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Finding and Pursuing Work You are Passionate About

The following post is a contribution from Tony at We Only Do This Once. Tony is a trombone player who has performed with a major symphony orchestra, on Broadway in NYC, and in recordings and movie soundtracks. He blogs about simplifying your life through downsizing and becoming financially fit.

When Amanda asked me to write a guest post for her blog, I immediately thought of how she has followed her passion in life to write. One of the keys to happiness is finding work you love and that you’re passionate about; work you want to do, instead of just have to do. We hear this all the time, but many of us don’t take the plunge the way Amanda did.

One of the keys to happiness is finding work you love and that you’re passionate about. Click To Tweet

When I was playing and teaching music, I felt like I never worked a day in my life. Passionate work never feels like work.

Amanda found her passion in writing. I am about to quit my job and go back to performing and teaching (with a lot of writing!), and I know I won’t drag my feet to go to work anymore.

The beautiful thing about the circle of bloggers I follow is that I see that I’m just one of many who’ve done this — there are people all over the world pursuing their dreams, working with passion, and losing themselves in their work.

Are you one of them? Do you want to join us?

Many people I speak with simply can’t identify work they could be passionate about right off the bat. This is the biggest challenge, indeed.

You can find that work, but it’ll take some effort. Here’s how you go about starting to find work you are passionate about:

  1. You must seek it out. Waiting for your dream job to come to you won’t work. We all hear stories of people who were lucky and had riches fall into their lap; that is not the norm. You have to take action and seek it out.
  2.  Never settle. In his incredible Stanford commencement speech, Steve Jobs said, “never settle”. We never “arrive”; this life thing is a journey. Don’t ever give up the search for better work.
  3. Keep irons in the fire. Always be open to learning and trying new things. Talk to new people outside of your traditional circle. Read articles on different blogs, in different magazines and books. You never know who, or what, may inspire you.
  4. Love comes with practice. As a musician, I knew that I enjoyed playing the trombone a lot, but the better I got at it, the more I fell in love with it. Once you get good at something, you won’t want to stop doing it, because it feels awesome to get better.
  5. Immerse yourself. If you do find work you love, consider it a gift. Pour your entire self into it (without ignoring your family and friends!). Devotion to your work feels amazing.

Here’s how to begin seeking your passion:

  1. Write it down. Over the next month ask yourself: do I love what I’m doing? If you do, great! If not…what, exactly, do you love doing? If you don’t know, then are you willing to go look for it?
  2. Take your time. Think about this for a couple of hours every day. Really think about what you love, about your life, about what you want to be doing. Maybe you haven’t asked yourself this enough.
  3. What do you love doing already? Do you have hobbies you’re passionate about? What do you like reading about? What do you talk about with others? One of my artist friends likes to create collages, but it never dawned on her she that could sell them until someone paid $250 dollars for one! Then the light bulb went off…
  4. Everyone dreams. What are yours? Is there something you’ve always wanted to accomplish in life? Over time, we think our dreams are silly and we get scared. Give it more thought now.
  5. What are you good at? My friend is passionate about yoga, and a good teacher. It never dawned on her that she could teach yoga for a living until we discussed it. Do you have any skills that you are good at already?
  6. Take action. Do one thing a day to investigate your passion. Read one blog, make one phone call, make one appointment. Do something! These little actions each day will really add up.
  7. Pursue things you find interesting. Read about it. Learn, and try it, and do it, and get better at it. Fear is what stops most people from finding their passion, so keep at it!
  8. Keep up with it. You might be able to pursue new projects within your current job, or do it as a side job or as a hobby at first. Keep asking people who are actively working in their passion how they did it. There is no difference between them and you. You can do this!
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Amanda L. Grossman is a writer and Certified Financial Education Instructor, Plutus Foundation Grant Recipient, and founder of Frugal Confessions. Over the last 13 years, her money work has helped people with how to save money and how to manage money. She's been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Kiplinger, Washington Post, U.S. News & World Report, Business Insider, LifeHacker, Real Simple Magazine, Woman's World, Woman's Day, ABC 13 Houston, Keybank, and more. Read more here.

Amy @ JobCred CV Builder

Sunday 14th of April 2013

Writing is a common ground to express life's passions. Indeed, in determining which passion is best to be pursued, this form of expression will be the most helpful aid. Thanks for the tips.

[email protected]

Sunday 14th of April 2013

Thanks Amy! I am so lucky I found my voice through writing. It's a work in progress...

KC @ genxfinance

Friday 12th of April 2013

There are opportunities that come knocking at your door and there are those that you need to work hard for. Yes, if you really want something, do what you can to achieve it. If you are stuck on a job you don't like, you'll stay there for the rest of your life until you do something about it. Greater things come to those who work hard for it.

[email protected]

Sunday 14th of April 2013

You said it! The work and the work ethic is what we need in order to start the journey towards finding our love. Thanks!

Tammy R

Thursday 11th of April 2013

Great post, Tony, and action steps to boot! Fear held me back for a long time. I continued on the same, safe path for many years. I took the logical "next step" and ended up quite sick.

Your "do something" message is so important because it is only in actively pursuing our interests/passions that we find opportunities. I always wanted to write, yet it simply remained a once-in-a-while activity. I was the only one holding myself back. When I started reading, talking to others, and writing, l realized that being a writer is possible. Thank you for continuing to inspire!

[email protected]

Sunday 14th of April 2013

Thanks so much, Tammy! There are plenty of days that I have to remember to take my own advice!

Shannon @ The Heavy Purse

Thursday 11th of April 2013

Great post, Anthony! I feel so blessed to be able to do what I love professionally. But I know some people really struggle when it comes to finding their passions. Your tips are spot on and I always remind them to stop putting pressure on themselves. To enjoy the journey.

[email protected]

Sunday 14th of April 2013

So great that you are able to follow your passionm Shannon. We are both very lucky!


Wednesday 10th of April 2013

Great post! Living our passion is such an important part of happiness. Sadly, most of us don't. Many of us never will. We just stay stuck in the same 'ol job and the same 'ol routine.

Wasting our days in the pursuit of "comfort."

Well, that kind of comfort kills. It crushes our hopes and poisons the spirit. Better to just find a way to get started doing what you love. However meager your beginnings may be, if you keep persistent and true, things will eventually snowball.

And the momentum will carry you right where you were meant to be all along. Smack in the middle of your passion.


[email protected]

Wednesday 10th of April 2013

Trevor, you said a mouth full. That about wraps it up...well said!


Wednesday 10th of April 2013

Hello Trevor! Thank you for your thoughts on Tony's post. Even if we do need to hold down jobs to make money, it's a great idea to just start working towards your passion. Who knows where you might end up?