We’ve all heard it before: “Do what you love.” “Follow your passion.” “Find a job that you would do for free.”

Yet “passion” is one of those concepts that is difficult to explain, hard to find and impossible to measure. It’s something that’s unique to each of us, with no one scale to determine it or map to guide us to it

In a world that is evolving so quickly, a good education no longer guarantees work and a job no longer provides stability. We may be losing the structure and simplicity of the past, but we are exchanging it for the freedom to create our own future.

As exciting as this is, we’re not necessarily ready for that responsibility. As much as we embrace freedom, we also seek the comfort of guidance. In order to discover our passion and unlock that freedom, we need some direction and a better understanding of what we are looking for.

What is passion?

Your calling in life may be something you are born knowing, but it may also be something you discover over time. We all know the person who knew back in high school they would be a doctor, teacher or a dentist. They were fortunate enough to discover their calling at a young age and carry it with them going forward. For most of us, that understanding is discovered throughout our life.

Passion is something that will stem from your beliefs, be enhanced by your skills and sustained by the value that you are able to provide.

What you are passionate about will depend largely on the particular time it is in your life. Yes, this means we can breathe easy knowing that there is more than one dream job for us out there!

If you have not found your calling yet, don’t worry. When you do recognize it, it will come at the right time. Never wish you had uncovered it sooner, as the passion you discover today is not what you would have desired a decade ago. The knowledge you have acquired over this time is what will enable you to recognize the right opportunity when it comes your way.

Finally, when searching for your passion, understand that it is not the same as a job title or a company. There is a field of work out there connected to a certain mission that will resonate with your beliefs and align with your unique set of skills.

What are beliefs?

Everything that we experience in life from a young age is what determines our belief system. These beliefs shape how we think, how we approach situations and how we see things in life. For instance, if you grew up with frugal parents who worked to make ends meet, you will have a different approach to your finances and career than someone who had a wealthy upbringing. Your beliefs are created from your past and form your opinions of the world. It is important to pursue something that supports these beliefs but also aligns with your current views.

That said, how exactly can you translate your beliefs into the actual thing you want to do professionally?

Here are 6 steps to discover your passion:

 1. Understand Why You Are Unhappy in the First Place

It is critical to understand what you don’t like about your current job, so you can make the appropriate change in your next role.

There are many factors to consider, such as: your position, your manager, salary, professional development opportunities, schedule, colleagues, the industry, product offering, location, growth potential, company size, the overall direction the company is headed and many more. Once you have pinpointed the source(s) of pain, think through if they have been issues in past jobs.

If any of these are significantly off, they can completely disrupt the experience you have with that job. You may be in the right position, but a bad boss can ruin your perception of it all.

2. Make Something out of the Time in Your Current Job

Learn, learn, learn! Take advantage of this time to advance your skills, try new things and attack any fears you have. If you are in sales, try new pitches; if you are in marketing, present new ideas; if you are a developer, take on a completely different project. You have nothing to lose but a lot to gain as you prepare for your next role.

3. Research

What you learn from the above analysis will determine which direction you want to go in next. Discovering your passion will require some trial and error, but it all starts with high level research. If you are planning on changing industries for example, begin to explore different sectors. If something piques your interest, see if it resonates with your beliefs and who you are. If you love your company but don’t like your current responsibilities, envision how you would fit into the different roles and departments available.

4. Submerse Yourself

When you find a path you want to pursue, kick the research into overdrive. Attend networking events, watch online seminars, connect with contacts who are in that field, job shadow, find ways to volunteer your time for free, ask lots of questions and jump on any opportunity that will get you some exposure. You will never know if this is your passion unless you take risks and dive right in. Take advantage of the free time you have outside of your day job to fully apply yourself.

5. Master a Skill:

Most people are better able to hone in on their passion after they’ve mastered a skill in a particular industry; when you have a high level of competence, it raises your confidence, increases satisfaction and enables you to forge your own path. Mastering a certain skill may be spark you need to get going.

6. Provide Value:

Everyone on this planet has a desire to feel like they matter and have some level of importance. You get this when you provide value to others. When you find a mission that resonates with your beliefs and is supported by your skills, your ability to produce results will only deepen your interest in the field. That will ignite a hunger within you to want to advance your business and share this new found passion with others… who might just turn in to your customers.

Note: You can read the second part of this article, Passion 202, here.

Check out Graham’s strategies at or connect with him on Twitter: @IamGrahamYoung.
Graham is a performance coach who has created a new, science based approach to career and personal development. His Accelerator Programs are designed to produce immediate results and have been featured in TIME, Fast Company and Entrepreneur magazine. Find your passion in life or change any habit holding you back in less than 2 months! See more at


  • […] originally published my article here: Passion 101: How to Discover Your Calling in Life […]

  • Al Alias

    Honestly, this article was a bit disappointing. It seemed to promise precisely the advice I need…and delivered only the portion of that advice that is obvious and that I already knew. The advice given is certainly true, but not particularly useful, and some is completely meaningless. For example, the statement about passion highlighted above in bold text says, “(Passion is)…sustained by the value that you are able to provide.” What the hell does that mean? I appreciate the effort but I didn’t find it very helpful. Thanks anyway.

    • Hi Al,

      Thank you for your comments. You brought up some great points. My goal with this article was to provide a starting point on how to begin discovering your passion. Having limited space to write I thought it would be better to spread the information out in multiple articles instead of trying to condense it all here. There is definitely a lot more ground to cover but I wanted to include these steps to make sure that everyone started off on the right foot. I look forward to diving in deeper in future articles.

      You bring up a great question with regards to sustained value. I believe that it doesn’t matter how much you love doing something or how amazing your skills are at doing it; if you’re not bringing value to others around you, then that passion will eventually wear off and your business will likely fail. Many people working for average performing companies will stick around because they love their job and are getting paid well. But often if the company continues to under perform and the product continues to fall short of customer expectations, those negative factors will start to outweigh the other benefits. It can be difficult to sustain excitement for your profession if you see that your hard work is not providing value or being received well by the customers. The same goes for someone starting their own business, they may love what they are doing, but if no one is purchasing their product, then clearly their perception of value is not aligned with their customers needs.

      Does that answer your question Al? If you have any other questions or requests, then please do let us know as your feedback is incredibly valuable and I will be sure to incorporate it going forward.

      • Hi Graham, that response definitely resonates with me. Often, as creative people we think “If I was rich or won the lottery or whatever, I’d be perfectly happy just painting - say - all day long, for my own enjoyment” but I think unless other people see and appreciate it, you’ll probably soon start to feel that it’s losing its allure. It’ll start to feel a little pointless. I worked hard for a two-bit company that had stingy clients and eventually I did indeed feel, “why am I putting so much effort, heart and soul into my designs when they’re not appreciated?” Doing the work for my boss and his clients was like ‘pearls before swine’.

  • Nichole

    I am at this stage currently in life. I’m 34 and I went from a Coordinator position to HR. I woke up one day and realized after a yr that I was craving something.. I wasn’t happy and I couldn’t figure out why. The people were great.. my salary. Everything was perfect. I realized that it was the position itself. The work I was doing took me out of the realm I was good in. I realized that I needed human interaction, to organize, to coordinate, to plan, and execute. I needed to be in a place where I could share ideas and implement new systems. I had no idea I was such a people person until I found myself in a place that did not have that. I resigned.. without a backup plan because I was just that desperate to get back. It was definitely a leap of faith…. and it has changed me. Changed the way I look at life.. my happiness.

    I love this site. It inspires people to step out and put happiness first. To discover themselves in a way that they could not before. Although your article was not perfect, It was inspiring and helpful. Yes, it’s stuff I already know but I appreciate you taking the time to share. Thank you.

    • Hi Nichole,

      Thank you for your feedback and giving us a bit of background on your own personal experiences. I hope that your leap of faith has turned out to be a great decision! One of the things I tried to focus on in the article was the fact that you won’t know if something is your passion unless you take risks and dive right in. There unfortunately is no easy way to determine what ignites the hunger within each of us, so often it can be trial and error along with some internal analysis. This is often in form of changing to a new position, industry, company etc.

      Your move to HR is so critical in your career development because if you hadn’t of taken that risk, it may have been a while before you recognized that you need that human interaction and ability to execute plans in your role. The move may have been to the ‘wrong’ position, but it also pointed you in the right direction that much sooner as well.
      Feel free to take a peek at my response to the comment above as it may provide some more info you were looking for. Thanks!

  • […] article originally appeared on Live in the […]

  • […] reading this article from Live In The Grey, I figure this would give people some motivation for those who are kind of lost in the void of what […]

  • i live in the UK and accidentally stumbled upon your website from a tweet. I’m absolutely unsure what my next move should be career wise, so am really pleased that your article is reaffirming the things I’ve been thinking about. I’ve developed an interest and passion for plant-based food which is why I started my blog. I’m not culinary trained in any way, and have noticed in the past few months that some small businesses I’ve been in contact with via my blog have excited me - a raw food vegan chef teaching cooking classes (I’m attending a course with her this weekend) and another who started a healthy monthly food subscription box. My day job is in social media which I do love, although the company is far from ideal, but I want to somehow blend both my passions. The companies I love are too small to take on a full timer in social media, and I’d be too scared to ever think about starting my own business, but I yearn to find out what would be a happy medium for me. I’m really hoping your articles can help me figure out what happens next

    • Hi Lottie,

      Thank you for your comment. That’s exciting to hear that you have two things you really enjoy doing in plant based food and social media. Live in the Grey just published part 2 to this article which may provide some more answers to your question. It is titled “Passion 202: How to identify your passion and turn it into a career.” I think you are on the right track to discovering that ultimate dream job. Seeing as the plant based food is a newer interest, I would suggest continuing with your current job as you explore this on the side. Continue meeting new people, attending events, researching and jump into any thing related to it. The more you experience, the more you learn and the more info you have to create your own path. I would spend a couple hours laying everything out that you’ve encountered each week. Reflect on it all, brain storm new ideas and keep all of it top of mind as you continue on with your current job. Basic awareness of what we want in life is how we recognize related opportunities in everything we do. It is like when you see a car for the first time ever, and then all of a sudden start noticing it everywhere you go. The car has always been there, your mind is just aware of it and picks up on it. Discuss this passion with others, get feedback and incorporate it into your brainstorming each week as well. I hope this helps and best of luck!

  • […] Note: You can read the first part of this article, Passion 101, here.  […]

  • Graham… Good for u!
    Your attitude, joy for life, the way you show up …says volumes for what your future will be.
    U R a leader. Never say never, continue seeking…it’s the very belief in the thing that makes it happen. I have a few years on you, and, it’s never anyone’s money that makes them rich… It’s their zest for life… Their very passion …. Keep on keeping on..
    Hugs, Viktoria’s friend Lori

    • Hi Lori, thank you so much for the kind words and for continuing to follow my blog and my work. I very much appreciate it and am happy that you find value in the articles!!

  • Maria


    Thank you for the article!

    Finding our passions is indeed key for living a happy and fulfilling life. It’s all about clarity, without it we feel lost and confused.

    We’re hosting an online workshop to help people find their passions in life. Here is more information:


  • […] Note: You can read the first part of this article, Passion 101, here.  […]

  • […] Live in the Grey originally published the article here […]

  • […] Note: You can read the first part of this article, Passion 101, here.  […]

  • This is really beautiful article. I can’t stop to my self to write a comment to this article. really wonderful article.

  • Connie Cline

    My suggestion does not detract from the value of your article but is nonetheless important, and the suggestion is to use the word “pique” in place of the word “peak” in Step 3: Research.

  • Nice article. When you state when “searching for your passion,” in my experience it’s better to frame this differently for people to truly grasp. Passion itself is an emotion. According to the cognitive appraisal theory, we experience emotions from stimuli; stated differently, experiences. So when people are “searching for their passion,” they are really searching for an experience that brings about a strong feeling (emotion) in relation to that experience. Once they find that feeling from such an experience (or experiences plural), then they can explore those further.

    In any case, nice article, I enjoyed reading. An article I wrote explores this in a slightly different way, more along the lines of using the cognitive appraisal theory as a metaphor. 🙂



  • Olivia

    I really appreciated how grounded this article felt, compared to others on the topic of finding and following your passion.
    After years of being deep in work that matters to me — and still feeling something’s missing — this provided me some helpful, grounded specifics that allow me to do my own personal inventory of the situation.
    Example: your emphasis on researching the things you know about until something really piques your interest, and then requiring that to resonate with your current beliefs and values.
    Thank you!

  • Divetha

    This page really inspires me. You have explained clearly, answering all what, why, how, when and who regarding passion. You make me clear about the the belief system. Oh, my. Thats an amazing article. I am an Malaysian Indian. I am in dilemma on which is reality. I am unemployed after graduation. I am searching and applying jobs like crazy. And my passion is singing. To be frank, I am just a bathroom singer. I have not even sang in events like wedding dinners, birthday parties or cultural events at my university. But, I have a high passion on singing. The only thing I know since small is singing and watching reality singing show and observe the comments and critisms. I do learn there too. I have realized since small that singing is my passion and never have guts to tell my parents or anyone about it. So yes, a singing contest is nearing and Im busy with applying jobs.

    Good job and all the best for your kind efforts by writing articles to educate people.

  • Hi
    Graham Young Excellent post for those who are finding their passion, I have been finding my passion since first job. but i am confused to choose passion. there are lot of opportunities in this world people recommend different business which are best to start ? but what do you suggest to choose great passion?

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