steps that bring you closer to your passion, and guiding you towards exploring your dreams.
- Scheduling time for self-examination: This can allow you the opportunity to analyze how you feel during your daily routine and to reflect on what might potentially make you happier.
- Finding external help: As advice from friends and family might not always be enough, enlisting the services of a professional coach may help you to uncover your strengths and deepest aspirations.
What Are the Benefits of Passion for a Work-Life Balance?
When we do what we’re passionate about, what we really enjoy doing, we wake up with motivation and energy. That, in turn, improves our mental health, because even though we may be busy and tired at times, we also feel complete and satisfied. Lethargy and fear for the future can diminish once we incorporate time into doing what feeds our soul.
Reflecting on the past is important; thinking about the jobs you have had, the education and courses you have undertaken, the activities you enjoy when you travel or even the first thing you prioritize when you have some spare time. Which aspect did you enjoy the most from your last job? What do you always plan first when you arrive at a new destination? In every one of these answers, you may find a new piece of your passion
Continue to observe how you feel during your everyday life, both personally and professionally, and you’ll soon be able to get to know yourself and your passions. Those passions will then bring energy and motivation to your life.
And don’t forget to reflect on your aspirations and future goals, as connecting with yourself on a daily basis is an essential component to living a purposeful and meaningful life, where your passions can lead to greater satisfaction in both your career and personal life.