17 Sep 2019

How to find your passion and build a career around it

By Sean BreenDirector & Chief Biscuit Dunker

So much of our time is spent doing something we hate, regularly. Imagine getting to do what you love as your job, all day, every day.

• You would never have a hard time getting the work done

• You wouldn’t be procrastinating – scrolling on your Instagram or Facebook news feed would be a distant memory

• You wouldn’t feel trapped in a job that doesn’t inspire you

• Monday mornings would actually be your favourite day of the week! Imagine?

It may sound far-fetched now, but this could be your reality. If you really want it.

Today we will discuss some quick ways to discover where your passion lies and how to begin building your career around the thing you love.

Hating your job: Where it all begins

I went into my final year of secondary school and I never questioned the ‘right path’ that everyone should take – go to college, get your degree and sail into the sunset.

I never doubted the magic formulae my career-guidance teacher laid out for me. I put my destiny in the hands of a system that didn’t know who I really was. Because at 17, I didn’t even know who I really was!

Without analysing your own life to discover your passion you can end up enrolling in a college course that you don’t really like, which leads to a career that you really don’t like.

The same can be said if you went straight into a job after finishing school rather than going to college. You may be currently in a job that serves one purpose – paying the bills.

Matrix Recruitment completed a survey with recent graduates titled Education Vs Experience: Which is more important?’ The survey uncovered some pretty astounding findings:

• 49% regret third level course choice

• 54% want to return to college

• 73% didn’t think their course sufficiently prepared them for the working world

• 46% of Ireland’s graduates are in jobs unrelated to their education/qualification according to new research.

Like so many others I tried to leave my college course within the first month; my first job was in recruitment when I actually studied E-Commerce. I started my first job for money and convenience.

So how do you avoid choosing the wrong career path or working in a job you hate?

Find out what you love!

‘Find a job you love and you’ll never have to work a day in your life again.'

Sick of hearing that quote? You and everyone else. But there is some truth in it.

If you say to yourself ‘I don’t know what I want to do with my life’, you’re certainly not alone.

The solution is to find what it is that you love. Then build your career around it.

How do I find out what I really love?

But I don’t know what I love? Yes you do! You just need to do some digging. Here’s where to start.

1) Questions to ask…. you

• What do you do when you have spare time?

• What do you want to be better at?

• Who inspires you? Why do they inspire you?

• What would you spend your time doing if you didn’t have to work?

2) Audit your life

By breaking down your current behaviour, actions and patterns it will uncover where your curiosity and passion lies.

You are leaving clues behind every day about what you love – so go find them!

• Review your YouTube history and search history on Google

• Review your internet browser bookmarks

• Review your bank statements and see where your money is going every month

• Speak to your friend’s, parents, family members or partner and ask them what you are always talking about?

3) Go back to your childhood


It’s time to take a stroll down memory lane.

What did you love doing as a child before life got in the way? Make a list of all the activities and hobbies you can remember doing when you were younger. Think of happy times in your childhood too.

When we’re you full of joy as a child?

Was there any activity that you were talented at?

4) Complete the Myers–Briggs Type Indicator test

The Myers-Briggs test will help identify your personality preferences. The test will detail the following for you:


Do you prefer to deal with?

• People and things (Extroversion) or ideas and information (Introversion)

• Facts and reality (Sensing) or possibilities and potential (Intuition)

• Logic and truth (Thinking) or values and relationships (Feeling)

• A lifestyle that is well-structured (Judgment) or one that goes with the flow (Perception)


Once you have your results you can then research career paths that are unique to your own personality traits.


5) Broaden your horizons and try new things


A big part of not knowing what you love is a lack of exploration and life experience. Try stepping out of your comfort zone and try new things.

Take a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class, sign up for a yoga course, volunteer within your community, take a dance class, attend an open mic or visit an improv club.

The whole idea here is to dip your toes into as many fields as you can and through the process of exploration you will be closer to finding the thing you love.


How do I turn what I love into a career?


1) Turning problems into solutions

People want solutions to problems and lucky for you there are problems everywhere.

Review the industry or niche that you absolutely love and start brainstorming ideas.

What are the biggest problems people are facing within this industry?

What does your audience want that they’re not currently getting?

If it’s what you love, then get your hands dirty. Talk to people and influencers within the industry.


Connect in with them on LinkedIn or Facebook, have a look on Eventbrite and see if there are any events coming up where you can engage with thought leaders. Ask questions, listen, gather feedback and start plotting.

2) Become an expert in your field


Knowing everything there is to know about the industry you’re passionate for will open up so many opportunities.

The more you learn, the more you will understand the needs of people within your niche, allowing you to provide the perfect solution for them.


If breaking into your chosen industry requires a specific qualification but you didn’t get enough points in the Leaving Certificate, you can always repeat.


We put all our eggs in one basket with the Leaving Certificate. If we don’t hit our point’s target on the first attempt, we compromise and take our second or third choice, rather than the course we actually want to pursue.

This is insanity! Your entire life is changed forever from this decision of ‘settling’ for second best.


If you need some inspiration to repeat your Leaving Certificate then I urge you to read the story of Thomas O’ Rourke.

Thomas dreamt of being a pilot since his childhood but didn’t achieve the required points in the Leaving Certificate to pursue his passion. So Thomas decided to repeat his Leaving Certificate at the age of 25.

Through a tremendous amount of hard work, discipline and determination, Thomas achieved his lifelong goal this year of becoming a pilot for Aer Lingus.

“If I hadn't made the decision to repeat the Leaving Certificate at the age of 25 I'd be in a very different position. If you want something, keep going, you'll get there!”
Thomas O'Rourke
- First Officer at Aer Lingus

Listen to Thomas’s full story on The Ryan Donnelly Podcast.


3) Build slowly and patiently

By no means am I encouraging you to quit your 9 – 5 or drop out of college and start raising a farm of micro pigs.

You must play the long game and be patient if you want to build your life around your passion. To do this you must break your plan down to the most actionable steps imaginable. Set the bar so low that you cannot fail.

So how much time can you commit to working on your passion each day while working or studying full time? I know you can do 20 minutes a day, every day.

20 minutes a day. That’s 10 hours a month. That’s 120 hours in a year. You can get a shit load of work done with a productive 120 hours.


4) Crafting your own path


If there isn’t a defined path to turning your passion into a career then you have to design it.


Nothing is off the cards here.


There are two sisters named Danielle and Alison who are die-hard Harry Potter fans. They created the ‘Weird Sisters Harry Potter Reread Podcast’ where they reread all of the Harry Potter books and discuss how special J.K. Rowling’s' fictional world is. The podcast has a 4.7 star rating on iTunes!


So whatever limiting beliefs you have about making money with the thing you love, throw them out the window because there are thousands of others who also love what you love. Your market is out there, so go give them what they want!

Going the alternative route

The Leaving Certificate or college route is not the only way to build your empire. Everything you need to know about a given topic can be found online.

Couple this with the fact that you can set up a website on WordPress for less than €100. This will give you a platform to sell products, post to a blog and build an online presence around your passion.


Posting your thoughts and ideas on social media is an excellent starting point on your journey of building your life around what you love.


5) Stop caring about the opinions of others


We play this tape in our minds over and over that we’re not good enough.


You are good enough.

Stop with the limiting beliefs that you tell yourself and stand guard at the door of your mind.

Whatever negative statement you affirm to yourself, choose the opposite. Every time you become aware of the negative chatter, focus on a positive affirmation. 'I feel like crap' becomes 'Everyday in every way I am getting better and better.'


It's also important to remember that people are normally thinking about themselves and not you. So focus only on the things that you can control.

Be present rather than living in the past or in the future and know that an extraordinary life is waiting for you on the other side of fear.


A life of passion maximises your potential of success

Relying purely on hard work, grit and discipline will lead to burn out and feelings of despair. The sum of your human will can only take you so far.

We often wonder how the top performers in their fields achieve such incredible feats.


They’re doing what the love.


The amazing results or financial success comes as a by-product of doing what you love.


Those who achieve massive success within their industry are the people who have enormous passion and enthusiasm for what they do every day. Finding your passion puts the odds in your favour of achieving massive success.

Final thoughts


Have a think about what you love.

The thing distracting you from what you love is likely to be something you dislike doing. So make a plan to design the life that you want to live.

Take your time and with patience and relentless consistency, you can have whatever it is that you want.

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