You’ve heard the warnings about making a career out of something that you’re passion about. They say that once you turn your passion into a career, you’ll become disenchanted by it, get used to the grind and before you know it, that passion turns into something you no longer love. It becomes just another job.
There’s a piece of career advice that seems to be echoed everywhere you look these days. You’ve likely discussed it with friends, whispered the idea with colleagues, and seen it – over and over – on Pinterest.
…your passion and creativity are part of you, and they will grow and evolve with you.
After hearing this piece of advice one too many times, you decided to do what everyone said and turn your passion into a career. But what all these friends, co-workers and Pinterest quotes didn’t tell you is that sometimes when your passion is your career, it can start to feel like a grind.
But that’s no reason to toss your passion aside. Whether you’re a small business owner or just work in an industry that you’re passionate about, there are a few key steps you can take to help maintain your passion at work:
1. Know your needs
If something doesn’t feel right in your career, it could be because you’re not listening to yourself. You have to know what you need to do your best work. It could be hiring help if you own your own business, trying out a different role or changing departments if you’re employed at a larger company. Make a list of what you love about your job and what you don’t, and think about why you feel the way you do. Know what you can handle, learn what makes you happy and be ready to make changes if you need to.
2. Put yourself first
Take breaks of all kinds, and all sizes. Maybe it’s meditating each morning or heading to the gym after work each day. Whatever you do, make sure these breaks are part of your daily. In the same vein, Gretchen Rubin of “The Happiness Project” talks on the idea of treating yourself like a toddler. In other words, don’t overwork yourself, get enough rest, eat when you’re hungry rather than finishing that project over lunch. Whatever you’re doing, take care of yourself first and the results will show in your work.
3. Let your passion evolve
Your passion and your creativity are living, breathing things. Perhaps your passion now looks different than when you started your business. That’s OK – your passion and creativity are part of you, and they will grow and evolve with you. Let them grow and change naturally, and the result will show in your creative output.
4. Give your passion your prime time
Most of us are at our best during the first couple of hours after we wake up. That’s according to Dan Ariely, a professor of psychology and behavioral economics and the author of the best-selling book “Predictably Irrational.” Unfortunately, Ariely says, we often tend to spend our “golden hours” on things like email and social media instead of our most important work. We might not get around to our creative work until later in the day when our energy falters. Slogging through, we think “And why do we do this for a career again?” If that sounds familiar, try shifting your creative work to earlier in the day. With a fresher mind, you might remember what made you so passionate about this work in the first place.
5. Take up tutoring
Consider tutoring, mentoring or teaching a class to those who are just getting their start in your field or industry. You’ll feed off of their energy and gain a renewed sense of purpose.
6. Hire a career coach
Think of a career coach as a therapist for your career. You need someone in your corner who can help you renew your career direction and passions. Not sure where to start? Try Jen Spencer – a career coach and all-around awesome lady who regularly works with creative executives.
7. See exhibits regularly
Attend events, exhibits, watch movies and read books relevant to your field on a regular basis. Seeing the work of others who have inspired you will give you a much-needed shot of energy. And don’t forget to look outside of the box and embrace your other passions – if you’re a graphic designer, consider going to a documentary film festival. Seeing the work of creatives in other industries could inspire you in ways you hadn’t considered before.
8. Work with others who are passionate
If you’re able to choose your clients and employees, choose them wisely. Anyone who has ever worked alongside an uninspiring colleague knows that the negative energy of others can quickly weigh you down. Creativity is infectious, so surround yourself with it by way of passionate people and clients. The results will be immediate.
9. Change your scenery
This sounds simple but can have a big outcome. If your job allows for flexibility, try working from multiple locations for a fresh outlook on your day and your life. Consider it routine maintenance necessary for maintaining passion for your work.
10. Write a mission statement
Full disclosure, DesignSponge inspired this one. Each year, review your brand’s mission statement – think about your goals, what you believe in and what you really want to achieve. Having this down on paper (or screen) will help to remind you why you’re doing what you’re doing, and why it still matters – or doesn’t matter – to you.