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Work/Life: How to find passion in your work

On this episode of Work/Life, Ciara Pressler, founder and author of Pregame and Game Plan, talks with Greg Nibler about finding passion in the work that you’re doing. She takes a look at the positives and negatives of pursuing passion in our work, and how we can balance those passions into a healthy life.

Pursing a career in something that you’re passionate about is a rather recent phenomenon and a somewhat American one. Many believe that it may not be enough to simply enjoy your work and to work with people they like, and there are sometimes pressures to go after more. “Feeling like you have to feel 100% about everything in your life all the time is a pressure of our culture,” Pressler notes. That’s a feeling easily preyed upon by modern marketing and advertising, “but we have to look at how life really works. You’re not always going to feel 100% about everything. And that’s OK!” Alternatively, some people may have been able to turn a passion into a career, and found it’s possible to not feel so passionate about it anymore. “Sometimes when our passions become our full-time jobs, that passion goes away,” Pressler says.

So how does one address this? First, Pressler says, we have to figure out where passion comes from. “Passion comes from enjoying what you’re doing in the moment and being present. So you don’t have to feel great about something all the time in order to feel moments of passion.” Passion is more like an energizing flow instead of a sustainable emotion. It can come from learning new things or getting better at the things you’re already good at. It can also come from your environment. “Working with people I really enjoy being around creates a feeling of passion about my work because I develop good feelings about my team, which leads to passion,” she says. “You don’t necessarily need to know when you’re looking for work that you’re going to be passionate about it every single day. It’s something you can develop over time in the career you’re choosing, or at the job you have right now.”

If you’re a person that does want to find more passion in their work, Pressler has a few tips. “Experiment. Get curious. Follow that curiosity,” she says. “What do you want to learn more about?” Talk to people who are in positions you’re interested in, on the career path you wonder about, or are going back to school to pursue something else. Find people with experience as tap into that. “It’s also never been easier to start a side hustle,” she says. “You can always try to start a little something on the side to test the waters.”

Lastly, Pressler notes, “passion can be a privilege,” especially in economically uncertain times. Not everyone has the opportunity to pursue their passion, and it’s important to factor in things like salaries, benefits, and the security of a job. After all, Pressler says, “having that security can also give you the freedom to pursue more things you’re passionate about.”

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