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Amazing Possibilities!

  • Writer's pictureMatthew Kelly

Finding Your Passion At Work

There may be ways to bring meaning to work, and work may offer

an intrinsic opportunity to grow in character and virtue, but none of

that is to say that you should not enjoy your work or find something

to do with your 86,400 hours that you find fulfilling and meaningful.

But finding something that you can be passionate about and meeting

the demands of the economic reality of our modern culture is becoming

increasingly more difficult.

If you could do anything, what would you do? Are you willing to

make sacrifices in order to do it? Are you willing to give up money

or status, downsize to a smaller home, or give up free time for more

training or schooling?

I have always asked that first question when conducting job interviews.

The candidates are often afraid to tell you because they are

concerned that they will sound as if they don’t want the job they are

interviewing for. The truth is, you want them to be honest. You are

trying to learn a little about what they aspire to. You can tell a lot

about a person by what he or she aspires to.

The first step, of course, is to work out what your passions are.

Most people don’t really know. They know what they don’t want because

they already have it or have seen it. But few people really know

what they want. Even fewer have a clear sense of what they are well

suited to.

What are your passions? Take a few minutes and make a list. Just

write from your stream of consciousness. Don’t overthink things.

You may be passionate about chocolate, baseball, or educating people

about what is causing the massive increase in cancer. Write them

down. Write it all down, anything that excites you, anything that energizes

you. Just write it all down.

When we are children, people ask us all the time, “What are you

going to be when you grow up?” But it seems today, more and more

adults are asking themselves, What am I going to be when I grow up?

In an e-mail a couple of weeks ago, one of my readers wrote, “Today

I caught myself counting the days to the weekend—and it is only

Monday!” Is the fact that so many people wish five days away in order

to get to two not a clear indication that today’s workers are chronically


Whenever I talk to people on planes or at book signings, I like to

observe their rising and falling levels of energy and enthusiasm as we

discuss a variety of topics. When most people talk about their work,

they use a completely different tone from the one they use in talking

about their children or their next vacation. In another e-mail, one of

my readers explained, “Today is my third day back at work since my

annual two-week vacation and I am already planning next year’s. I

have to believe that if I was more satisfied in my work I would spend

less time planning and daydreaming about my next vacation.” Others

speak about rewarding themselves just to get through the days and

weeks. Some people reward themselves with chocolate, others by going

shopping or by taking themselves out to a favorite restaurant for

dinner, and others by drinking or vegetating in front of the television

for hours every night. If we were more passionately engaged in our

work, would all of these rewards play such a prominent role in our

lives? I think not.

So what are you going to do when you grow up? It’s not like it is as

it was a hundred years ago, when a man did what his father did and a

woman had babies and took care of the house. Today the possibilities

are extraordinary. The bigger problem today is probably that there are

just too many options. I am not going to tell you that you can do anything

you set your mind to; that would be a lie. But I am going to tell

you that you deserve to have work that engages you passionately. I am

not going to tell you that someone is just going to walk along and give

you such a job. It is most likely going to be very hard to move from

where you are to where you would like to be. The secret is finding

something that you are well suited for.

Matthew Kelly

From Perfectly Yourself

Click Here to get your copy

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