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If you can’t find your passion, go back to your childhood and find it!

Written by Debra Olshan Cooper,
President and Founder of Your Career Design lab

As a child, growing up, my father would often prophesize ”Debra find your passion and something you love, get really good at it and the money will come.” 

When he would try to explain this to me I didn’t quite grasp what the hell he was even talking about. 

What does passion even look like? ” I wondered.

Passion for Sofia was finding out, three months before she graduated from Syracuse University, that she wanted to be in music. The problem was, Sofia has never taken on class in music, she was not on the music paper or magazine.

We got to work.

Together, we unveiled a powerful memory. Sofia remembered, at 8 years old, how her father would take her to concerts as he owned a shipping company for artists on the road. There she sat atop one of the large roadie-type cargo that held guitars and there, her father took the guitar out and handed it to Paul McCartney. It was in that moment, that Sofia realized that music was a business.

Sofia and I started working on how to sell this story to connect with people in the industry. Not surprisingly, Sofia landed her dream career at a music publishing company in Los Angeles thriving by following her passion for music.

Since high school, Brooke knew she wanted to be an Ophthalmologist. Every summer she would shadow an eye doctor and would feel like she was going through the motions. Then one day while taking her Ophthalmology exam she experienced a panic attack and walked out of the exam.

Upon further examination, she realized that she LOVED fashion. She wanted to be a fashion influencer and work in the fashion industry. Having had no experience and only her passion for the profession, we fashioned a resume and story around her love of fashion and various aspects where she pursued her passion for fashion. Within two weeks, we found her a career in fashion as a buyer and stylist for an upscale retail establishment and showroom. 

Brandon graduated from Buffalo University in healthcare. His dream was to work at the top-rated hospital in New York City, Memorial Sloan Kettering. He had interviewed there the previous year but was rejected. When we found his story about his mom having breast cancer and he saw as a young child the care his mom received there with the doctors and nurses we crafted a story that was authentic and he landed two interviews and landed his dream career there. 

What is like to turn your passion into profit.

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget the way you made them feel”

Maya Angelou

Here is what Sofia, Brooke, and Brandon understood about following their passion:

  1. Be authentic in how you convey your dream career.
  2. Find your passion and craft, tell and sell your story to potential employers or companies.
  3. Drop the story in your body so when you are talking you are not in your head.
  4. Make interviewing a conversation you are having with someone you really like or want to get to know and you want them to get to know you.

Why you don’t know your passion and where to start.

We are passionate beings by nature. Not knowing your passion is ultimately a problem of not knowing yourself enough. Because of our life experiences, we have limiting beliefs about ourselves. 

Around middle school, our passions pivot into pursuits for outward gain. It is no longer acceptable to be alone with our passion pursuits. Our personal passions turn into activities that are pursued because of our parents, our teachers, or clubs and other obligations that turned into reasons outside of ourselves. 

It may have been to get into a prep school or a great college. It may have been to put internships on our resume. It may have been because that job paid a lot of money. For whatever reason, many of us have pursued things that may have provided us with security, great cocktail talk, bragging rights but did it bring you happiness.

How to know your passions?

Passion is within you. You just forgot. To find passion, you need to go back to who you were as a kid.  

What was the moment in our childhood that sparked our joy and happiness? Where moments ticked by without looking at the clock until your mom called for dinner?

Passion is the moments in your life where you were one with yourself and your instinct to pursue an activity that became lost in time. 

Go ahead and download my TA-DA! List, an insightful tool I created to help you brainstorm about your passion and you inherit talents. 

As you go on this journey, you will wonder things like: 

  • I can’t change career paths now, It’s too late.  
  • What I’m really passionate about won’t pay the bills. 
  • That’s too disruptive, I don’t want to lose who I am.
  • What will my parents say?

Don’t worry about that for now. Trust the journey. There are many ways in which you can live your passion. But the first thing is to get out of the automatic pilot and put intentionality in your life. 

By going back we can access our true calling, the one that filled us up. 

Find your passion with our "Ta-Da" List

Excavate who you are, find your passion and discover your pursuits with my “Ta Da” List - Free to download. 

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