Once you enter the working world, you’ll hear office banter like, “You know you’ve made it when the big guy wants to see you” or “All the hard work is going to be worth it someday.”
Do you really want to wait for someday?
You’re focused on the big payoff of success. But what does success even look like? It may include the house, car and 401K. Or it might be making enough to retire later on and enjoy life. Usually, it has something to do with the hope of a good job after college.
But something’s missing, and that’s the other seven-letter word you may have forgotten: passion.
Figuring out what passion looks like
When you’re living out your passion, you don’t need to wait for retirement to enjoy life. Passion equals happiness.
What does passion look like?
It looks a little something like this: waking up refreshed, being excited for work because it doesn’t feel like actual “work,” wanting to share what you’re doing with others, feeling totally satisfied on the inside and wanting to scream from the rooftops. You’re just that happy.
If that’s the case, why are so many still living on the success pendulum?
For one thing, the passion route may be more rewarding, but it’s harder. It takes determination, hard work, thick skin and some faith There are GenYers out there right now living a passion-fueled life because it is achievable.
How do you go about living a passion-driven lifestyle?
Start by following these four simple steps:
- Write down your core values (a.k.a. principles and beliefs that you live by).
- Write down what you love to do: hobbies, side projects, etc.
- Add your core values to your loved hobbies and write down what jobs have both.
- Pursue careers (or create your own!) that involve both your values and your hobbies. (Values + hobbies = passion.)
Most of us miss this simple formula. It really is that easy; there’s nothing to overcomplicate. You can even start by asking a few questions. For example, if you’re in a profession you despise, why are you still there? If your 9-to-5 job is giving you mild to severe depression or anxiety, is it worth it to stay?
The biggie: don’t settle
Don’t settle for a career that undermines your talents, skills, values and beliefs.
A paycheck may be a means to an end, but a paycheck is not worth losing your core identity over.
Where would we be now if Edison decided to give up and not create the first incandescent light? Where would our technology be in 2013 if Steve Jobs hadn’t founded Apple? If you’re reading this right now on a MacBook Pro in a well-lit room, then you get the point.
Don’t give up on your passion for a “smarter” path. That “smart” career might end up buying you every material possession your heart desires, but it won’t buy you happiness. Your time is valuable and it deserves to be spent wisely.
If you have to dig that bachelor’s degree out of your closet to remind you what your dreams were freshman year, dig it out. If it means rummaging in your basement or attic to find those action heroes or comic books you admired as a child, do it.
Find that microphone, that cape, that journal or that paintbrush. Make an effort to rediscover what you used to love and what used to matter to you. That’s the only real way for you to uncover your core values and beliefs.
Because it’s never too late get off the success pendulum. You have the ultimate power to decide when to start living your life. Your boss, partner or friend can’t decide that for you. Only you can.
Be brave. Be courageous. Be passionate. Because that’s your true form of success.