Who says work can’t be fun?
While we here at SST love our jobs, just like anyone else, work can get the best of us at times. Days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months, and it can sometimes start to feel like routine is taking over. Between everyday tasks and projects, it is easy to fall into a rut where your passions are put aside. Work is work, but that does not mean work should not align with your personal values and passions. Who says work can’t be fun?
Earlier this year, I started working with SST in running areas of their social media and writing work, which is work I really love! However, I can always make it more fun and valuable by aligning my tasks with my passions.
For example, I love videography and graphic design. As such, I started to integrate some of those passions into my work. And once I made that choice, I regularly started to feel happier and more productive. I even felt those feelings when doing the less exciting and less glamorous parts that come along with any job.
Not all careers are as flexible, but aligning your passions does not have to be about integrating a creative skill or hobby into your job. Aligning your passions could mean using your strengths and talents to enhance the jobs you already do.
Whether you are working a 9-5 or a work-from-home gig, there are ways to bring passion into everything you do! To get you started, below are a few steps you can use to identify your passions, integrate them into work tasks, and complete a self-reflection. In addition, I added a few quick exercises to make each step of the process a little easier to navigate.
How to Find Passion in Your Current Career
Identify your passions
Identifying your passions can be a little bit tricky. Everyone has passions, but it is not always easy to define them in a simple and easy-to-understand way. The most critical factor of any passion is that it is something that you love and that gets you into your flow state. Take a few reflective moments and complete the exercises below.
Exercise #1: Think back to a recent experience, memory, or moment where you felt proud of the work you were doing. What type of work was it (service, planning, problem-solving, administrative, etc.)? Why did it make you feel proud?
Exercise #2: What hobbies do enjoy in your free time? What skills allow you do that hobby?
Exercise #3: Take a moment to write down a few of your strengths. Or, take a strengths test online to identify your best traits. How do you use those strengths everyday? I recently took the Clifton Strengths Finder and it was tremendously helpful to understanding my passions as a student and an employee.
After completing the exercises, review what you wrote down. What stands out to you? Are there any similarities between the answers? Which words, hobbies, or strengths describe you the best? What grabs your attention?
Use the exercises as a guide to monitor and identify your passions. See where you find patterns and see what speaks to your heart. Passions are about feeling happy and loving what you are doing.
As a personal example, one of my top 5 Clifton Strengths is empathy – I am passionate about helping other people. At work, I use that strength to pick up small tasks for others and lend out a helping hand when I can. I get so much satisfaction and joy from the smiling faces of the people I work with, and that is enough to make my whole day better!
Integrate your passions into your career
After identifying your passions, it is time to see how they can fit into your current career. Integrating your passions into daily tasks does not have to be hard, but it does take some self-reflection. Before completing the exercises below, think about your typical day at work.
Exercise #1: During your typical day at work, what do you enjoy doing the most? What do you dislike doing?
Exercise #2: What type of work do other people ask for your help with? What type of work do you ask for help with?
Exercise #3: What are your goals, visions, or values at work? Read this article about Career Anchors to help define what motivates you at work.
Taking a few minutes to reflect on your work life is a good part of self- care. After finishing the exercises, find the balance between the positive and negatives. What motivates you and what does not? Do your work visions align with the work you enjoy? Is the work that people ask for your help with the work you like to do?
Next, compare the two sets of exercises you completed. How can your passions enhance your career goals? How can you use your strengths or hobbies to make the work you do not like to do better? How can you share your passions with your colleagues, co-workers, or bosses?
Write down a few tangible goals that relate your passions to your work tasks. Think back to your day-to-day work life, where do your passions fit in? Aligning your passions with your career is about finding ways to fulfill both your heart and mind.
Seek progress and self-reflection
Self-reflection is a very important step when trying new things. It is all about finding out what works and what does not. I am all about being the best version of me and sometimes that requires a little time to think.
After a few weeks, I recommend taking some time to look back at the two exercises you completed. What holds true? What has changed? What new passions can you identify?
Review your goals and assess how you did. What were you able to implement into your daily work life? What is something you still want to work on? Go back and edit your goals to reflect your work so far. The good thing about goals is that you can always change and revise them as you continue on your journey.
Spread Your Passions and Love the Work You Do!
Work will always be work, but that does not mean we can’t love what we do! Experiment and try new things, eventually you will figure out what makes you feel happy, excited, and passionate.
No matter the field, position, or tasks that busy up your work week, there are ways to make your career more fun, challenging, and meaningful. Get out there and be passionate!