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What to Do When You Hate Your Job: Discover Your Passions

This lesson is a part of an audio course What to Do When You Hate Your Job by Lindsay Hanson

Alright, let’s get down to the big question – the whole reason you’re here – what do you actually want to be doing with your life?

I’m sure you’ve heard this advice before to “follow your passion” or “find your purpose.” I don’t think this is necessarily bad advice, but I think it’s often misguided. It feels very serious, like if you don’t at 20 years old know what your ultimate purpose is on this earth, then you’re just gonna be stuck in a job you hate until you discover your purpose or your passion. You might even be feeling like you don’t have any passions.

So we’re gonna simplify this question of “what is my passion?”

I don’t believe that it’s this mysterious, evasive thing that we need to go on some quest to find. It’s not that serious.

Let’s boil it down to this: what are your interests? What are the things that you enjoy doing?

If money didn’t exist & you didn’t need to work for a living, what would you spend your time doing?

Now you might be thinking, “Lindsay, I’d be on a beach somewhere with a drink in my hand.” And maybe you would for some time, and I’m all for it. But let’s be real, at some point you would probably get bored with sitting on the beach. You’re listening to this course right now because you’re feeling unfulfilled in your life. If sitting on the beach every day for the rest of your life would fulfill you, that’s amazing and we’ll talk about how, yes, you could turn that into a career. But if you know that wouldn’t ultimately fulfill you, how would you want to spend your time after you vegged on the beach for a few days?

I used to think I didn’t have any passions, that I just wasn’t passionate about anything. Looking back, I always had an interest in psychology. From a very young age I was always intrigued by how our brains work and I wanted to understand how people think. Why some people seem to have a lot of anxiety, why some of us are extroverts and others are introverts and how all of this impacts our lives.

The reason why I ended up in accounting is that I didn’t follow that interest in psychology. I actually minored in psychology when I went to college, and the reason I didn’t major in it is that I didn’t see it as a realistic career path. Going back to Lesson 1 of how do we find ourselves stuck in a job we hate – when we don’t believe the thing we want to do is realistic, right? I didn’t want to be a therapist and I really didn’t know what else I could do with a psychology degree, none of the traditional options seemed appealing to me. I did not know that life coaching was a thing when I was 18 years old. And so I became an accountant. But if I had allowed myself to follow my interest in psychology all along, I likely would have discovered life coaching much sooner.

The reason why you might be feeling like you don’t have a passion is that you’re not thinking of your interests as your passions.

You also might be thinking that your passion is supposed to be a traditional job, or something grand & meaningful. Or you might be judging yourself for your passion not feeling significant enough.

That’s why this question feels so heavy – when we’re asked “what is your purpose,” we feel like we’re supposed to have some grand purpose to change the world or cure hunger or eliminate homelessness. That might be your passion, and that’s amazing if it is. But remember what we talked about earlier – the ripple effect. Even if some of the things you love doing seem menial and insignificant, know that everything you do impacts others in a meaningful way. Especially when you’re doing something you feel passionate about.

Maybe you’re passionate about travel, but you don’t see that as a career path. Are there not people who travel for a living? What about travel bloggers? And if you’re thinking “ok but that’s not really a realistic career path,” go back and listen to Lesson 1. But travel blogging isn’t the only option – there are plenty of careers within the travel industry. Travel agents, flight attendants… I saw something the other day where this woman’s job was to review 5-star hotels in exotic locations. She literally got paid to travel. If you have a desire to do something, you can make money doing it.

The other day I came across this man, his name is Tyler Scheuer. He was on America’s Got Talent, and he balances things on his face. That’s what he does for a living, he’s an entertainer and he performs on talent shows and halftime shows across the country. I can’t think of a more perfect example of how you can turn literally anything into a career.

Now, the bridge between your passion and being able to turn it into a career – into something that people will pay you for – is that it brings value to other people. Think about how the thing you love brings value to others, or how you want it to bring value to people.

I was passionate about psychology, and I wanted to learn more about the field so that I could help people feel better & create a more fulfilling life.

If you’re passionate about travel – how can you use that passion to bring value to others? Do you want to share your own travel experiences & reviews of places you’ve been to help others maximize their experiences when they travel? Do you want to help others organize their travel plans? Do you want to help them save money & be able to travel on a budget?

Whatever you’re passionate about, there is a way for it to bring value to others. It could be educating them, helping them reach a goal, entertaining them – I promise you there is a way for something you love doing to impact other people.

With that being said, I do want to emphasize that not every passion you have will be something you want to turn into a career or make money from. I love binge watching true crime shows, and maybe at some point in my life I’ll want to turn that into a career. But right now it’s just something I do for me.

And if you’re thinking “binge watching crime shows can’t be a career, Lindsay” then clearly you don’t listen to the number of true crime podcasts that I do. There are plenty of people who have turned that into a living. I am telling you, you can make a career out of anything.

The other thing is that your interests and passions may change over time. When I first started my coaching business, I was doing fitness coaching. I was very passionate about fitness for a while, and I really wanted to help people feel better in their bodies. After about 9 months into fitness coaching, I was really feeling the pull to pivot into life coaching & help people to get out of a job they hate.

I remember telling a friend about how I wanted to make this change in my business, and he asked me, “how do you know life coaching is your purpose? How do you know you’re not just gonna want to stop doing life coaching at some point too?”

And I said, “I don’t. But it doesn’t matter.”

This is why I think it’s so important to take the pressure off this idea of finding your passion or finding your purpose. If we think that our purpose is one thing and that it can never change, we’re gonna feel pretty lost if we begin to lose interest in the things that we once felt passionate about.

At first, it was kinda scary that I had started this whole business based on my passion for fitness, and I no longer wanted to be a fitness coach. But the thing is, it was only scary until I gave myself permission to shift. I was able to take everything I had learned in my experiences as a fitness coach and apply that to this next phase of my business. It wasn’t actually a problem, it just felt scary for a minute because I had put so much faith in fitness is my passion. What if your passions can evolve? What if your purpose isn’t meant to be one thing for your entire life? What if your purpose right now is whatever you have a desire to do right now?

So think about those questions. What do you enjoy doing? If money didn’t exist, how would you spend your time? What’s the thing that lights you up the most? What energizes you? What do you find yourself doing when you realize it’s been hours & time is flying by?

In the next lesson, we’ll address the big question of “what if my passion doesn’t pay well?”

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Written by

Lindsay Hanson