I want to preface this post with I’m a lover of passion in what you do for work, but passion isn’t what most people think it is.. or more importantly, how it comes to fruition

When you think about passion, what typically comes to mind? Ask yourself that question, and then continue reading.

A Teenagers Starting Point

When I was 14, I started learning about bodybuilding and I became obsessed. I loved it. From the early age of 14, I was working out hard. Around 16-17, I started going to the gym 1.5-2 hours per day. I began doing local powerlifting competitions, eating certain foods, mentally preparing for heavy lifts.. it was something I was passionate about.

One day after I graduated high school, I went to a trade school for Personal Training. A few months in, I essentially realized that they couldn’t actually teach me anything or get me certified. I had to do that on my own, even after paying the $20,000. I left and ventured out on my own to become a certified personal training. I then got a job at a gym as a Personal Trainer and I loved it, at first…I quickly realized that I didn’t want to train people for what they wanted, basically.. to be able to move around and not be lazy.

I wanted to train people that wanted to compete and be bodybuilders, but I realized I wouldn’t get that at a standard gym. This brought me to the realization that perhaps personal training wasn’t for me, and I had no idea what to do.

From 8th grade, I loved fitness. I said that I wanted to be a personal trainer, work in a gym, and help people become bodybuilders. That dream and passion went into the ether.

The question became “what will I do now”.My backup plan was computers after my mom told me I should give it a shot. I figured it would just be a job to make money while I figure out what I’m going to do with my fitness career.

That backup plan, or as I always called it, “Plan B”, ended up being years later what I was passionate about.

Of course, this plan b doesn’t happen for everyone. Not a lot of people start something and poof, they love it, and that’s fine. If you start something and you don’t enjoy it, do something else. If you dive deeper into something, great. That means you somewhat like it. If you dive even deeper, awesome. That means you’re becoming passionate about it.

Finding passion in your work may be easier if you understand what passion actually is.

What Does Passion Mean

Let’s look at a few definitions of passion:

  • “strong and barely controllable emotion.”
  • “intense sexual love”
  • “an intense desire or enthusiasm for something”
  • “a thing arousing enthusiasm.”

Out of these definitions, number three probably makes the most sense when it comes to work.

“an intense desire or enthusiasm for something”

Enthusiasm, in my opinion, is a better word than Passion

Let’s take a look at the definition:

“intense and eager enjoyment, interest, or approval.”

Enthusiasm, by definition, is eager enjoyment. You enjoy what you are doing and you’re eager to continue.

How can you know that without trying something? What I mean is, you cannot wake up one day and automatically assume you’re passionate about something.

Passion Comes From What You Do

Think about this for a second…

How is it possible to tell a 16 or 17-year-old teenager to figure out what they love, are passionate about, and want to do with their lives? And in turn, what to study in college? It’s sort of madness when you really think about it

Telling people to follow your passion and passion is what drives you to a successful career isn’t correct. That’s why when I talk about passion, I’m talking to people that are already in tech. Why? Because I can’t mentor or teach someone to figure out what they’re passionate about. No one can regardless of their role or position.

They already know they like tech, or at least tolerate it. Now they just have to find out what part of tech they’re passionate, or better yet, enthusiastic about.

Who knows, maybe that’ll lead them to leave tech for something they’re passionate about.

To give you an example, I know someone who left being a programmer to lead the marketing department. They fell into marketing due to it being a small company and it turns out, he loves it.

How To Find Passion

I can’t begin to tell you how to find passion because quite frankly, that’s not a question someone can answer.

When I first got into tech, I really loved Active Directory. I thought it was ridiculously cool that this one server controls how everyone logs in at work and how it controls all permissions.

That just sounds cool.

However, I’m not an Active Directory engineer. Why? Because the further I went into my career, the more I realized I loved and was passionate, or enthusiastic, about Cloud and DevOps

As I said, I, unfortunately, can’t tell you how to find that enthusiasm, but I can give you some pointers.

  • See what you like. If you see something on TV, or some ad, or hear someone talk about something, Google it. There is literally information on the internet about any topic. See if you have some high-level interest in in.
  • If you work at a company and you see something that looks interesting, shadow people. If you’re working in tech and hang out with the graphic designers, perhaps you’ll see something they’re working on and think to yourself oh wow, that looks cool. Maybe I’ll try playing around with photoshop at home.
  • Look up college majors. Not saying you have to go to college, but if you look up the curriculum, it might spark some ideas that look interesting.
  • If you’re working in tech and know you enjoy it, but want to take the next step, Google different tech specialties that you can lab up at home. Maybe some legal penetration testing or some free cloud labs.

The idea is to give yourself options to see what you ultimately enjoy.

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