From the second you learned what a job is, teachers, family, and society as a whole convince you to think that passion and purpose are intertwined with work. When you find yourself in your mid to late-twenties entering your workplace without that sense of zeal you were told that you’d have, you may feel like you’ve failed.
So when I tell you that passion isn’t a prerequisite for a career, your initial response is likely to be, “That’s not true.”
In reality, many people walk through the front doors to their job each day without that burning fire they were told they’d find — an astonishing 87% of Americans, to be exact. But while it may be comforting to know that you’re not alone, you want to know what to do next.
Not feeling those anticipated feelings of passion at your job? Here’s what you should do to learn to love both yourself and your career, without quitting your current position.
Give yourself credit
First thing’s first, pat yourself on the back. You’ve made that courageous dive into the workforce, and now you’re trying to better yourself by finding your sense of passion. Don’t feel like celebrating your current victories? You may want to reconsider — especially since giving yourself some credit is a top way to feel more happiness at work.
If you enter your job every day with a feeling of defeat, you’re unlikely to appreciate the work that you do. When you don’t feel sufficient or worthy of your job, how can you reasonably expect to feel like your daily tasks have meaning and are important?
Shed your perfectionistic tendencies and engage in self-compassion, even when you make mistakes along the way. Research studies show that giving yourself some credit can help enhance both your mental and physical health, making it easier for you to develop the sense of clarity that you need.
Know your values
Did you know that an act as simple as outlining what truly matters to you can offer a powerful sense of direction in your life — especially when it comes to your work?
Set aside a few hours each day to do some soul-searching. When you’re focused on high work performance and accomplishing your career goals, it’s easy to lose sight of your values and what matters most to you in the workplace.
But when you have a clearer idea of what you want out of your job, you’re in a better position to achieve it. Maybe your sense of passion will happen once you take on a leadership position in your career. Or maybe, you’ll feel more inspired when you engage in greater team-oriented work.
Whatever your values and desires may be, knowing what will make you happy can provide the right step towards a greater sense of fulfillment in your job.
Find happiness outside of the workplace
If you’re relying on your job to fulfill your entire sense of happiness and purpose, you may just be tackling your career in the wrong way. This serves to stifle, rather uncover, your sense of passion.
While it may seem like finding a sense of happiness outside of your job will only make it more difficult for you to want to go back to work, achieving fulfillment in your everyday life will make it easier to pursue your purpose.
Simple acts that encourage happiness such as taking a vacation every once in a while or spending more time with loved ones can help you generate the right mindset that you need to tackle your work with a sense of enjoyment.
Take the time to reflect on what makes you happy and allow yourself to engage in these acts, both inside and outside of work.
Be patient with yourself
In the process of uncovering your purpose, this is the most important tip to keep in mind. When it comes to passion, most people aren’t born with it. While this may come as a surprise, the world’s happiest workers are likely to tell you that the job they’re in now isn’t where they’d imagine they’d one day land.
A doctor may have spent a handful of years in a cubicle before they found their calling. That talk show host you watch with your morning cup of coffee likely spent some time working retail jobs before they discovered their passion. Even Hugh Jackman was once a high school gym teacher.
But what does this mean? You may just have to go through a handful of jobs until you discover your passion. That doesn’t mean you have to quit your job and do something entirely outside of your current line of work, either.
Not happy with your current daily tasks? Try stepping up to the plate to do other jobs at your workplace. If you work at a marketing firm, dabble in writing. If you’re a cook at a restaurant, try mixing up your recipes. When you make a point to try new experiences, you increase your chances of finding what gives you purpose.
Finding your sense of purpose
Remember to know what matters to you most while having the courage to try something new at your job each day. Even those who seem like they’re fulfilling their greatest passions through their work may have experienced a few bumps in the road along the way.
Before you know it, you’ll realize that you don’t have to seek your passion out because it’ll find you — and you don’t even have to leave your current job to earn this highly-anticipated feeling.