Something awesome happened to me last year–I figured out a way to work related to my passion. I didn’t even know how awesome it was at the time but recently got some perspective on it. A few weeks ago I spoke to a friend whom I hadn’t seen since before that time. I explained where I was professionally right now and he was shocked. The last time we spoke I was…adrift. I had relocated abroad, leaving a career I loved behind. I wasn’t exactly sure how to find professional fulfillment in my new environment. I had lost my focus, my mojo, my spark–Then BAM! Things changed. Since he was looking to reignite his own professional spark, he asked me. I didn’t have a ready answer. How did it happen? Here are some factors:
1. Know your passion
I am really lucky that I have always known my passion: I want libraries to be excellent and for that to happen excellent people have to work in them. For some people it’s not so easy to know exactly what their passion is. How do you begin to discover it? Ask yourself what is important to you– important enough to work for. Then try to narrow down to the most important thing for you. Think about your skills and ways that you have contributed in the past that have given you personal fulfillment.
2. Get some perspective
Once you know your passion it’s important to create the mental space to really consider the “how” of executing this important work. My thinking took place on holiday but it’s not necessary to take a trip. I think getting outside of your normal routine can help with this kind of soul searching but it could just be going for a walk or sitting quietly for a few minutes.
3. Ask, “How can I make my passion work?”
I knew what was important to me, I just didn’t know how to make it work with my life circumstances. I began to wonder how I could engage in meaningful work related to my passion. Even when I was a practicing librarian I was occasionally retained as a consultant and always dreamed of making that my full time job. Now I had the opportunity to do just that. I asked myself, “what would have to be in place for me to be successful?” and thought about what was already in place that would allow me to do this important work. I thought about what I wanted to do and how I could get there.
For me in order to create the professional fulfillment I want I had to do a few things. I knew I had to stick with the target audience I know–North American research libraries. That means I would have to accept zone differences and some degree of professional travel, even with a young child. Once I got myself OK with that, I thought about what I needed to do to start working at my passion. For me the answer was to make time. Rather than thinking about work as something I slotted in when I had the time I decided to make the time. By dedicating actual work hours I created a business plan. I wrote a social media strategy. I look for new prospects and leads. I use the precious commodity of time to pursue my passion. I read. I blog. I have ideas for new services I can provide to help libraries and librarians be excellent.
Have you found a way to make your passion work? I’d love to hear about it.
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