I spend considerable time each month mentoring people interested in communications, or recent college graduates looking for their first job. They come to me with high hopes and aspirations but often without a focus on their own passions.
Oftentimes, I focus on asking what they want to be known for. It’s an old exercise in professional development classes where we used to write our own epitaph or obituary. It forces the focus on what’s important to the person I’m mentoring. It takes the focus off the experience needed, salary requirements and other details of the job search.
Instead it puts the focus on your passions and what you like to do. I’m not promising you’ll get to do exactly what you want to be known for in your first job, or maybe even your second, but there should be at least some component of each job that feeds your soul.
If necessary, consider volunteer work to fulfill that side of you that wants to help improve society. When you’re doing what you want to do, it makes going to work easier and improves your work product. That makes your boss happy and in turn will likely give you more money to pursue your passions.
Are you doing that in your paid job? Your volunteer career? If the answer is no, put together a plan get a job that feeds your passion. Begin with a version of the SWOT analysis we use in PR planning.
What are your strengths as they pertain to your passion?
What are the weaknesses that might keep you from doing what you’re passionate about?
Then turn those into positivesIdentify the opportunities you have that might make the path smoother.
SWOT looks at the threats to your success as well but since this focuses on personal passions, we won’t worry about threats.
Once you have a plan, begin to build a network of individuals and organizations (companies and nonprofit groups) in your community that can help you get there. Take classes, attend workshops and join professional organizations that will help you gain the skills you need. Volunteer for nonprofits that fit with your passion and are eager for young energetic people to help out.
Set a goal for about five years from today to be in a position closest to what you want to be known for. You can’t get there overnight but instead work your way to where you want to be so you’re prepared, happy and still passionate.
How do you figure out what makes you want to get out of bed in the morning? What excites you in life?