“Follow your passion” is advice we often hear concerning careers, and tune out just as often as well. It’s tuned out because such advice is often trite and doesn’t acknowledge the complexities of life. However, there’s a puzzle piece of good advice in there.
The desire to follow our passions appeals to us, to live to what’s close to our heart. Passion isn’t enough, but it’s a reminder there are things that are part of us, visceral parts that can guide us on careers and in life.
Maybe, when we tell people to “follow their passion” in jobs and life, we can note that’s the first thing. There are other pieces to the puzzle of “what to do with life.”
Passion, of course, can drive us and tells us what’s fulfilling. We may not be good, we may face challenges, but passion keeps us going.
Our natural aptitudes and cultivated abilities are also a guide to careers. These are things we’re just good at for whatever reason, and we can use them, grow them, or channel them.
Interests are another element of ourselves to cultivate. There are things we just like, even without burning passion or talent involving them. They may guide us, or just flavor our life and career choices.
Finally, let us consider fit. Perhaps you want to work in government or live in a small town. There are just people we belong with and places we belong at.
When we discuss following passions, it’s really an opportunity for a deeper, more complex conversation. However, it’s a conversation worth having, not just for insights but to overcome the old “follow your passions” trope. Getting past that overused advice, we can find the other pieces of ourselves, or help others find their own.