In a recent session on personal branding, some of the group reflected on what they really wanted to be known for. This is important work. How can you define your personal brand in the minds of others if you don’t know what you stand for, what’s at the core of what you want to convey to the world?
Diana spoke about her love of animals and how she was going to pursue opportunities that would allow her to be close to that issue. The idea behind this is that if you stay close to what you care about, your work life will be that much more enriched. We’ve read about the colleagues who went on to find their passion with a company that came closer to their core values. This is really engagement at the highest level. Many companies are looking to engage the hearts and minds of their employees. If you go into a company where you feel in tune with their core values and they are living those values, how can you lose? Your experience will be that much more meaningful.
In a recent article about finding work to get excited about, Shana Lebowitz suggests considering what makes you lose track of time. It’s a way to tap into an area that you will enjoy. Another way is to think about interests you had as a child. Jeanne was an avid reader. After a long career in marketing, she found that working for a non-profit focused on literacy was a way to combine her talents with her passion.
Does this mean you drop everything to find your calling? No, experts say that you have to cultivate this transition. Just as Jeanne used her considerable marketing skills to leverage that value into a company she felt strongly about, you have to take the talents you’ve developed and find a new outlet for them. That may not happen overnight. It takes some thinking about how to use the skills you have in a different way, or in a different venue.
The other thing that you have to consider is if there is a market for the very thing you feel passionate about. So let’s say you love making chocolate chip cookies, now you have to figure out just what it’s going to take to prepare them, sell them for a profit and if that’s all you want to do all the time. You’re going to have to think through all of those plans before you go and invest in a professional kitchen and appliances. It’s no wonder many say the ‘passion’ thing is overrated. It’s important, but there’s a whole lot of planning that has to take place before you can follow your dream. In the interim, you might have to think about what exists in your current environment that you enjoy, and whether there are ways to further develop those activities even in the scope of your present responsibilities. Keeping that energy alive can boost your performance and guide you in the direction of your passion.