How I Found My Passion

By , SparkPeople Blogger
I was never one of those kids who knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. Even in college when it was time to pick a major, I picked business because it seemed like I could do a lot with it. I really didn't like business more or less than anything else. But my parents encouraged me to finish college and then I could figure out what I wanted to do with my life.

I spent my first few years out of college in corporate America. I worked for a great company, my job was challenging and I made great money. Not bad for a young woman who had just turned 22. But I knew almost immediately that it wasn't for me. I wasn't okay with working all day to help a company that already had a lot of money make more.

I remember the day when I decided I needed to make a change. I was at the mall and I saw an elderly couple sitting on a bench. My first thought was "I'm so jealous that they don't have to work anymore." It was then that I knew my current situation wasn't working and it was time to figure out what my true passion in life really was. I ended up deciding to go back to graduate school and get a degree in Health Education. It was a very scary decision, but something I've never regretted.

When I told my co-workers that I was leaving, the responses were interesting. Some people told me I was foolish- I'd never have a job like this again, making this kind of money. Others said they admired my decision, and if they didn't have a family to support and house payments to make, they might have tried to do the same thing.

After graduate school, I moved to Memphis with my husband and got a job with the YMCA. It was a great experience for a number of reasons, and lasted a few years until my husband was transferred and we moved home. An interesting turn of events lead me to SparkPeople, which was a tiny office with just a handful of employees at the time. Again, some people told me I was crazy for taking a job with a small company that might not last. But others said it was such a unique experience and I should take advantage of the opportunity. Every day I'm thankful I did.

After my first child was born I started working part-time. It's not easy- my day starts at 5:30 every morning so that I can get work done before my kids get up. Then I juggle my kids and work throughout the day so that I can be a good mom and good employee at the same time. I realize a lot of working moms have to juggle much more than I do, so I consider myself lucky.

If I wanted to stop working, my family could find a way to make it work. But I get so much satisfaction from helping people every day on the site. Any time someone tells me that my advice or suggestions helped them make progress, I'm thrilled. So I honestly believe that I've found the career that I'm passionate about, even if I took an interesting path to get there.

What about you? Have you found your passion- whether it's your career, family, volunteering or other activities? If not, what's stopping you?

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Thank you! Report
Thanks Report
Very informational, motivating and the importance of finding one's passion. Report
Good information. Thank you. Report
I work in the medical field and its rewarding mostly~ Report
It was fun getting to "know" you a bit better. I'm grateful you chose to work at SparkPeople because I've been the beneficiary of many of your informative articles! Report
Great that things worked out so well for you! Report
Absolutely great Report
Thanks for the article! Report
I am a music (band) teacher and I can honestly say it is not my passion in life, which seems kind of odd. The probem is, it is one of those fields that really needs to be a passion in order to inspire others and really-handle its drama. I am working on getting certified in two other fields in education and hope to someday make the transition to English. I am certified now after 9 years in music. Hopefully, it is never too late to get that job! Report
Great--thanks so much Report
I admire you so much for taking the big leaping and following your passion. you have to live your life for you...not to please anyone else or to make money.

only passion can make happiness--not money. too many people forget this. they forget to follow their heart! Report
I lived my passion for several years. The only thing I ever knew I wanted to be was a mom. In 3rd grade I remember telling the father of one of my friend s that I wanted to have 3 kids. I ended up having 4, in pursuit of a daughter (I have 4 sons, and I'm delighted!) Unfortunately, when the youngest was 10, we ended up divorcing, and I had to get "a real job". I had always worked on weekends, but was blessed and lucky to be home with my kids during the week. I THINK I was a good mom. Having to leave my home each day, and leave my kids to fend for themselves...I hated it. I was just thinking a few days ago, that If I was still and "AT HOME MOM" I'd be retired now, and like lots of retirees - looking for my 2nd career! My youngest turns 21 at the end of this month. Being a mom is/was my passion. I STILL don't know what I want to be when I grow up! Report
I am glad to hear that you found your passion; but, most of all for having the will and power to pursue your passion.

Personally I have found my passion but, I am so scared to pursue it. I don't know if I will be ok, and taking in consideration that I have two young boys frightens me a bit more of making a wrong choice. I have been a working mom since I can remember and I'll be honest I don't think I could stop working. But, I realized that I want to dedicate my career life as a home base business woman. I have take the first step I, went to school to and obtained my Cosmetologist licensed. This license has allow me to semi experience what it would be if I were to work from home. I am specializing in Facials, I even invested on a complete spa equipment and placed it on a room in my home. I have been slowly building up my clients and it seems nice. The best part is that when I do my side job (facials at home) I am with my children and I get to do so much more stuff with them. Then Monday comes and I go back to a 8-5 job in an office where, I am not only sitting in front of a computer for pretty much 8 hours out of a day but, I am also gaining weight. My mom tells me I should not hesitate and leave the job I currently posses because she says I would have more time to dedicate to my personal business. I will have more time to take the classes I want to take that will help me with what I want to do and most importantly I will be with my sons. I really want to do so especially since my fiance has completely approved he agrees that I should be a stay home mom but, he leaves it completely up to me. He wants to see me happy therefore, whatever decision I make he wants it to be the one that will make me happy. I am just scared and that is what is holding me back form pursuing my dream... Report
Yes, teaching is my passion. I affect so many lives.
Sam Report
I quit my job to focus on my daughter after her father committed suicide in February 2006. I did work for a few months but realized she really needed her mom. My job was from 4 pm to after midnight. I missed out on dinnertime, bathtime, storytime, and bedtime. In May, I left and almost took a job with Fuddrucker's and decided to just not work until she was in school. She was 2 1/2 when her father died. Since May of 2006, I haven't worked. Been a stay at home mom and student since then. With the way corporations and governments are, I have noooooo desire to return to the workforce and make someone else richer. My life is fine just the way it is. Report
I am a stay-at-home mom and nothing I've ever done in my life has been so meaningful. I love being there for my 5 kids when they need me, and my husband works hard (at one of those office jobs) so I can continue to be home. When my last one starts Kindergarten in 2 years, I hope to return to school and finish my college degree in...something. ;) For now, I love being able to focus on my primary job and still have time for prayer, ministry, and health/fitness. There are many people who work and have kids, and they don't have time for such things. So I consider myself very fortunate. Report
I don't think I really have found my passion yet. At 43 yrs old, you'd think I'd know, but I don't. I have a good job that pays well and its okay. I like the people I work with and I'm not complaining at all. I have thought a few time over the years, I had it figured out but was mistaken. Oh well, I have a great family and my life is mine. Report
I'm 25 and since I was a 9 year old 4th grader, I knew I wanted to help people communicate (i.e. those with hearing loss or who were deaf). That passion got a name: speech-language pathologist (aka speech therapist). I can now work with people from birth and upwards battling mild to severe communication difficulties and giving them power for the first time (or again) through a variety of language modalities.... Report
I work with children with moderate to severe developmental disabilites. ITs hard work because they are all non-verbal and it is vey hard to...well communicate with them effectivley. However at the end of the day, I always want to come back the next day. I love the kids and the work. I would say that I have found my passion. (Just wished it was appreciated more ;) ) Report
After working in a registration position for a summer and seeing adults unable to fill out an application because they could not read, my passion has been adult literacy. I retired in 2005 and became a volunteer tutor in the adult literacy program through the County Library system. I currently work with a gentleman who has a 3rd grade education. He's excited, committed and learning. I have been blessed by a good education and am greatful that I am able to share it with others who have not. Report
I absolutely LOVE my job! I'm an ICT Techncian/Teaching Assistant in a local primary (elementary) school, which means I get to work with the computers, teach the kids and adults and play with the kids as well. It's so varied I never get bored! But it was a very long, torturous route to get here. Report
i am so afraid of twisting my life... i know i would be happier with teaching, i love children and ever since i was a child, i wanted to be a teacher. but im 25, marketing grad, have my job, and its all too scary to start from scratch. at the same time, i love health and personal training, i would also be very happy being a personal trainer or maybe combine both and be a health teacher. i don't know... i have to think about all this cause i know im still young, and i know that when i look back to these days, i am going to regret not having done it. now is the time, i just cant get myself to go for it, im scared... Report
From childhood I've known my 'gift' was for painting and drawing. Finally, at age 60 I am 'rolling' with my passion (this same gift) and am now selling my work locally and online! Praise God! Report
Yes, I have found mine, too! My first passion is breeding Paint horses with beauty and quality, and championship bloodlines which always are worth it in the end! Second, I have found my niche in Nursing. After having worked in hospitals and Home Health, I started working in Hospice in 2003, and discovered that was the job that I was made for! I LOVE my work, it is so rewarding and I work with a team of wonderful, loving, compassionate Christian people. We have a lot of autonomy on our jobs, but are still in close contact with our Medical Directors (physicians) I hope that EVERYONE finds a job they love! Report
I am now retired, actually for a few years now. After the first two winters I developed "cabin fever". My girlfriend suggested that I volunteer at a school nearby, to sit with the small children at lunch time. Its been the most rewarding job I have had. I do think it has become a passion. Report
I guess I have not found my passion. As Joseph Campbell says to "follow your bliss" but I have not been dedicated enough to keep at it through both thick and thin (as the saying goes because I have always been a little thick...both in the belly and head)

But I will say that I have learned skills such as fire-eating and how to escape from a regulation straight-jacket. When performing escapes I talk about overcoming obstacles and fulfilling dreams and not letting little things like being tied up with 100 feet of rope tied by the two burliest guys in the room get in your way. Thankfully I have never had an unsuccessful escape. A good part of this is due to my positive mindset and having some really wonderful teachers really helps too.

While I have not found a passion in performing I am signed up for a intense scripting class 10 weeks from this Friday. Now I've got to get my biggest problems subdued before then...procrastination and quitting when it gets tough.

Michael Report
Yes, mission work - specifically with children. When I graduate with my nursing degree next spring, I will be taking a trip to Haiti to do mission work at a clinic run by friends from my church. I operate under the belief that no child should have less of a chance to survive based on where they are born. I have always felt that mission work is what I was meant to do, and I am very excited to put my nursing knowledge to good use in Haiti next year! Report
i thought i had found my passion in human resources. but during a tough period of back to back lay-offs in '99 & '00 when i was volunteering with a sickle cell anemia organization i came across an employment oppty to work at UCLA in their alumni services dept. it's been true love ever since. i have worked in higher ed since 2001 and can now add higher ed administration to my list of passions. i absolutely LOVE working with college-level students and working in academia has provided the ongoing mental stimulation that i need as i have access to ongoing speaking engagements of some of my favorite scholars and writers in various disciplines. the opportunities for advancement as well as the ability to work for a variety of departments provides the professional challenge and development employees typically seek and it' all pretty much in one place. what started out as misfortune turned out to be quite the happy accident and then some! Report
Yes! I am so privileged to have found work that I love--I'm a book editor & work closely with words every day. I was obsessed with words, grammar, & writing beginning even before I learned to read . . . I think remembering what we loved as children can really help us identify our passion(s).

I am also a poet--not a famous one, but a committed one. I work on poems most weekdays during my commute to the workplace; I'm involved in a couple of regular peer workshops where we respond to/critique each other's work; & at least once a year I attend a week-long writers' workshop where I can take classes & gain new skills. I've published one book & am seeking a publisher for my second. Quite a few of my poems have been published in magazines & journals too; sending them out for publication is time consuming, but I want to share my words so it's worth it.

I'm very committed to my family--not just my kids but also my sisters, brothers & dad. And I have a deep passion for justice, mostly expressed through advocacy for peace & justice in the country of Colombia, where I grew up.

All of these are rooted in my passion for following Jesus . . . better said, in God's passion for me & for the whole creation. I give myself in love because God loved me first. Report
Wow - lots of passionate sparkers out there! Way to go everyone. I have many passions - my family first (my "perfect" 15 year old son - yes, I see him through rose-coloured glasses, but a good doctor once told me you can't ever ruin a kid by too much love - so, instead I tease him that I've saved up for his therapy when he's older!) - then fitness type activities. I love my work - I love ideas; learning new things, starting new projects and seeing something new being developed. That's why I've spent many years in school both as a student and a teacher. I love team sports and have been able in the last couple of years to start again. Curling Rocks! For all you living in the warm south, you are missing out on a great winter sport. I also love dragon boating, boot camps, swimming, walking, cycling, etc. Although I don't allow myself enough time to follow my passions, I can only feel really connected when I've done something active. I could go on forever; but the bottom line - life should be all about passion - learning to find something you love in whatever life has given you. Report
What an inspirational blog!

And thank you, Jen, for caring so much about others that you share with us ideas that help so many of us every day. As I see it, your decision to quit "corporate America" and help so many of us has a far more profound effect, than to help a great company become greater (whatever company that may have been!!)

THANK YOU for your dedication and commitment to SparkPeople!!
-TODAY- isn't it a GREAT day to Spark??!!

~~Jocelyn Newton~~ Report
I, too, spent many years in corporate America and, at times, made a lot of money. I have also been a single mom most of my life. When my youngest child moved out, I did a lot of soul-searching. My mother always said that I had a strong maternal instinct and I realized that the hour-and-a-half that I spent volunteering in my church's nursery was the high-point of my week. For the past 6 years, taking care of children has been my occuption. It doesn't pay much, but God provides and I'm VERY happy! Report
I am so glad that you, and the other SP staff members, found your passion here - it has been a blessing in my life. I have found a passion in helping others through volunteering and am so fortunate to be able to balance it with work and family. Report
I found my passion on the stage of a small opera company. After coming through a very difficult period in my life I decided to take private voice lessons, mainly for therapy. I had several voice teachers who all gave me operatic repertoire to study and sing. Believe me when I say that I was truly not interested in singing that style of music, but I did as I was told. Eventually I found myself auditioning for a local opera company. I was accepted into the chorus. I was petrified because I had no stage experience, whatsoever. Several years later I landed comprimaria roles. So far, I've worked with two small opera companies, soloed twice with an orchestra, and I continue to sing regularly in area churches. When I started this pursuit many thought that I would not progress. They told me that I should have begun vocal performance studies while in college and that I would get nowhere studying privately. Others told me that if they didn't have family obligations they would do exactly as I was doing. I have my ups and downs, but I wouldn't trade having made that decision for anything. Right, now I can't afford the lessons and coachings that I need, continuously, but I'm not giving up my passion for singing and performing. If there's only one thing I've learned during this journey it is this: Perseverance pays off! Report
I have always wanted to be in the secretarial field (since I was 8 years old and watched Lucille Ball on the Lucy Show when she worked at a bank). I started working at a bank when I was 18 (30 years ago). I knew in high school I had the coordination to be a typist (I received the best typist in my graduating class honor) and also as a stenographer. I would still like to become either a court stenographer or a close caption writer. What is stopping me is the funding for education. I do not have enough income in order to be able to payback a student loan. I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. Report
I am in total agreement with Kagoulet...I am 54, had a good ride working in healthcare but I do envy those not going to work everyday...which tells me I need a little more spark in my workplace. I need to go back to school to finish up my degree, need about 50 credits towards my bachelors then I can teach...that is my passion. I am a CPC (certified professional coder); I am in my glory when I am giving presentations to the physicians, when I am out on the road teaching the physicians the coding guidelines, I am a manager now, good money but not 100% satisfaction. My kids say "why bother going back to school now, you make good money and you only have about 12 years before you retire"...Who knows that for sure, with Obamacare coming in I may have to work another 20...might as well enjoy it, Right? Report
I am only 59 and haven't figured out what I want to be when I grow up. I have never had a job I didn't like but never had one that was a passion. Report
I am a hippie by nature and by profession. A while ago I came to terms with the fact that I will never make very much money. Sometimes I regret not going to school for environmental engineering- something that would bring in more money, but then I remind myself that I would have not gotten the chances to travel to the tropical rainforests I've been to, or scuba dive around the world. Currently unemployed and a habitual seasonal worker I still feel pressure to find that "perfect job" (thought I did but was not offered the job, so obviously it wasn't!). I'm just trying to find ways to enjoy the ride before that perfect job does come along. Report
I'm a quilter. That's my passion. I work in a museum with a collection of over 700 quilts, so at work, I've been surrounded by quilts and have become quite a good quilt historian, too. For the last few months I've been concentrating on sparking and writing a quilt history power point, so have had to put quilting on the back burner for a bit. Hope to get stitching again in the middle of April. But for the first time in my life, I've put diet and exercise first!
Who'd a thunk it! Report
I once heard, if you want to find your passion, think about the things you liked to do when you were a child. What could you do or play for hours and time would fly by? Mine were playing house, pretending I had a store, baking, and being outside with my animals. I have done all those as an adult, but I am still figuring out ways to do them in different ways to be able to provide financially for my family. Report
I started my own one-of-a-kind wearable art business (Purple Passion Art), which includes quilts, afghans, baby layette sets,handbags,purses, and jewelry.

Since I've retired it keeps me busy createing from scratch, from my drawings to the final creation.

For some reason I have to keep busy with my hands, everything is hand-made or machine made.. I just love what I do, I take pride in my work and love it even more when my work is braised or complimented on or compared over a massed produced item. Report
I noticed immediately that the happiest bloggers are those that help others. Didn't notice comments that state they are passionate or happy working for the money alone.
When searching for your passion I suggest being honest with yourself and not qualifying your dream by saying "what can I do that pays the most, that I can tolerate". Report
I have recently found something that I think I would be happy doing but I am not sure if its my passion or if I could even succeed doing it. I have hated my job since the day I started. It is stressful, unrewarding, and has no option for movement. I took courses to becaome a phlebotomist and loved it!!! But, with the job market like it is no one is hiring full-time and I have too many loans to pay to be able to accept anything else. About 2 months ago I started taking zumba. I feel in love with this class. I would love to quit my job and just teach zumba all day everyday. But, could I ever be good enough? Can you make a living doing that? Do I go for it or just give up? Report
My passion is photography. I'm 33 and I just found out about it 2 years ago. Until then I had no clue what I really wanted to do in life.
Now I'm still looking for a solution to unite work and passion but to know what I want to achieve is a big step itself and it makes me happy! Report
43 and still don't know my passion. Have a good job, but it's not what gets me excited... Still have hopes that one day I will find it! Report
I've looked for my passion for a long time...only to find that I had it all along. I feel alive when I am learning new things-figuring them out and seeing if they fit into my life. For example, exercise. I've loved figuring out a jogging schedule for me that morphed into walking/jogging a marathon. Or strength training where I've explored so many options: Wii, videos, dvds and more. It'll be interesting to see what my life and interests will be next year and that's what makes me so excited about life. (along with my friends and family of course:) Report
Thank you for reminding me how wonderful it is to have a passion and be able to do it. My passion has always been volunteer work, helping the marginized people in society. In the USA it was teaching English to Mexicans, and Bible in Spanish...Here in Ecuador, Spanish are not the marginized, so I´ve begun to learn sign language, and am working with the deaf, both on a social level, (Droctor visits, lawyers, etc) and on a spiritual one. VERY SATISFYING work. Non-paid but doesn´t matter.
I wish I've the strength like you. Since I was a kid, I love to design clothes, it was my dream to become fashion designer. Then, when something stop me from pursuing my dream, I move to my 2nd dream - computer programmer. Sounds different but actually both are similar - need lots of imagination and creativity and your mind will be twisted, haha. But, still same, just 6-month working as a programmer, I had to stop. Now, current job isn't that bad, I love working with different people from different cultures, languages and countries but somehow feel like my inner strength, my free spirit are starting to decrease. My life is still full of "What if I continue, crush all the boulders, achieve what I dreamed for so long?" So, those who pursues their dreams, I'm so jealous and wish I can be like them. Report