How to Find a Career That Ignites Your Passion

You’ve heard the age-old advice: do what you love, and the rest — that is, the money — will come. We’re told that pursuing a career you can be passionate about will bring happiness and fulfillment. But what if you’re not sure what your passion is? What if you have more than one passion? What if you’re passionate about something that doesn’t open up a lot of career opportunities, or doesn’t pay well enough to support a family?

The truth is that you can feel passionate about almost any career. You just need to feel like you’re making a difference and doing important work. To find a career you can feel passionate about, break a job down to its components to decide what kind of work you’ll be content doing day in and day out. If you have less lucrative passions, like raising a family, for example, consider a flexible career that will allow you to feel good about your work while leaving you the time you need to devote to living a life that fulfills you.

Should You Find Your Passion — Or Let It Find You?

The common advice for young people seeking a career path — or for older people seeking a career change — is to figure out what ignites your passion and then pursue a career in that field. Often, this advice comes from people who figured out what they’re passionate about at the age of 5 and have never doubted it since. But it’s not uncommon to reach adulthood, or even middle age, without knowing what you’re passionate about. And the pressure to build a career upon a foundation of passionate investment can leave many people feeling panicked or overwhelmed by self-doubt.

Of course, you can always go out and look for your passion — you certainly wouldn’t be the first person to discover his or her passion through exploration and soul-searching. Consider your talents; what are you good at? What career did you dream of in childhood? If you were independently wealthy and could do as you liked all day long, every day, what would you do with that time?

But maybe you’re concerned that you won’t be able to turn your passion for basket weaving, yodeling, or cat herding into a full-time career that will pay the bills and provide for your family. Maybe you’re just not interested in turning your hobby into a full-time career — maybe you’re worried that doing the thing you love as a job will take all the fun out of it, or maybe you’d simply prefer a more practical career that offers more job opportunities.

That’s understandable — and fortunately, it’s possible to love more than one thing and to ignite passion for a career that may not have been your top choice. Think about the things you’ve loved about previous jobs you’ve had. Do you like working with people, or would you rather work alone? Do you thrive in an atmosphere that rewards creativity, or are you more analytical? Do you prefer to work regular hours or are you more interested in flexible schedule? What kinds of tasks have you enjoyed in your previous jobs? You can cultivate a passion for almost any job as long as it offers you some sense of autonomy, you feel like you’re good at it, and you feel like you’re making a difference. Even if you don’t feel passionate about your career choice at first, that feeling can develop as long as the job provides what you need to feel motivated.

Consider a Flexible Career That Offers More Free Time

If you’re not sure that you can turn your passion into a career, or don’t want to, another option is to consider a more flexible job. You can take RN to MSN programs online, and nursing is a career that will not only allow you to feel like you’re making a difference, but will offer you the work-life balance you need to write, spend time with your kids, work in your garden, or whatever makes you feel fulfilled.

They say that when you love your job, you’ll never work a day in your life. That might not be strictly true; you will have tough days no matter how much you love your job. Whether you look for a career you can feel passionate about or let your passion evolve as you settle into a career, that sense of fulfillment will help keep you motivated, even when those tough days come along.