"I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become" C. Jung
A common advice that you hear as you prepare to finish high school/college/university and look forward to the next step is, “follow your passion”. A command phrase that is easier said than done.
My advice to you is to forget about seeking your passion. As you think about your next steps, make a choice to spend some time arranging for new experiences (help the neighbor, summer job, intern, volunteer...). There are many benefits to these experiences as I have written in other articles. This process is called creating a career path. It is a path that you will use to find where you have been, what you liked about where you went and where you want to go.
Following your passion too soon can make you feel stuck. If, for example, you choose arts in a general sense as your passion, you may be hesitant to combine it with digital technology. This limits your ability to perhaps switch gears and create a role for yourself in digital design, which in the long run may end being your passion.
Choosing one passion too quickly is limiting. I have worked with clients who had interests in both arts and medicine or mathematics and literature. Asking them to choose one interest over the other as their passion, puts too much pressure. Instead, they took the time to experiment with both and in many cases were able to find a way to combine their two interests as one passion.
Finally, and particularly if you view yourself as multitalented, you will potentially give up on many passions for the sake of one. One client was skillful in mathematics, history, and technology among many other talents. He chose to plan a career path with plenty of opportunities to experiment and build on these skills. Taking the time to enjoy these experiences, helped him find what he viewed as the career of his dreams; cultural anthropologist.
In short, whether you are in grade 12 or in your final year of university, do not get stuck on following your passion. Take the time to enjoy the rewards of what you have accomplished so far. Focus on making the best of the experiences that appeal to you. And definitely, take the time to plan and document a career path that you can reflect and build upon.
Dr. Hoda Kilani is a Certified Professional Career Coach (CPCC). As a career management professional, she works with clients in private practice, workshop facilitation (carousel and vision board), conference presentation, and writing.
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