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How to be passionate about work
8 ways to build a career with purpose and meaning
Over the past few decades, there has been a slow shift in how we find meaning in our lives. Rather than treating work only as a way to make a living, Americans want to be passionate about work. We’re looking for jobs that give us a sense of purpose: A recent study found that 83% of employees want meaning in their day-to-day work.
We spend half our waking hours – sometimes more – at our jobs, so it’s no surprise we want to enjoy them. Plus, recent changes in the world and the economy have many people reassessing their priorities. Still, only 5% of workers feel their current position is the most meaningful work they could be doing. Are you one of the lucky ones who can already say, “I am passionate about my work”? If not, it’s time for you to discover how to find passion in work.
What is passion for work?
Passion for work means you feel excited about what you do. You find meaning and purpose in your work. You tackle each day with focus, never making excuses for why you can’t get things done. As the legendary Oprah Winfrey famously summed it up: “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.”
Are you passionate about work? It’s easy to tell. Passionate people get out of bed every morning feeling energized and alive. You’re completely engaged and get lost in your work. You’re always thinking about how you can do more, be more and contribute more – and you work hard to achieve those goals. You stay committed to your projects and your company. And you’re constantly learning and growing. Only then can you truly say, “I am passionate about my work.”
Benefits of being passionate about work
There’s more to the question “What is passion for work?” than a definition. Passion for work also can benefit your personal and professional growth, as well as your company’s success. Studies have found that “calling-oriented” employees – those who feel passion for their work – achieve both higher pay and organizational status. They also experience greater fulfillment in their jobs and tend to stay with the same company for longer.
Why does passion have so many benefits? When you are passionate about work, you’re able to experience and embrace the gift of drive. Your focus increases. You no longer fear failure. You become more creative and innovative. That’s the kind of energy that senior management can’t miss, and they reward it with promotions, raises and bonuses.
Being passionate about work will help you find fulfillment in life, be more productive and earn more. It sounds amazing – and it can start right now. If you want to be able to say “I am passionate about my work” today and for the rest of your life, follow these eight strategies.
1. Shift your perspective
If you’re feeling less than passionate about work, you’re already aware that meaning is everything. But you might not know that you can choose the meaning you give to your experiences. You can shift your perspective to focus on the positive. You can choose to see the good in your work, whether you improve the lives of others, build products people need or help keep the world running smoothly.
2. Relate work to your goals
While we often look to work to find fulfillment, it doesn’t need to be the end-all, be-all in our lives. We need to discover a larger purpose, like giving back to our communities, spending more time with our families or traveling the world, and then connect our work back to it. If you want to spend time with your family and your work allows for a good work-life balance, that’s one way it’s helping you achieve your larger goals.
3. Connect with others
Another way you can become more passionate about work is to become passionate about those you work with. Build rapport with your coworkers. Get to know their families. Discover what they love to do. Ask about their goals in life. Feeling like you are part of a team and helping others live their own passions can make you feel passionate as well. Plus, passion is contagious – their enthusiasm can rub off on you.
4. Do more of what you love
Many of us have aspects of our jobs that fill us with passion, and others that we don’t love as much. Maybe you love leading weekly team meetings, but hate paperwork. You love making presentations, but don’t like hiring. Or you love writing, but don’t like presenting. You may not be able to avoid doing things you don’t like, but you can look for ways to do more of the things you love at work.
5. Embrace growth
Sometimes “I am passionate about my work” turns into “I hate my job” – and boredom is often the culprit. As Tony often says, “If you’re not growing, you’re dying.” To feel passionate about work, you must be growing both personally and professionally. It’s time to get out of your comfort zone. Join a new club or activity at work. Volunteer for a new project or task you wouldn’t normally take on. Find a mentor. And always feed your mind with new information.
6. Take a break
It sounds counterintuitive, but stepping away is one of the best ways to become more passionate about work. Bill Gates unplugs for two weeks every year. Sheryl Sandberg leaves her office at 5:30PM on the dot. Reconnecting with yourself is key, but you don’t have to have endless vacation time to live by this principle. Go for a walk during lunch. Step away from your computer for 10 minutes every few hours. And don’t check email after business hours.
7. Consider a career change
These strategies can help you start to feel passionate about work right now, but if you’re still left wondering, “What is passion for work?,” it’s time to reevaluate. Your blueprint for life – the way you think your life must be – isn’t matching up with your true purpose. You may think you need money, status and a nice house and car, when really what you need is a career that gives you meaning. When you reexamine your blueprint and your purpose, you’ll find it’s time for a career switch. 0
8. Crush your limiting beliefs
What’s really holding you back from being passionate about work? Ultimately, it’s fear. Your fear of failure prevents you from taking risks. Or your fear of uncertainty keeps you trapped in a job you hate, just for the paycheck. These fears aren’t real. They are your limiting beliefs holding you back from reaching your full potential. Identify and overcome your limiting beliefs, and you’ll become truly unstoppable.