Should You Always Follow Your Passion When Choosing a Career?

Nancy Anderson
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Deciding on your career path is a life-altering choice that has consequences for years to come. One rule of thumb is to follow your passion to find professional happiness, but that tenet isn't the only deciding factor as you try to carve out a niche and determine how practical you can be about your professional goals. Discover how to pursue a career with vigor while also keeping your reality in check.

1. Understand Your Feelings

Remember that when you follow your passion, you're tapping into a feeling as you make decisions. You cannot maintain passion for one particular thing all of the time. One day you might feel passionate about your career and your professional path, but other days you may feel worn out, discouraged and doubtful. When you make a decision based solely on an emotion, you may realize you made a mistake when you have rough days on the job that don't meet your expectations. That's why you need to add a practical approach to a career choice.

2. Know What's Real

You live in reality when it comes to your career. As much as you want to tap into your passion, you also have to pay the bills and take care of your family. You don't have to find a high-stress, high-paying job that makes you miserable, but you do have to mitigate problems that may arise from your chosen career.

For example, if you decide you want a career where freelancing is a regular thing, you're going to have to work harder to bring in clients that maintain a steady stream of business for your career. Different than a salaried job, freelancing means you take care of the marketing and business aspects of your job more so than working for an employer with a regular paycheck. Understand that working from home as a freelancer means you may spend more time doing things to augment your business that have nothing to do with making money.

3. Meld Passion With Skills

You don't necessarily have to go all the way with your passion in life, but you shouldn't abandon what you're passionate about either or you'll lose your will to work. Strike a balance between passion and skills at the office. Learn how to foster your professional passion in smaller ways at work. If you love art but cannot find a way to become a painter full time, try finding a job as a graphic artist, photographer, illustrator or teacher if you want to tap into your artistic side.

4. Talk to Others

When you consider taking a professional leap based on your feelings of passion toward a particular aspect of your personality, talk to others who can support your endeavor. Discuss your future and your career with friends, family and trusted colleagues. These people can offer advice and a listening ear. Your inner circle will also give you honest feedback in your quest.

When you have passion for a job, it shows. While it's important to follow your feelings, you must also do a good job to have a fulfilling and rewarding career. What steps have you taken to create your career while following your passions at the same time?

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