At one of my previous jobs I frequently spoke to bachelor students in my role as coach. During these conversations, I often heard them ask, “I don’t know what my passion is, should I worry?” They expressed this sentiment with a sense of failure, as if they had already fallen short in life. It’s important to note that these students were typically around 17 to 19 years old. I find this situation so disheartening – that they believe they have failed simply because they haven’t discovered their ‘passion’ yet. For most people ‘passion’ doesn’t present itself in a straightforward manner. It’s not something you can actively search for and I even think you cannot definitively pinpoint it. While you can take actions to uncover your passion, searching for it directly will likely prove fruitless.

My Search for Passion

At the age of 12, I was convinced that I wanted to become a makeup artist. It was my passion, or so I believed with my 12-year-old mindset. However, I developed an allergy that year, which turned out to be caused by certain ingredients commonly found in makeup products. In the following years, I embarked on an ardent search for my passion. I can assure you, I searched long and hard. But the longer the search persisted, the more disappointed I became. I started losing hope. I recognized that I possessed certain skills, but they didn’t ignite a sense of passion within me. I didn’t derive joy or energy from them. In my early twenties, I found myself echoing the sentiments of the students I now engage with. I felt like a failure, uncertain of what my passion truly was.

Was Learning My Passion?

I discovered enjoyment in my studies. I truly found joy in learning new things. Those who know me, even a little, are aware that I pursued multiple fields of study. These studies were vastly different from one another: interior stylist, social pedagogical worker, marketing and communication, and eventually, communication and multimedia design. The more I tried, the better I understood my likes and dislikes. During my final education (around the age of 24), I came to the realization that I wouldn’t “find” my passion. Instead, I would simply see where life took me and have fun in the meantime. This perspective made life more relaxed, and I wasn’t as disappointed in myself. When asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I would respond with, “Old and happy.”

The Power of Shifting Focus

After graduating, I started my first grown-up job, a traineeship. Long story short, it didn’t go well. After six months, I experienced burnout and was unable to work for six months. During this period, I had ample time for introspection and reflection on the deeper aspects of life. I delved into what truly made me happy, how I compared to others, what I desired, and who I wanted to become. I truly got to know myself. This self-discovery provided a sense of direction in life. I identified my strengths and recognized the ones that brought me happiness and fulfillment. I also developed personal principles and defined my values. It felt like I was finally establishing a solid foundation for myself. This newfound clarity greatly aided me in making choices. I discovered work that allowed me to leverage my strengths and align with my values and principles.

Step by Step

When I transitioned into the field of education, everything fell into place. I realized that my past mistakes stemmed from my intense focus on commercial work and the belief that I should pursue that type of career. The first part was accurate; I had a way with words, could chat with almost anyone, and was good at selling stuff – but only if I wholeheartedly believed in them. However, if I were to pursue commercial work, I would also have to sell things that I didn’t fully support. I couldn’t do that. I couldn’t behave in a way that contradicted my principles. I couldn’t lie or exaggerate. Consequently, I didn’t fit into the world of commerce, at least not the one I had encountered. I had to redirect my focus elsewhere.

When I began working with people without the need to sell them anything, I noticed that the more authentic I was, the better I felt, and the more effectively I could assist them. I could genuinely be myself and have trust in the work I was doing. It was a fantastic feeling! Gradually, things started falling into place. I identified the aspects of my work that brought me the most joy – interacting with people and motivate them to persevere and find their strengths. I loved coaching people.

Have I Found My Passion?

Honestly, I’m not entirely sure. Maybe I have, or maybe I haven’t. However, I firmly believe that there are many more incredible adventures awaiting me in the future. At present, coaching feels incredibly right to me, but it’s merely the tip of the iceberg. The beauty of it all is that it’s perfectly okay. I am extremely content with where I am now, and I understand that every step I take aligns with my values and principles. Each step feels fulfilling. It’s not always easy, and sometimes I encounter less enjoyable tasks or realize that I don’t fully support certain endeavors – and that’s alright too! These experiences allow me to learn more about myself and keep progressing. I can’t claim that I am getting “closer” to happiness or “closer” to my passion because that would imply that I’m not happy in the present moment, despite the potential for even greater happiness in the future. That’s not the case at all. I am perfectly content in the present. Nevertheless, it doesn’t mean that I don’t strive every day to discover more and try new things. That’s what makes life exciting.

What About You?

I began this blog with the statement from students who feel the need to identify their passion before even graduating. Let me make it clear that I believe this notion is completely unnecessary. Instead, focus on understanding your core self. What are your strengths? What brings you joy? What do you want to learn? What do you find incredibly dull? What ignites your anger? These are the questions you can ask yourself to get closer to your passion. Once you stumble upon an aspect of that passion, trust me, you will know it! It will fill you with excitement (in the best possible way).

Life is constantly evolving, and so are you. The key is to learn how to take each step in the right direction – the direction that feels right for you. Even if it turns out that what you initially thought was right isn’t as enjoyable as expected, that’s okay too. You are remarkable! You simply need to understand why it is so.