As Americans, we value professional success. While that is easy to explain, as building a successful career means we will be able to afford to live the lives we always dreamed of, it isn’t always stressed that success comes in different shapes and sizes. Sometimes, the job we perform has little to do with our passion, and that means we’re not giving our all to our craft.
A Lack of Passion Leads to an Unhappy Workplace
According to a study from Deloitte University Press, 87.7 percent of America’s workforce are unable to give their all to their employer. The remaining 12.3 percent, however, show what the team called the real attributes of worker passion.
To workers in general, a lack of passion translates into an unhappy work experience. And believe it or not, that is bad for both the worker and the employer.
As explained by Deloitte researchers, the passionate worker searches for new solutions, is on top of what the business needs to succeed, and is always looking for ways to improve their performance, even if that means taking on new risks.
Furthermore, the passionate worker isn’t afraid of giving more than what’s required of him, working longer hours if needed, and doing more than what their job descriptions call for. Unlike the ambitious worker, who is also dedicated and wants to grow but seldom seeks more than a career boost over the years, the passionate worker is motivated by things other than just career success. Needless to say, he won’t be let down if he can’t get the position he wants so long as he remains working with what he loves, which is what matters.
If you are reading this and asking yourself whether your 9 to 5 is truly what you were born to do, you might be already aware that your current job is not your passion. But how exactly can you identify both what you want to do and how you should go about it to make it work?
Is it even worth it to change teams or find a new game in town at this point in your life?
While the answers may not come as easy at first, it isn’t impossible to set yourself up for success by changing your career path.
What Is Your Passion?
Discovering what you were born to do might be tricky. But first and foremost, do not mistake a simple hobby for a passion—unless you can turn that hobby you’re truly passionate about into a career.
You might enjoy jogging, painting, or working on your vegetable garden in your spare time, but could you turn these hobbies into a successful career?
If you do have a passion for those activities, you might find out that helping others get in shape, learning to design websites, or studying landscaping could all turn into great career options. The key is to figure out how to do what you love and find a market for it. After all, simply doing what you love doesn’t guarantee that people will be willing to pay for it. And understanding how the market works is essential to making your new career work.
Instead of being rigid about your passions and the career options associated with them, you must be willing to be flexible. By identifying what you love to do and exploring the possibilities, you broaden your horizons without making your new work opportunities seem unappealing.
Choose a Field
To pinpoint your passion, determine how it could translate into a market setting, and then finally choose a field all seem like simple steps to take. However, you might find that turning your skills into a career isn’t as easy as it may sound.
Before getting to work on your new business model or on finding a job based on what you love to do, you must first figure out if there’s a demand for it. And if so, how high is it?
If the demand is low or if the field is overly saturated with competing professionals, you might want to reconsider your options—but only if competing against others isn’t something you think you can do.
Ideally, coming into a new field means you will do your homework and look for ways to innovate. This will help you figure out how to provide a service with an edge, beating competitors by offering something extra. Furthermore, you might want to start small so you can grow your clientele and experience. This alone will benefit you when competing with other more established names.
Outline a Plan and Make It Foolproof
When you analyze your possibilities, you must remember that without a solid foundation, your entire new career will fall apart. That’s why you must have a detailed plan on hand.
Figure out how much money you will require to invest in your new venture, and find out whether you will need to obtain specific qualifications. Depending on what field you’re going into, you might have to look into whether you need special licenses. Thankfully, several states have already loosened their occupational licensing requirements.
But if you are in a state where cosmetologists, athletic and personal trainers, auctioneers, or landscapers all need government-sponsored licenses, you might have to take expensive courses before getting the OK from state and local governments to open up shop. If this is the case, you might want to consider a move to cut on the initial expenses.
When outlining your plan, also remember to be flexible. Have a Plan B if necessary. Especially if working with your passion might require more skills than you previously thought. And remember, don’t be heartbroken if things don’t always work out as planned along the way.
Being flexible means you are always open to criticism and changes depending on what hurdles you encounter.
Turning your passion into a successful career won’t always be easy, especially if you’re embarking on this new adventure on your own. Staying motivated will require more than just a vision. After all, you might encounter certain difficulties that make you want to give up.
In order to keep on going, you must make a conscious effort every day to get closer to your goal. That includes keeping a positive attitude.
According to a Stanford University research, children who are taught to be positive are more successful at learning, even in the subjects they were not particularly interested in at first.
While this study focused on young brains, the fact they were able to learn things better if they remained positive says a lot about how we are wired. Use that while pursuing your passion in a new career and stay positive.
Make an effort to, while also being honest to yourself, stay positive about your experience even when you hit rough patches. This will help you to cultivate the motivation you need to reach your goal.
Changing paths when you think you have it figured out isn’t easy. But putting your passion to work will make you look at life with a renewed sense of purpose. And that feeling alone should make you feel more accomplished than ever.
Use that drive to go further—even if at first things seem impossible.
Chloe Anagnos is a professional writer, digital strategist, and marketer. This article originally appeared on FEE.org.