Finding your professional passion: Nature or nurture?
How do you know when you’ve found your professional passion? It might be something that strikes like a thunderbolt from the sky, or perhaps it is something you have to search for years to discover. Or you might be one of those lucky people who knew what they wanted to do from early childhood and everything has fallen perfectly into place? Is it nature or nurture that creates the next Amy Johnson, John Lennon, Marie Curie, or Steve Jobs?
When I grow up…
So who are the lucky people who have known since childhood what they wanted to do? It is perhaps easier for a child to decide they want to be a doctor or a lawyer or a chef as these are more tangible concepts to grasp than a quantity surveyor or a human resources consultant. Yet we still need quantity surveyors and human resources consultants, amongst the plethora of other vocations on the planet.
Detours on the journey to self-discovery
For some people it takes a few detours on the journey to discover what it is they are meant to do with their lives. Indeed Steve Jobs famously dropped out of college course, only to end up taking a course in typography that fed his passion for design and aesthetics, which ultimately became one of the foundations of his success with Apple.
Anna Vital of Funders and Founders points out that Martha Stewart had done no home decorating until age 35, Vera Wang didn’t pursue a career in fashion until she was 39 and LinkedIn founder, Reid Hoffman, had never founded a company until he was in his thirties. Not bad for a late starter when you consider that LinkedIn now has 300 million users.
JK Rowling spent years as a single parent writing in the coffee shops of Edinburgh before her literary ship came in and she hit the big time in 1997. (She had previously been advised by her publisher to get a day job, since he said she had little chance of making money in children’s books…)
A life without purpose; a life half lived?
Indeed does finding your professional passion matter anyway? For some people, the notion of steady job and stable income is enough. For some though, a life without purpose is a life half lived.
It is said that we all look for more purpose as we get older. So many women (and also men) become entrepreneurs out of the frustration of being a cog in a corporate wheel as they feel the need to break free and create something that is their own to make their mark on the world.
If your dream job doesn’t exist, why not create it for yourself?
CIPD research indicates that, “impressive female talent is leaking from big corporations and triggering the emergence of new business vital to stimulating economic growth in the UK.” It states that motivators for female entrepreneurs are diverse, but typically include; “entrepreneurial spirit, ambition and passion, the desire for autonomy, the turn-off of corporate politics, the need for work-life balance and flexibility…”
This need for flexibility and empowerment in your career can be triggered by motherhood, but sometimes it’s because of a need to trust your own abilities and create something you wish existed. Even the largest corporations began with an idea.
What better way to rewrite your CV and show the world what you’re really capable of than by coming up an idea and running with it? No need to worry about battling to get recruiters to notice you in order to climb the corporate ladder when the easiest way to become the boss is to make yourself the boss. Yes, it’s hard work, but the rewards are infinite.
And going back to notions of childhood ambition, just because a particular path wasn’t within your frame of reference, didn’t mean it wasn’t right for you. It just meant you weren’t aware it would become part of your journey. It’s the same when you create something of your own.
Not time to throw in the corporate towel yet
So it’s not to say that women should all immediately hand in their notices and start planning their Dragon’s Den pitches. For many, the corporate path is still the right one, but it’s a case of making your job work for you.
There are many ways you can change elements of your job or daily routine to make space for the personal development and sense of satisfaction you crave, but part of finding these means thinking differently.
Balancing it all and keeping the plates spinning
Even when you’ve found your professional passion, how do you make sure it doesn’t take over your life burn you out? Even something as worthy as having a calling carries risk. Whether you’re working for love or money, it’s important to be able to strike a balance.
Would you like to know more about finding your professional passion and working out how to fit this into your life?
We’re very excited to announce our first Womanthology meet-up that is taking place in London on Friday 10th October as part of Brite Space London – a series of interactive events designed to champion creative culture in the capital. And it’s free.
Join me and our panel of experts to learn more about strategies to find your professional passion and make it work for you:
Doing It Your Way: How to improve your work / life balance and find your professional passion
08.30 – Arrivals: coffee, networking
08.45 – Panel session starts
09.30 – Panel ends, more coffee and networking
Oliver Black is one of the UK’s better known childcare entrepreneurs and the founder of My Family Care. They work with and provide a suite of services to some of the most forward thinking employers, who recognise that family friendly working practices are not simply an employee benefit. They represent the most commercially sound way of harnessing the potential of a generation of talented people whose working lives need to dovetail with many other roles and responsibilities.
Nimita Shah is an organisational psychologist with over 10 years’ experience across public and private sectors, specialising in leadership development, assessment and coaching. Nimita also works with clients in an individual coaching capacity, in particular helping people to identify and develop careers with purpose and meaning. She is a member of the British Psychological Society as well as a member of the Division of Occupational Psychologists and Coaching Psychologists.
Sitara Warren has more than a decade’s experience working in the City of London. In August 2012, she set up her own health and wellness company specialising in premium skincare. She has subsequently established a social media channel to champion new City eateries in London. She is a regular speaker at women’s networking events in the capital and has recently become a guest blogger for Escape The City.
We hope you can join us. You can book by clicking here.