Is Your Passion a Hobby or Career?

Career Discovery
01/11/19 - Eden Waldon

Passion. Excitement. Meaning. Fulfillment. Today, we are figuring out is your passion a hobby or career?

The idea behind a passion may hold a different meaning for us all. My hope is to allow the word passion, to hold a deeper construct beyond an idea. Passions have stake in our purpose, our life, our day-to-day, and if we are lucky, in our careers.

As a Career Specialist, I work with individuals who want to either discover or rediscover their passions. This truly inspires me to practice and live out my passions to help myself understand the deeper sense of what gives life meaning. I frequently ask my clients and myself,

Questions I ask:
  • “What would you do if you had unlimited resources and time, how would you spend your time?” or
  • “Where do you feel uplifted, challenged, and moved to create?”
I often hear many varied responses;
  • “I would travel the world”
  • “Start a non-profit”
  • “Become a photographer”
  • “Write a book”

Though these responses are different, I hope by this point you can already find one common thread. These responses can all be carried out by starting somewhere, for example putting the pen to paper or connecting to an individual who can kickstart you to take action.

Your Meaning

Before I dive into exploring passions as a possible hobby or career, take a moment to ask yourself a question. Where do you find meaning in your life? I sure hope it is in as many areas of your life as you hope for. Meaning propels forward momentum to work towards developing something deeper for yourself, your vision, your purpose, and goals.

I feel a deep sense of meaning by the work I am involved in. I found out early in my career that in order to feel fulfilled by my work, I need to Extravert in a supportive way. This is where I am gaining energy from the people I am supporting. This has served me well in feeling excited about my work, interacting with individuals to propel them to take action, and transition to rewarding careers. I’m engaged by my work and my passions continue to evolve. I’m deeply rooted in self-care and creativity including yoga, outdoor sports, macramé, and gardening.

I share this as an important message for two reasons. These dear hobbies of mine do align with my career. However, when I give space to these hobbies, I find a deeper sense of fulfillment that shifts my work mindset. My passions have also connected me with like-minded individuals who are open to discussing ideas about our shared passions. They also help in how I might take action to incorporate these concepts into my career!

Some Examples

An example of this played out was when I recently went to a rock-climbing gym. This emerging hobby is helping me explore my strength in order to connect me to nature in a new way. Here, I was speaking with several experienced climbers one evening and we began discussing the art of decision-making. As seasoned climbers, decision-making on a rock wall has left them faced with split-second choices, to climb further or turn back before there is little sunlight left. These decisions on the wall have left them making quick split-second decisions in all areas of life. A concept I took away with me immediately.

I want to share further examples of how others have incorporated passions in their life. Career decision-making can be simplified by taking action. With a curious, persistent and flexible mindset, you can begin to flex your muscle points to understand that there are options to give your life meaning. If you pursue a passion as your career or outside of your career, your passion is giving you room to explore, create, investigate, and find meaning. These fictional lives* derive from true narratives of the wonderful clients I have worked with, who have found difficulty in this decision, to pursue a passion as a hobby or as a career.

My Passions = Hobbies

Let’s take a moment to check-in with Scott. Scott is in his late twenties, loves the great outdoors and lives in Northern California. Scott is currently employed as a Data Analyst for a financial company, however, through our coaching, discovered that his true passions involve being outdoors, backpacking in national parks and all outdoor sports.

After careful consideration, Scott decided to stay in his role as a data analyst for financial security, which allows him to take trips to national parks in his spare time. Although Scott decided against a major career transition, he finds that he aligns more with his passions as hobbies because the career options in forestry work and working for the national park service were not prioritizing with his values. Therefore, understanding the larger scope of his purpose served a greater understanding of finding fulfillment in his current work to allow for flexibility in his hobbies outside of work.

Let’s Make My Passion My Career

Here is a story of Sarah. Sarah is in her mid-thirties and lives comfortably with her family on the East Coast. She enjoys being creative. In her spare time, she finds herself taking landscape photographs, crafting art pieces for her home, and creating visual designs on her computer. Though she has some creative capacity, she wants to transition from her current job as a journalist to a graphic designer.

She now realizes that she derives meaning from her passion for digital art.

To reach her new career goals, Sarah and I worked together to align her passions with her work values to apply to career opportunities in graphic design. As Sarah began applying to these design positions, she took action to create a portfolio in her spare time to prepare for interviews for graphic design roles.

If you are feeling torn between this decision, can my passion become my career, or do my passions remain hobbies, dig in and give sincere thought to your commitment level. To help you understand your commitment level, here are some questions I have for you to decide where your passions reside:

First, what is something you love to do?

Where can you create time in your schedule to show up and do that? Do you love to write, design, adventure? Understand how that fills your cup and in return, pay close attention to how this is affecting you on the job. More often than not, you may just find that this passion can show up during work hours in excitement, calmness, creativity, and maybe even connection to other coworkers (who have a similar passion).

Does your passion fuel happiness?

If so, make time for it. We are creatures of both work and play. Making the time for “play” can enhance our work lives by making us more engaged in our work. Engagement with our work, that is the dream, right?!

 Similarly, what is it about this passion that you enjoy most?

Remind yourself of the “why” behind the joy and satisfaction from this passion will open your horizons to see if this is a good fit to give more mental space and further dedication to pursue as a career.

How does this passion enhance my work?

Like I mentioned from my own narrative, rock climbing is strategic. It takes discipline in practicing and showing up for a physical and mental challenge. This helps me to then problem-solve and think about long-term projects more effectively at my job. Which, in turn, keeps me engaged at work and excited by what hobby brings to me personally and professionally.

 Is this passion worth my time?

If you are spending more time consumed by your passion, in thought or by doing, well, chances are it will be worth it to find the initiative to generate means of income. It is important to be realistic with this. If your passion does not feel like it is worth your time, you likely won’t see a monetary benefit and could easily feel like just another day job.

 Can my passion really become my day job?

This is the question. We naturally want to resist what is not a determined, easy path. Start somewhere. Again, this comes back to all key elements that we have discussed with factors that involve your commitment level. Consider how you can you further develop this passion. Step away from the expectations of what this passion can or can’t give you and pay close attention to your time investment and your inner-awareness to levels of engagement and enjoyment this passion brings.

Is Your Passion a Hobby or Career?

My hope in sharing these stories and asking these questions is to open your awareness of living a life aligned with your passions. Deciding on how to navigate your career journey is a courageous feat, one that can be done with exploration! As you are aligning your passions to your career and life, don’t forget that this is your journey. You can decide to be open-minded to new experiences. To stay curious about exploring your interests. To take the risk that may give you further freedom, purpose and meaning!

My own personal story and the story of many others is to guide to a life of joy and satisfaction. If that joy looks like climbing a mountain for pure excitement or accomplishment, do it! Does this mean spending your afternoons painting, or baking? Do it. If these hobbies continue to bring you further meaning, and you can align your career to fit your work values and lifestyle, by all means! It may be time to see how this passion can become your career. Do you find fulfillment at work that allows you to have the time and funds for your hobbies? Then, by all means, please do allow yourself to stay explorative. Here at ALV, it is our desire to support you in exploring your passions, gifts, values, and purpose further. Book your complimentary consult with me here.

(*Note: all names have been changed)

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