Career Passion – How to Find It

Career-Changers Unite! How to Find Your Career Passion

Millions of Americans are disengaged from their current job, implying they would like to look for a new “gig.” Does that describe you?

I meet a lot of individuals who know they want a career change, but they are looking for guidance on how to know when they have chosen the right career. Since my area of expertise kicks in strongest when someone already knows what he or she wants, I sought guidance from a career specialist.

Guy Groff is a retired Marine and a Professional Recruiter, Certified Career Coach, Certified Guidance Counselor, and Professional Facilitator. He is currently Associate Vice President of Career and Professional Development at Thunderbird School of Global Management. As an MBA graduate from Thunderbird myself, I know that Guy has developed and implemented ways to teach, coach, motivate, support, encourage, and provide the best possible opportunities for students. As important, he helps everyone from young adults through seasoned executives to seek and discover their personal career goals.

Guy, what are the elements of personal, lifelong career management?

There are four elements of lifelong career management: Passion, Purpose, Preparation, and Performance. Passion is the process of determining whom you are, in terms of what you both love to engage in and the value that brings to the world. Purpose is the process of determining which career is right for your passion. Preparation is determining what you need to compete in the career you choose. Performance is truly building your personal career brand for life.

Why is finding our passion so challenging?

Finding your passion can be one of the most challenging elements simply because of the number of career choices available to an individual today, whether you are just starting your career or making a transition at any time during your life. According to the Department of Labor, by 2022 there will be over 160,000 potential occupations to choose from. So what can you do to find something that you are passionate about doing?

Here are a few tips from Guy Groff that can get you started.

Career Assessments:
One of the first things most career coaches will ask you to do to help find your passion is some form of career assessment. These assessments vary, but have one thing in common and that is to help you find out more about yourself. They can help you identify: interests, personality type, traits, motivators, culture preferences, values, aptitudes, strengths, etc. (A word of caution here – these assessments are designed to help you identify more about yourself, but they will not decide for you!) You can search the Internet for several of these assessments, but it is truly better to have a professional both administer it as well as brief you on your results. Assessments that include a 360° evaluation of your skills are some of the best to use.

Know Yourself Well:
You will need to identify and collect some information about your life, which should include the following: education, work history, volunteer activities, hobbies, where you have lived, what you enjoy reading, and just about everything you can identify about yourself. What you do with all of this information about yourself is part of the identification process for your passion, but how you analyze the information and that you continue to gather this information is extremely important.

Capturing this information is the beginning of building your own “Personal Knowledge Management Database” that is used for job applications, résumés, cover letters, and future interview preparation.

Track What You Enjoy:
Take time to record the activities you engage in and what you accomplish every day, and then reflect on what you enjoyed doing the most. Maintain a professional journal, which is not to be confused with a personal diary. It does take time to reflect on the positive experiences and even longer to identify the root of your happiness, but the goal of finding your passion depends on the positive reflections!

Guy, can you please provide a few step-by-step suggestions on how readers can identify their passion as they write and reflect in a journal?

  1. View this journaling as your personal Customer Relationship Management system with you as the customer.
  2. Start by bulleting the major events of the day.
  3. Reflect on each bullet and write down the emotions that you felt after each event.
  4. Identify the skills you used that led to success and your level of competency in those skills Rank them on a scale from 1 – 5 (1 is beginning level and 5 is mastery).
  5. Ask questions about why you liked being engaged in these activities and write the answers.
  6. Build a database of your favorite skills and activities that will be the foundation of your passion by building a personal job description.
  7. When you reflect on this personal job description, you will find that you have identified multiple areas of passion that will give you a benchmark of what to look for in your career!

Do something new and effective to feel great about your next career move!


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