If you think this is a silly question, this post isn’t aimed at you. But I’ve always felt there was some other career out there meant for me, if I could only find it.
This post is part one of a series aimed at helping you (and me!) figure out what will bring you fulfillment and joy.
Working 9 to 5
Marc Anthony, American musician, said, “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life.” While doing what you love sounds wonderful and romantic, getting there can be pretty darn daunting.
Maybe you grew up in a working class home where you watched your parents dutifully put in their shifts at “the plant.” They worked Monday through Friday from 7am to 4pm, just so they could enjoy the weekend off and two weeks at the campground each summer.
Or perhaps you went off to college and studied law or sales or biology, and now you feel trapped in a job you don’t love. You’d like to change course, but what if you make the wrong choice? What else are you even qualified to do? And what about those student loans?
Here’s another dilemma for those who feel as if they’re “working for the weekend” and not pursuing their passions: How can you even know what you want to be when you grow up?
The truth is, there are millions of people out there who trudge off to work each and every day, wishing they were anywhere else, and hoping one day to find what really inspires them. If that’s you, then rest assured, you are not alone.
But know this, too: There is still time to discover your passion and start doing the work you love.
Your Own Personal Passion Project
Let’s start with a little brainstorming.
Unlike boring corporate brainstorming, though, we’re not going to use a whiteboard (unless you want to, although I confess to loving whiteboards) and we’re not going to be solving a big sticky problem.
Instead, set aside an hour or so of uninterrupted time. Head out to the park or a coffee shop, and take along your favorite notebook and pens. Find a quiet corner, and just let your mind wander. Do a little daydreaming.
Imagine that money is not a concern. You have enough to manage your day-to-day needs, with some left over for fun. You have the freedom to do anything you like with your days.
In your notebook, make a list of all the things you would do with your time if you could spend it any way you liked.
Would you shop?
Would you paint glorious watercolors?
Would you go back to college and earn a degree in computer science?
Travel the world?
Work with abused women?
Plant a garden?
If you get stuck, think about what you do on weekends and holidays. Nearly everyone looks forward to relaxing and enjoying their favorite activities after the workweek is done. What are the activities you most enjoy?
The purpose of this exercise is not to make a realistic list of business opportunities, but rather to make a list of possibilities, so don’t censor yourself. Write down whatever pops into your head without considering if you can make money with it, whether or not you’ll love it forever, or even if you have the skills or talent for it.
That is, after all, what brainstorming is all about. Unfiltered ideas. We’ll sort them out later.
Stay tuned for the next step! In the meantime, brainstorm away!
4 indie-published books
3 degrees (MCert, Web Design & Development, University of Denver; MLS, University of Alabama; BA, Art, University of Alabama in Huntsville)
17+ years professional experience in university web design and editing