How to Follow Your Passions and Still Pay the Bills

Women working in the Pinion Department at Bulova Watch
CC Image courtesy of Flickr

From a very early age we were conditioned to shoot for the stars and chase our dreams, though when we grow up, very few of us actually reached those dreams. Somewhere along the way we had to make responsible choices that had long-lasting effects on our futures. We were made to put our dreams aside, and focus on preparing for the future. While there are those fortunate to have found careers in their fields of study or in something they’re truly passionate about, many more people work jobs they’re not happy with just to pay the bills. But paying the bills doesn’t have to come at the price of one’s passions and desires. Here are 5 simple ways to help you find your passion, follow it and still be able to pay the bills.

INVENTORY YOUR TALENTS

Maybe you’re not passionate about what you’re doing because you haven’t realized what you’re truly passionate about. Take a long look in the mirror and vocalize what things are important to you and see if you can’t find a part of your job that you’re good at and love. Liking even the smallest part of your work can be enough of a catalyst to ignite the passion in your heart, allowing you to leverage that and create more work you find enjoyable.

THINK OF WHAT YOU LOVED TO DO AS A CHILD

Children at recess

Children at Recess
CC Image courtesy of Flickr

Before the “grown-ups” of our youth got to us many of us had clear visions of what we wanted to be when we grew up. Rather than regress all the way back to childhood, take a bit of that youthful ambition and translate it into a present day passion. Did you like to draw or do crafts as a kid? Perhaps you should sign up for a community art class.

Remember the hours spent climbing the jungle gym at recess? Translate that into hours on a rock wall or learning a new sport. Or perhaps instead of creating languages like children do, you can learn a new language, be it a cultural language or a programming language, both would be highly beneficial and marketable.

 CHANGE THE WAY YOU LOOK AT WORK

So your job isn’t your “true passion”, but that doesn’t mean parts of it aren’t. Be grateful for the job you have (because many people don’t have one) and focus less on the negatives and more on the aspects that you enjoy. If you’re sociable and like to talk then increase the interactions you have with clients. If you’re bursting with ideas, come up with researched strategies that you can suggest for future implementation, who knows, one of them may work. By focusing on what you do have and like in your work you can then leverage that into creating more of what you want to do.

 FIND A HOBBY

Your job doesn’t have to be the one and only source of your passion. Find something outside of work that you enjoy, then go out and do it. Don’t just do it, get good at it. The activities in life we find most rewarding are those we develop skills and increased interest in. Research shows that trying new things affects the dopamine receptors in our brains, resulting in increased levels of happiness. So open yourself up to noticing things around you that you may enjoy doing on an extended basis. Like to play music?  I’m sure someone else in the office does too and may have some spare time, so start up an office band. Maybe you’ve been talking about bowling with the coworkers, signing up for a league may not be a bad idea to explore.

WEAR YOUR PASSION ON YOUR SLEEVE

These are all great ways to find your passion, but no one will truly see your passion until you own it. It’s one thing to say you’re passionate about something, it’s another to actually be passionate. Passion isn’t something you can just tell people, people can tell it about you because passion is exuded through actions. If you’re going up for a job with average skills but passion that is off the scales, 9/10 times you’re more than likely to get the job over the higher skilled passionless candidate. That’s not to say that your passion will carry you through life, you can be passionate, but without any discernible skills you’ll still be overlooked. Style without substance will cause people to judge you in a negative fashion. If you’re truly passionate then you don’t need to tell people you’re passionate, they’ll be able to see that about you.

Without time off from work, a person becomes both bored and boring. The way we’re used to hearing this is the old proverb “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”, which is true, you need to find that balance between work and play in your life to be happy and fulfilled. Infuse your passion into your life, volunteer in it, create a business in it, know all there is to know about it, make friends with people that share your passions. If you think you’re too busy to do anything more than what you’re currently doing, then you haven’t found what you’re truly passionate about. Whether you find your passion at work, outside of it, or in some combination of the two, there is a way you CAN pay your bills, and become a passionate person too!

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