Don’t Follow Your Passion, Find Your Motivation

Everyone says to “follow your passion.” Others say to “find your purpose.” But I say to find your Motivation. Everyone has passions, but it doesn’t mean it should be your career. Let me give you some questions to ask yourself:

  1. Do you like to create? Create art, create music, or create things through various expressions.
  2. Do you like to problem solve? You like the challenge, you like to problem solve, you like the achievement of figuring things out.
  3. Do you like to network? You enjoy talking to others, gain energy around people, you like to network.
  4. Do you like to serve? You like servicing others, you like helping others, and bringing value.

You can think of more, but I would look for these types of fundamental questions, instead of a specific job or career.

For example, you might be passionate about art, but if you can’t wake up every single day to create it, then you’re not going to succeed as an artist. As an artist, you must have an internal motivation to create to drive you each and everyday.

And I think this is where we get hung up on the “find your passion” or “find your purpose” mantra. As we go through high school and college, we are forced to pick a specific major for a specific career, without actually understanding what that job entails. Most of us don’t even know ourselves!

The good thing about these fundamental motivation type of questions, is that it doesn’t limit yourself to one job. You can find these roles in most companies. There’s always an accounting department, an HR department, business development, technical specialist, etc. So it’s not that you want to be in X job or Y career. It’s figuring out what motivates you and how to find that in your circumstance.

What if you don’t know what your internal motivation is? The only way to find out is if you try. Try everything and anything. And stick with it for some time, don’t stop when you feel it starting to get hard. Do it long enough so you know for sure.

I dabbled into so many things – Art, photography, guitar, drums, bass, gaming, judo, golf, you name it. All of which was exciting at first when I was learning it, but you know what? I lost interest after a while and looked for the next thing to learn. For me, part of learning something new is that it challenges you and gives you a goal. Once you reach a level of competency, progress plateaus, and interest fades.

After going through some challenging projects, I too, was questioning what I wanted in life and in my career. Do I want to go into design? Do I want to stay in construction? Do I want to go to a different company? What is the right fit for me?

For me, I figured out that I like to problem solve. I like to work with others collaboratively to figure out problems. As long as I get to do that on a daily basis, I feel purpose and progress, and a sense of achievement each day.

With these different motivations, you can probably find the right department or fit within your current company. Or if not, you can look for a change with more clarity and focus on what you’re looking for. So instead of following your passion, I implore you to figure out what your internal motivation is instead.


2 thoughts on “Don’t Follow Your Passion, Find Your Motivation

  1. I’ve never thought about things that way! Personally, I am a problem solver but once I’ve completed a challenge I get bored. At that point, I think I would enjoy helping others solve their problems.

  2. I completely agree. Finding your passion and purpose are so vague. Anyone who’s spent any amount of time researching it knows that everyone is just giving the same reworded ideas to find your “passion.” I think you’ve said very well how it boils down to what you’re interested in in a broad sense, rather than in a specific sense.

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