5 steps to rediscover your passion for work

Published on
February 8th, 2022
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We’re inundated by mountains of advice on making the most impact in the business world. Yet few people stop talking about their career path end game and look at the route they're on.
A self-proclaimed nerd of all trades, Rachel Miles loves to learn about everything that crosses her path. In addition to being an avid learner herself, Rachel also has a passion for helping others shine their voice through her research, writing, and editing skills. In her spare time, you might catch her reading, drawing, or traveling.
I thought that success in my field consisted of climbing the career ladder for a very long time.
I fell into the trap of believing that being busy equated to being successful. I thought that if I could be in more meetings, take on more side projects, work extra hours, and develop more skills, I would be where I wanted to be.
As a highly motivated person, I wanted to stand out from the crowd at my large company. I didn't want to feel like another cog in the wheel. But I didn't realize that this way of living was draining me and making me less productive. It was making me less happy overall.
Even though I wanted to stand out and grow at my company, I started growing dissatisfied. I certainly wasn't passionate about my job. I thought, what's the point of success in the long run if you can't find meaning in the present?
I started reflecting on what I found meaningful in my career. I realized it was different from what I thought I wanted when I started my career.
It's important to ask yourself: Does your career path make you feel happy?
I decided that it was time to make a change, so I did some work to hone in on what I needed to do to succeed. It’s tempting to think that going to another company will solve all your problems in your current workplace. In reality, if you don’t know what makes you happy, you’re going to keep going from place to place looking in all the wrong places for what brings you joy.
Here are the 5 steps that I followed to rediscover my passion for work.

1. Identify what you're being evaluated on to achieve success

Most of us have a performance review done by management. Performance reviews enable companies to understand their employees and leaders use that review to make decisions around our career paths. They look at whether we've done great work in the past, and evaluate our ability to take on a new challenge.
When I first started in the workplace, I didn't understand that performance reviews follow a set criteria that you're graded on. I thought my enthusiasm for extra effort and diverse interests would look good to management.
I didn't understand that it's ultimately most important to ensure that you're fulfilling your job description.
Once I understood the importance of focusing on performance criteria, I had an honest discussion with my manager.
I asked her, "How are you measuring my performance?" and "For me to be successful, what do you need me to be doing?"
I pulled myself out of the trap of taking on every side project that came my way. Knowing what you're being evaluated on makes it much easier to stay focused and deliver results. For example, if your boss wants you to focus on generating new leads, then put all your effort into lead generation tactics.
Once my manager told me what I needed to do for my role, I focused on excelling in those areas. I stopped spreading myself thin. I started spending all of my working time fulfilling my job description.

2. Create a mission statement for your role

"Get product users excited about working with IBM Design through storytelling."
I wrote that mission statement after I had my discussion with my manager. Once I put together my mission statement, I knew I had my work cut out for me. It's kind of lofty! Since it's so high-level, it gives me a bit of creative liberty to work with while still being specific.
I started breaking down that mission into more specific components. I realized it was all very achievable. What's more, it gave me a goal to strive for and something to focus on.
One component involves finding creative ways to get customers working with us. I decided to write success stories about customers who work with us to give feedback.
This focus has helped me stay excited about my work and learn new things every day.

3. Find how you can best use your skills

To cultivate passion in our professional lives, we need to align interest with productivity.
It's essential to find out your unique talents and dedicate yourself to using those talents to create results.
For example, if you're good at giving presentations and love the limelight, then step up and do a presentation for your team on a project you've been involved in. If you're organized, then offer to be the person who makes sure everyone's schedules are updated for meetings. If you have a knack for analytical thinking, then be the one who brings a business perspective to everyone's creative ideas.
I realized that I'm passionate about evaluating tools and trying new technologies, such as AI productivity tools. I started helping my team research creative solutions and practices that aligned with our mission.
Understanding what you're good at and using those skills will build positive energy towards your work. Suddenly, it won't feel like drudgery to do your tasks. It will feel like an opportunity to fulfill your passion.

4. Stop accepting extra work and protect your well being

Once you have your mission statement, use it as your guiding light for everything you do. If you're at all like me, you might have a lot of side projects that you're doing or volunteer initiatives you're part of. When ANYTHING comes along my path, I ask myself if it aligns with my mission.
When I say “extra work,” I'm not talking about utilizing your talents to support your mission. I'm talking about all the different tasks that other people want you to do to support their work.
When I applied my mission statement rule, it gave me such clarity. I started backing out of things with it as my guiding light. I said no to a lot of projects and meetings.
At first, it felt wrong. Like I wasn’t being a team player. It's not easy to say no, but it's worth it in the long run! Especially if being passionate about your job is important to you.
When your work environment gives you a sense of purpose and doesn't overwhelm you, you'll find that you can find your passion at work.
This isn't to say that you should never take on extra work. If it aligns with your mission, then go forth and prosper. Just be sure to prioritize your well-being!

5. Cultivate the work you enjoy to find your true passion

We all have things we like and don't like. We've probably all had times where we were forced to do something we didn't want to do. However, cultivating the work you enjoy is a choice that can help you unleash your potential and help you shine at your job.
I cultivated the work I enjoyed by doing projects that let me use my creative abilities and learn new skills. I dove into trying out AI writing tools, which scratched that itch of both storytelling and researching new tools.
I also reached out to my manager and made sure she understood what types of projects connected with me to assign them accordingly.
You might consider talking to your boss about this topic, especially if you feel like there's an opportunity for growth in one area but not another.
Again, it isn't easy to say no, but your boss and colleagues will understand when you do it for the right reasons.
They will respect you and your time more.

Final Thoughts

Everyone has a set of rules for success. But there's one magic element that helps you stand out from the crowd: passion.
After going through this process, I found my passion for work. I've shaped my role in that direction and fulfilled my responsibilities in my own style.
And what do you know? After doing all this, I got promoted!
My promotion didn’t come when I overworked myself and spread myself too thin.
It came when I stepped back, slowed down, focused on what I wanted, and found passion in my work.
Comments (3)
PeterJames Mclaughlin
Free lancer here in the philippines, 25
Thanks a lot for this!!! I have been so stressed lately and I think I have been less passionate about my favourite things since the pandemic. This is really helpful, it opened my eyes. Thanks a lot!
Charles Carter
Thank you for share the
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Eric Darnell
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This is a great article! I definitely needed this reminder to take some time for myself and rediscover what I'm passionate about. Thank you! In today's society, it's easy to get bogged down with work and other obligations. It's important to remember to take some time for yourself and do what you love. Here are more five steps to help you rediscover your passion for work: 1. Consider what you enjoyed about your work in the past. What were the aspects of your job that you found most fulfilling? 2. Talk to people who are doing work that you admire. What do they love about their jobs? 3. Make a list of the things you're good at and enjoy doing. What are your strengths? 4. Think about the difference you want to make in the world. What kind of impact do you want to have? 5. Take some time for yourself to reflect on these things. What does your heart tell you? If you take the time to consider these things, you may find that your passion for work is still there. It may just be buried under a layer of frustration or boredom. Once you uncover it, you can start taking steps to pursue it again. Check out my recent article on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/t...