Bear with us, for a second. Picture Mary. Mary finds her dream job after combing through hundreds of ads and inquiring with every personal connection she’s made over the years. Mary lands the job and absolutely loves it!
Years go by. And then Mary gets burnt out. She’s been pushing so hard for so long because she truly believed her passion for her field would get her through it all. Mary gets sad. Finally, Mary wonders if maybe there’s no real passion out there after all.
What do you do if you’re Mary?
Time for some hard truths. It’ll be worth it.
Truth #1: Passion Will Tire You Out
Let’s have some real talk: we love passion. We all need to be working from a place of passion. And we want you to find your passion, because you deserve it!
But finding it can be hard. And doing it can be even harder. And you know what? That’s completely normal.
We don’t go after our dreams because they’re easy. We follow them because of a deep desire to find something that aligns with our souls. The kind of alignment that makes us feel like we belong in this world, and more importantly, that we bring something to the table.
It’s an uncomfortable truth then that doing what you love will occasionally burn you out.
When you do work you truly care about, it’s hard to shut it off. It’s easy to constantly be thinking about it—even when you’re trying not to. It tugs at your soul. And when things tug at your soul you answer.
But that’s tiring! You’re a person and not a machine. So even things you absolutely love will sometimes drag you down. If you’re feeling this way, take a vacation. If that’s not possible, take a day off. If that’s also out of the question, start working on unplugging at the end of the workday as much as possible. For most of us, that’s enough to get the spark back.
Truth #2: You’re Confusing Your Job with Your Passion
Many people use the words “job” and “passion” interchangeably, which can lead to a lot a heartache when you feel like you only have one passion out there in the world. Suddenly finding your next job becomes as hard as finding “the one.”
Instead, think of it this way: Your passion is rooted in who you are and what you have to offer the world. Your job is how you express that passion on a daily basis. So, while your passion may stay the same, your job can certainly change.
What happens to most of us over time is that we grow, evolve, and change. We travel, get married, have kids, learn new things, and our perspective about what we value starts to change.
What’s important to you in a job at twenty-two can be very different from what’s important at thirty-two or fifty-two. When you first start out, it might be creativity, flexibility, and growth that matter the most. Later down the road, routine, promotions, and mentoring might grow in value to you. And that’s okay.
If you’re in a role that used to totally fuel you, but now it’s starting to drag you down, then it might be time to look more closely at your values and at what’s important to you now versus what was important to you when you took the job initially.
It’s okay to want to move on from your dream job, or want to redefine it in some way to match the person who you have become over the last few years.
In fact, it’s completely normal.
If what’s calling to your soul is what you’re doing as your work, that’s amazing! But maybe things could be better. Could you ask for more flexible hours? Could you request that your boss give you feedback in a different way? You likely can’t redesign your entire job, but you might be able to make a few adjustments that’ll help.
If what’s calling to your soul is different from what you’re doing now, that’s totally okay. Take stock of what’s important to your life right now—in the present moment—and use that as your guide in finding another job that fits those goals. And always prioritize your goals so you know where to draw the line.
Finally, if you have absolutely no idea what calls to your soul, the majority of us don’t either. So don’t panic. Sometimes we need to acknowledge what isn’t working before we can start to figure out what will, so you’re still on your way! Cut yourself some slack, and stay in tune with your personal goals. Take a break, give yourself some downtime, and do something that makes you happy. You’ll create some space for answers before you know it.