Do you remember graduation day at university or college or even high school? I was having coffee with a friend the other day and we started reminising about the good ‘ol days, university, how we got to where we are and things we want to accomplish in the future. It got me thinking about my path and how it has changed and evolved. When I was in university, I always envied those people who knew what they wanted to do and were b-lining for it. Me on the other hand, I got thrown off the rails in 3rd year when I decided that I actually didn’t want to be a Lawyer anymore. Up until that point I was driving the b-line heading straight for Harvard Law. What changed? Well I did some chatting, interviewing, research, and decided that it just wasn’t for me. The elements that drew me to law initially – problem solving, helping people, variety, strategic thinking etc. – I realized were elements of a plethora of other jobs and careers that had alot more to offer as well. So I was stumped, but actually ok with that. I coasted through the next few years of school telling myself, ‘don’t worry you’ll figure it out, your passion and purpose will come to you,’ so I let it be.
Then graduation day came and I was asked by absolutely everyone (and their dog) what I was going to do now. I wasn’t just asked by family and friends, but it was an opening line for strangers to strike up a conversation with a newly minted grad to see where there head was at. In fact, all of us were being asked this, and while some were going off about their set career paths, my conversation went something like this:
Them: “So what are you going to do now?”
Me: “Mmm, eerrr, I’m not sure yet, I was heading straight for law school but then decided it wasn’t for me.”
Them: “Oh, law eh? that would’ve been a smart choice, so what now?”
–> Enter terrible gut feeling and panic.
Me: “I’m not sure…”
Them: “Well, whatever you do, just make sure to do something that you love, find your passion and you’ll be fine”
Then this theme continued with every conversation I had – “Do what you love”, “Just find your passion, that’s the key”, “You won’t be happy unless you do what you are passionate about”, “Finding your passion is the secret”
My thoughts at that point: WOW, if I don’t figure out what I’m passionate about I’ll be miserable, I won’t love what I’m doing, I’ll be missing the key to life and oh wait, above all it’s a secret, perfect.
I realized at that point that it wasn’t going to fall on my lap (because it hadn’t yet and 5 years had gone by since the beginning of university). I had a pretty good sense of what I liked but hadn’t found something that I could really sink my teeth into, so I went on a mission. Here’s what I did…
It has to start here. I asked myself, what do I like to do – if money didn’t matter what would I spend my time doing? What am I good at? What are my strengths? You might want to ask people you trust to help you answer these ones. I did, and it paid off big time. Seeing how you are percieved by others, especially those who know you well, can be very insightful if you are open to it.
2. Reaching out
I researched industries and people that I thought had pretty cool jobs, something I would probably like doing. I researched money coaching, health coach, corporate wellness, recruiter, author, consultant, marketer etc. etc. and made a list of my top three careers I wanted to explore and a list of people who seemed like the best in their respective field who I wanted to speak. I tried my hardest to figure out what they were interested in and how I could add value for them. Then I just started reaching out – be audacious with who you want to connect with, put yourself out there and just ask, you’ll be surprised who will get back to you – Oprah is on my list, I’m still waiting for the email reply, I’m hopeful it’s on her ‘to-do’ list today. But seriously, you’ll find out very quickly that people want to help, and worst case scenario they say no and you are no worse off than you are right now, which probably isnt’ that bad.
3. Chat over coffee or better yet bond over a common interest
I think I drank more coffee in a span of 5 months than I did in 5 years of university. Sure I was shaky most of the time and developed a slight twitch but it was totally worth it.
At the beginning, my first email turned into 2 email referrals, to 3 email referrals, to some phone chats, to alot of chats over coffee, runs, yoga and the web continues to grow. I have a genuine interest in people, I work hard to figure out where I can add value and what I can contribute to the relationship as well and am quite social so I enjoy it.
I re-visit this process all the time still and will continue to.
The biggest lesson I learned is that you have to put your ego aside and just reach out and ask, if you think of a person who you would just love to meet but you let your head get in the way by making up excuses – ‘oh they probably won’t get back to me, or I’m sure there too busy and won’t have time’ that person needs to be raced to the TOP of your list of people to contact first. Get out of the passion pit and get your life going!
I’d be curious to know who you have met that you never thought you would?
Cheers to finding your passion…till next time…