Finding Your Passions

By Kalsey Larson

Lesson Plan Guide

Group of people smilingImagine never having to work a day in your life. Sounds pretty good, right? Unfortunately, it’s not likely you can survive without any type of career. But what if you felt so passionately about your job that you never felt as though you were working?

In order to wake up every day feeling excited about what lies ahead, you first must wake up to your passions.

“Go explore a few things,” said Tom Nelson, who found his passion on the journey to owning his own business, Shield Technologies. “It’s unrealistic for a 15-, 18-, 20- or even 22-year-old to know where that passion is. You might have some idea, but until you experience the world, you can’t be sure.”

Not about the money
Nelson graduated from college, earned his master’s degree and began working at a Fortune 500 company. He was quickly moving through the ranks and showed great potential to be successful there, but after 13 years of employment he became frustrated and yearned to make a bigger impact and enjoy his day-to-day life more.

“You are in control of your own destiny,” Nelson said. “If you’re doing something for money or prestige, it’s probably not your passion. Sometimes people believe their passion is there because the rewards are there, but more times than not passion has nothing to do with money.”

After leaving the Fortune 500 company, Nelson bought a business - it failed. He then started a business - it, too, failed. They say third time’s the charm and, for Nelson, that was the case. His company is now four years old and is a successful and enjoyable endeavor for him. He advises students to be unafraid of failure because you don’t learn anything from success.

Many adults can provide insight to aid you while you search for your passions. Find a mentor, ask questions of people who are in careers you might be interested in and listen to stories that people share about their journey to finding their passions.

Interests can be careers
“I always knew that art was my passion,” Anastasia Balfany, of Lakeville, Minn., said. “But it took me a while to discover I could pursue it as a career and not just as an interest.”

Balfany is now an artist and illustrator who said she has been blessed with the opportunities that life has presented her. She began looking at art and design colleges, but was receiving backlash from friends and family.

“When it came time to make a decision, I knew that even if I did fail, I would rather try to pursue my passion for art than look back with regret and wonder,” she said.

Balfany attended the Rhode Island School of Design. She says that at a few rough times she was concerned that she might not have made the right choice, but she now knows that her life would feel purposeless if she weren’t able to work with her passion every day. As you think about what your passions may be, keep a positive attitude. Take unique classes. Strike up conversations with different people and, if a friend invites you to an event you know nothing about, don’t hesitate to go.

Most importantly, get involved. Experiences can lead to a better understanding of who you are and what you enjoy. By keeping an open mind, seizing opportunities and living fearlessly, you’ll discover where your true passion lies.


About the Author

Kalsey Larson