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5 Things No One Ever Tells You About Following Your Passion

5 Things No One Ever Tells You About Following Your Passion

So you’ve found your passion and have decided to follow it professionally. A fairy tale ending awaits, right?

Yes…and no.

Doing work from a place of passion is amazing, but finding your passion doesn’t always mean that the Disney movie is over and happily ever after is upon you. Here are a few things to expect when you find that next great thing in your career:

1. You may feel worse before you feel better.

One the one hand, finding something you can be passionate about feels a lot like the universe giving you a big high-five. You feel great. Life is great. You don’t have to stay stuck anymore. And then reality reaches out a sticky hand and drags you back down. The euphoria passes and you start to question yourself. Did you really figure this out? Are you making a giant mistake? Is this going to be too hard? What are you doing?

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The safety net of your last job seems a little bit like a beautiful island that you left, and now you may feel like you are stuck on a rowboat drifting out to sea all alone.

Any time you take a big risk with your livelihood and step off the beaten path, you are going to feel many things, most of them uncomfortable. You should know that it’s completely normal to feel this way. As human beings we are wired to try and stay safe. So abandoning a safe job for your passion is a little bit like getting on a roller coaster–there’s going to be some great highs on the hills, and some deep lows as you fall. But the good news is that the ride is pretty spectacular.

2. Your fears will be bigger.

When I was still consulting, a lot of my fears were around not getting promoted, not getting a bonus, or not figuring out what I wanted to do when I grew up (I was in my early 30s). I feared losing my job when the company went through hard times, or getting into trouble by being too headstrong as an employee (any of these sound familiar?). It wasn’t until I left my company that I found a set of much bigger fears.

How was I going to pay my rent? Or my bills? Or build my company? What if I was a giant failure? What if people saw me as a fraud at this thing I desperately wanted to be great at? What would I do then?

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I couldn’t hide behind a bad manager, or a bad leader, and pretend it was someone else’s fault. Everything rested on my ability to succeed and if I failed I had only one person to blame. I wasn’t sleeping well when I felt drained and stuck by my corporate work, but I definitely slept a lot less in the first few months of owning my business.

I’d be lying if I said having so many fears at once was fun, but there is good news. It’s very motivating to care deeply about something and want it to succeed, and to be able to completely shape the success. More importantly, as you build your confidence and grow in your abilities, a lot of those fears will go away or become more manageable.

3. Your comfort zone is a thing of the past.

When you have a job, even one you might not enjoy, that you’ve done for a while, you have a fairly comfortable routine. You know what’s expected of you, you know the good and bad of those you work with, and when you have questions you know where to go. Things are stable, and you know how you fit. You feel comfortable with where you are.

When you find your passion, you often do things a little differently–whether that is changing careers or starting your own business. And when you do that, you have to push yourself to learn new skills, to get new clients, and to overcome new obstacles.

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It’s exhausting.

In the beginning, you may never have a chance to be in your comfort zone because it’s all new. And that stretched, bruised feeling that you have comes from putting yourself out there all the time for people to judge.

But don’t worry. Over time you will get comfortable in a new routine and, moreover, you’ll be capable of doing so much more! No one ever really grows or becomes better if they stay with what they know, and going after your passion forces you to learn more than you ever thought you could.

4. You lose the ability to make decisions.

Anyone that has a routine job, especially established small business owners, isn’t hard-pressed to make too many tough decisions in any one day. The safety of routine and organization takes that pressure off of you.

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When you start a business or step into a new demanding role, decisions are required. Whether it’s deciding what to wear to impress clients, or who to hire and what to do next, you can make tons of decisions every day. You start to suffer from decision fatigue and eventually when someone asks you if you want ketchup with that you answer, “I don’t know.”

As you get more comfortable and grow your comfort zone, decision fatigue and the problems that come with it will dramatically lessen. And, as you develop some criteria (when someone asks about ketchup always say yes!), your life will absolutely become easier. I promise.

5.  It’s absolutely worth it. 

Following your passion has a ton of challenges. Some of which can take you by surprise, some of which you see coming, but either way it is worth it. Facing your fears, feeling connected to the work that you do, and knowing that you are really living life make the highs higher. And the risks you take to get there often lead to surprising rewards.

Nothing is better than feeling like you love what you do. If you’ve found your passion and are working at it professionally, what surprised you the most? If you are still looking, what’s the biggest thing holding you back? Please share your thoughts in the comments.

Featured photo credit: Thinkin’ about the code/Ed Yourdon via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 13, 2020

Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

Is It Time for a Career Change? (And How to Make the Change)

Are you challenged at work? Do you regret career decisions? Are you happy? If the answer to the questions leads to a negative feeling, it is time to determine next steps.

Many people settle for a career that no longer brings satisfaction. Most will respond by stating, “I am surviving” if a colleague asks them “How’s work?”

Settling for a job to pay bills and maintain a lifestyle is stagnation. You can re-direct the journey of a career with confidence by taking control of future decisions. After all, you deserve to be live a happy life that will offer a work-life balance.

Let’s look at the reasons why you need a career change and how to choose a career for a more fulfilling life.

How to Know if You Need a Career Change?

The challenges of dissatisfaction in a career can have a negative impact on our mental health. As a result, our mental health can lead to the obvious appearance of stress, aging, weight gain and internal health issues.

You deserve a career that will fulfill the inner desire of true happiness. Here are common factors that it is time for you to change your career.

Physical Signs

Are you aging since you started your job? Do you have anxiety? What about work-related injuries?

It feels amazing to receive a pay cheque, but you deserve to work in an environment that brings out the best of you. If the work environment is hazardous, speak to your boss about alternative options.

In the case that colleagues or your boss take advantage of your kindness, feeling the anxiety of fear of losing your job because of a high-stress environment may not be right for you.

Mental Signs

One out of five Americans has mental health issues, according to Mental Health America.[1] In most cases, it is related to stress.

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I remember working at a job in a work environment where harassment was acceptable. I had to walk on eggshells to avoid crossing the line with colleagues. My friends started to notice the difference in that I seemed out of character. It was then that I knew that changing a career to freelancing was the right decision.

Here is a list of mental signs of workplace unhappiness:

  • The tension in your neck
  • Difficulties with sleeping
  • Unable to concentrate
  • High anxiety
  • Depression

If you start to feel your self-esteem is diminishing, it is time to consider if working in a high-stress industry is for you. The truth is, this negative energy will be transferred to people in your life like friends and family.

Are You Sure You’re Not Changing for the Wrong Reason?

Most people that feel they need a career are frustrated with their situation at work. Do you really understand your current situation at work?

The reason it is important to think about the work situation is some people decide to change career for factors that are insignificant. Factors that can potentially change if the person works in a different department or new organization.

Here is a list of unimportant factors to think about before you decide to make the transition:

Desire for an Increase of Salary

The desire for a higher income can persuade some to believe they are in the wrong career. The issue with this is more money requires more time in the office or taking on several positions at a time.

At times, pursuing a high-income role can be the complete opposite of what one is expected. It is what happens when a colleague leaves a company to a new one and returns several years later.

Overnight Decision

Let’s face it. We make overnight decisions when stressed out or disappointed with situations at work. The problem with a quick decision is the negative and positive points is overlooked.

Rejected for a Promotion

I have heard stories of managers that applied ten times for a position throughout a 5-year period. Yes, it sounds to be a lengthy process, but at times, a promotion requires time. Avoid changing a career if you do not see the results of a promotion currently.

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Bored at Work

Think deeply about this point. If you work a job that is repetitive, it is normal to feel bored. You can spice it up by changing the appearance of your desk, socializing with new employees in a different department, joining a leadership committee at work or coming to work with enthusiasm. Sometimes, all it takes is you to change jobs into a fun situation.

A career change can take time, networking, education and the job search process can be a journey. Here is a list of things to consider before making a final decision:

  • How long have you worked in your career?
  • What is the problem at work? Do you work well with the team?
  • Do you receive recognition?
  • Can you consider working in a new department?

If after reviewing your work situation and none of the above recommendations can help, then it’s time to make a career change.

How a Career Change Will Change Your Life

I have a friend that works in the medical industry. She was once a nurse working directly with patients in one of the top hospitals in her area. After five years, she started to internalize the issues with her patients to the point where she felt depressed after work hours. It impacted her relationship with her family and she almost lost herself.

One day, she decided to wake up and take control of her destiny. She started applying for new medical jobs in the office. It meant working on medical documentation of patients which is not an ideal career based on what society expects a medical professional to perform. But she started to feel happier.

It is a classic example of a person that was negatively impacted by issues at work, stayed in the same industry but changed careers.

A career change can fulfill a lifelong dream, increase one’s self-esteem or revive the excitement for one’s work.

You know a career change can be the right decision to make if you experience one or all of these:

  • Working in a negative workplace: Don’t be discouraged. A negative workplace can be changed by working at a new organization.
  • Working with a difficult boss: The challenges of working with a difficult boss can be stressful. All it takes is communication. You can address the issue directly with a manager professionally and respectfully.
  • Feeling lost about what you do: Most people stay at their jobs and settle for mediocrity because of the fear of failure or the unknown. The rise to success often comes with working a tedious role or stepping outside of one’s comfort zone. If you fear the idea of being involved in activities that are new, remember that life is short. Mediocrity will only continue to make you feel as if life is passing you by.

How to Make a Career Change Successfully

The ultimate key to success is to go through a career transition step by step to avoid making the wrong decision.

1. Write a Career Plan

A career plan has a dead line for action steps that includes taking new courses, learning a new language, networking or improving issues at work.[2] A career plan should be kept in your wallet because it will motivate you to keep pursuing the role.

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You can learn how to set your career plan here.

2. Weigh Your Options

If you have a degree in Accounting, write down five positions in this industry of interest. The good news is diplomas and degrees can be used to a variety of roles to choose.

You don’t have to stick to what society holds a top job. In the end, choosing the right role that will make you happy is priceless.

3. Be Real About the Pros and Cons

It is time to be honest about strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats in the job market that are impacting the current situation.

A SWOT Analysis of a career can include:[3]

  • Economic factors
  • Direct competition: Is this role in high demand?
  • Location: Do you need to move? If the goal is to work in tech and living in Cincinnati is not realistic, consider moving to San Francisco.
  • Achievements: To stand out from the competition achievements like awards, committee involvement, freelance work or volunteering is a recipe for success.
  • Education: Do you need to go back to school? Education can be expensive. However, online courses, webinars or self-study is an option.

    A career blueprint is the first step to creating realistic goals. A person without goals will be disappointed without a clear direction of what to do next.

    4. Find a Mentor or Career Coach

    A mentor or a career coach that works in the desired position can share the pros and cons of working in the role. Here is a list of questions to ask a mentor:

    • What is required to be successful in the role?
    • What certification or educational development is needed?
    • What are the challenges of the role?
    • Is there potential for career advancement?

    A chat at a coffee shop with a mentor can change your mind about the desire for a career change.

    Find out how to pick a good mentor for yourself in this article: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

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    5. Research Salary

    Some people decide to change careers for a role that pays less or perks like benefits to make up for the difference in previous to potential salary.

    It can reveal the cities throughout the country that offer a higher salary for those that have an interest in relocating for work.

    6. Be Realistic

    If your goal is to move up into an executive position, it is time to be honest about where you are in your career.

    For example, if boardroom meetings, high-level discussions about financials or attending weekly networking events are boring, an executive role may not be right for you. If you are an introvert and working with people every day is nerve wrecking, you need to reconsider a job in sales.

    Ask yourself if you can work in this role for the next five years of your life. If other benefits that come with the role are enticing, other roles are fit that will make you happy.

    7. Volunteer First

    A person that wants to become a manager should take on volunteer opportunities to experience the reality of the position.

    Becoming a committee member to pursue a presidential opportunity can provide a perspective on leadership, maintaining a budget and public speaking.

    Volunteer in a role until you are certain that it is the right opportunity.

    8. Prepare Your Career Tools

    I recommend asking a boss, colleague or mentor for career tools. If you prefer professional assistance, you can seek out resume writing assistance. Here is a list of things to consider when preparing career tools:

    • Online search: Search your name online to see what shows up. I recommend searching images that are on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat or other sites on a personal account. The last thing you want to realize is the job search is unsuccessful because there is unprofessional content you posted online.
    • Be LinkedIn ready: Recruiters conduct a LinkedIn search to see if the work experience is the same on a resume. Remember to change the wording on LinkedIn from the resume, or it will appear there was no effort put into creating the profile.
    • Portfolio: A portfolio of work is recommended for people that work in the arts, writing, graphic design and other fields. I recommend a portfolio online and one that is available in hand when attending job interviews or networking meetups.
    • Cover letter: A good cover writer will always impress your potential employers. Here’s how to write a killer cover letter that stands out from others.

    Bottom Line

    It takes time to move towards a new career. Pay attention to the physical and mental signs to maintain your health. You deserve to work in happiness and come home stress-free. If you avoid the common mistakes people make, you will find a job and discover the role in a career field that is the best fit with your skillsets.

    Master these action steps and changing career paths will be on your terms to make the best decision for your future.

    More About Career Change

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

    Reference

    [1] Mental Health America: The State of Mental Health in America
    [2] MIT Global Education & Career Development: Make a Career Plan
    [3] Creately: Personal SWOT Analysis to Assess and Improve Yourself

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