Following our passion is the path to fulfillment

How to stop working for a paycheck and start doing something that matters, leaves the world a better place, and makes you feel amazing in the process.

Published in Thrive Global January 23rd, 2020

The old system of working for a living and living for the weekend is becoming unsustainable for humanity.  As we continue to see the rise in mental health disorders and stress-related conditions and diseases the red flag is raised that something has to change.  

But what?

The stress and pressure of finding a good job, being financially stable, managing the bills, and all of our daily responsibilities can be a lot to shoulder.  But when you add on the feelings of discontentment, resentment, boredom, and pressure that can come from working in a job that doesn’t meet any of our intrinsic needs we can be left feeling hopeless, heartless, and unfulfilled.

These feelings often bleed into the other areas of our life, affecting our relationships and our ability to successfully parent our children.  They can lead to unhealthy eating patterns, lack of physical motivation, financial irresponsibility, and serious health conditions both physically and mentally.

Left unattended there can be dire consequences.

But why?

Why is it that we need our careers to also meet our intrinsic need to do something meaningful, make a difference in the world, and feel like we’ve created something worthwhile?  Shouldn’t the ability to meet our external needs (like paying bills and buying food) be enough?

While many of us were raised to believe in the value of hard work and earning a decent wage it’s just not enough for everyone.

Many of us are hardwired, either from birth or through experience, to need to feel like we’ve done a good job at something that matters.  And left unfulfilled we will spiral downwards.

If we feel unfulfilled in our current career what can we do?

The first step is to know what you are passionate about.  What are the things that light you up, set your soul on fire?  What are the things you would do even if you weren’t getting paid for them?  It might be things you haven’t done since you were a kid.  It might be things you do every weekend.  

There will be more than one.

Make a list.  

Then ask yourself what things are easy for you.  What comes naturally to you?  What skills do you have? What do you do so easily you might not even think to write them down because they are that easy?  Ask your friends and family this question if you’re stuck.

Compare the lists.  There will be overlap and commonalities between the two.

Now that you know where your zone of genius and happiness lies you can start to explore what you might want to do with these professionally.

Do some research.  Ask around.  Play with the possibilities.  How can you use what you have in a way that would make you money?  Maybe it’s a new business venture, a career change, or simply an adjustment to the way you work in your current field.

To be clear this doesn’t mean you have to quit your current job right away and do a complete one-eighty, although that might be exactly what you decide.  There is no one size fits all answer here.  This is a journey of self-discovery that no one can do for you.

Be curious.  Have fun.  Enjoy.

And know that you absolutely can have both financial stability and a sense of purpose.