Being ambitious and driven to succeed yet not knowing where your passion lies is tough. You think back to your classmates who have always known what they wanted to do since the age of 8.. You look to your mentors who have been making change in their respective fields seemingly forever. And you feel lost. You feel like you should just pick something and make it work. Only when you do, it takes less than a year for you to find yourself wanting something different; that what you chose isn’t quite a perfect fit. Your parents and established peers start to see you as a wanderer.
The path aspiring and determined wanderers follow is quite similar. We pick a subject that interests us and do our degree in that, thinking that we’ll figure the job thing out once we finish school. Some of us may go on to do a Masters degree. Not because we have stumbled across our passion and want to establish ourselves in it, but because we still don’t know what avenue to pursue career-wise, and feel that we don’t need to make a choice as long as we’re still in school. Surely another 2 years will help.
Perhaps it’s the plight of our generation: feeling entitled to work a career in our passion, rather than one that provides security and stability. If only we could figure out what it is!
The great secret to finding your passion is that it’s not something to “figure out”. To “figure out” implies to solve a problem. But therein lies the trouble, our passion is not a problem to be solved! We can no more “figure out” our passion than we can “figure out” how many children we’ll have. Time and circumstances will tell.
The reality is that rather than finding your passion, your passion finds you. One day, years after graduation and several jobs later, it hits you. You’re passionate about this.
Just like that.
You have an epiphany moment and realize not only that this is exactly what you want to be doing, but it’s something you’re good at.
Being ambitious and driven to do something different is both a blessing and a curse. You’ll never be fully satisfied with being a carpenter, a lawyer or a teacher like your former classmates. With trial and error you might however, find later on that you want to build better more affordable housing, go on to be an environmental lawyer tackling International Climate Agreements, or bring accessible education to children in need.
The path less taken is no less successful, it’s just harder to find. It also often requires making a connection with similarly passionate and driven people who are willing to support you in your adventure.