Do you ever explore your hidden passions in relation to your career? Do you ever ask yourself, “What job should I do?” I know I have asked this question of myself more than once. What are your passions? What are your skills and aptitudes? How do you find your passion and develop it into a real goal? Here are seven tips on how to develop your passions and turn them into something concrete.

1. Find Your Passions

Okay, it makes sense that before you develop your passions you have to find them first. What is it you like to do? What have you always dreamed of doing? Do you have a favorite hobby that you could turn into your dream job? Have you had to give it up in order to settle into a 9–5 job in order to make a living? If you’re unsure of what you want or perhaps have varied interests in several areas, consider taking an aptitude test.

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2. Develop Your Passion

Once you’ve identified your passion, spend some time working to develop it. If writing is your passion, work on it. Practice! Write in a journal. Join a writing group. Have friends read and critique your work. If it’s photography you love, then go out and take some photos! Take all kinds of pictures—close up and from a distance, at home and at big events. Get a decent camera and learn how to use it. You get the picture (pun intended). Whatever your passion is, follow it. Your dream, your passion, may require a college education, so look at making plans to start a degree program in your area of interest.

3. Set Specific Goals

In order to develop your passion, set specific goals. Many of us make daily lists, but that’s not enough. You may have specific steps for each day, but also think about what you want to accomplish by the end of the week, the month, and a year from now. Then set goals to achieve those dreams. If you’re a budding writer, learn how to set up your website—and work on it. Submit an article to a magazine. Set deadlines for yourself, and you will be more likely to reach them.

4. Find Accountability

Now that you’ve set your goals, find someone to keep you accountable. A mentor or coach can not only teach you what you need to know to get started in your field, but this person can also be the one to check in to see how far you have progressed in reaching your goals. You can also surround yourself with people who have similar interests. For writers, a writing group is perfect. If you’re pursuing an education, you will certainly find opportunities to get together with those in the same major or degree program. Keep each other on track. Encourage each other.

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5. Take Breaks

If you’re passionate about reaching your goals, you may find it hard to take time to relax. You may find it difficult to fit in time with family and friends. It’s important to take breaks and be with those you care about in order to prevent burn-out. Hold on to what is important in your personal life. Your goal will still be there. And reaching it will be even sweeter with your loved ones there with you to celebrate.

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6. Re-evaluate Your Progress

At some point, sit back and reflect on where you are and what progress you have made. Re-evaluating after one month may be too soon, but shoot for three months, and then six. Look at your goals and compare them to where you are on your path. If you’re meeting all those goals along the way, then congratulate yourself. If you’re not quite making it, then re-evaluate. Have you worked hard enough? Should you do something differently? Or were your goals too lofty to begin with? Be realistic in this process as you take steps to achieve your passions, and you will be more likely to stick with each step to reach your goal.

7. Keep Developing Your Passion

Once you’ve reached some level of success with your passion—most likely your dream career—it’s time to enjoy it but never be lax about it. Avoid becoming complacent by continuing to grow. Take a class or attend a seminar to learn the latest developments in your field. Conferences are great for networking with others who are pursuing their own, similar passions. Connecting with these people can provide you with new information, and perhaps a renewed passion in what you’re doing.

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Featured photo credit: mage Source: Kaylnjoy , (CC BY-SA 2.0), via flickr, Image Source: araña702 , (CC BY 2.0), via flickr, mohammadali via photopin cc

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