“Do what you love and the rest will follow,” is a well-known adage—and there’s a reason that it’s something many people live by!

Passion is contagious—and it makes us come alive! Following your passions and turning them into a viable business or pursuit can help to drastically increase your day-to-day happiness, helping you to feel more connected to your work, and motivated to keep on when the going gets tough.

Unfortunately, though, passion isn’t the only ingredient that’s needed to guarantee success. You also need skills and strengths—those things that you’re good at, either naturally or by training and experience. If you’re able to combine your strengths and your passion, you’ll have a winning combination that will give you the drive that you need to succeed—and you’ll feel fulfilled and happy while doing it.

Oftentimes, though, we end up in jobs that we’re not passionate about, doing things that we don’t enjoy. Maybe you’ve found yourself in this position—you’ve spent a lot of time cultivating a certain skill, only to find out in the end that it wasn’t your true passion all along.

If this sounds familiar, don’t feel discouraged! It doesn’t mean that you have to accept things the way they are now; or that you’ll have to spend the rest of your life stuck in a job that you hate. Instead, it could mean that it’s time to make a change—to look for a creative way to do what you love, while at the same time, embracing your skills and looking to develop new ones.

Here’s how you can balance your strengths and passions, allowing them to work together to contribute to your success.

Identify Your Strengths

The first step is to identify your strengths. Start my making a list—jotting down all of your strengths, things that you’ve learned and developed as a result of education, training, and experience. Try to think of as many as you can! For example, maybe you’ve learned a lot about accounting, design, or business management through starting your own business. No matter what skills they are, or how irrelevant they may seem—write them down! If you feel stuck with identifying your strengths, check out the book StrengthsFinder 2.0—a helpful guide for identifying your talents and skills.

Redesign Your Job

Once you’ve pinpointed your strengths, it’s time to recreate your job description. What does your ideal role look like? What are you doing in your dream job? Once you’ve identified this, you’ll be able to make some changes that will allow you to pursue a role that’s more in line with your passion. For some, these changes may be small. Maybe you’ll even find that you can make small changes in the way that you work or how you spend your time to redesign your role—allowing you to better play to your strengths. In many cases, though, our jobs are rigid—and our workloads, inflexible. If this is the case, you’ll want to consider whether a more drastic life change may be in order.

Look for Skills That Overlap

When recreating your job description, you’ll want to look for skills that can overlap, and be used to further your passion. For example, maybe you’re artistic—and love to draw and paint. Could you use this skill in your ideal role as a designer, using your artistic flare to create websites that come to life? Maybe you’re a skilled gardener—you could use your knowledge of plants to teach others how to create their own gardens or landscape. No matter what your ideal role, chances are you have some skills that you could apply to this new area. Everything else can be learned!

Test It Out

Is your passion something other than what you’re currently doing? It’s never too late to merge your passions and strengths, and follow your dreams. Just because you’ve spent a significant amount of time working as an accountant, for example, doesn’t mean that you can’t pursue your dream of being an interior designer. If you know what your passion is, but aren’t sure where to begin—consider starting small. Set aside time to pursue your passion as a side business or hobby. Test it out to see if it’s something that you’ll enjoy doing full-time, or if it’s better kept as a side pursuit. Maybe you’ll find that there’s something else you’d rather do instead. You won’t know until you try! So don’t be afraid to test the waters, and get your hands dirty. Gaining experience—by volunteering, interning, or researching everything that you can about the type of work that you’d like to get into will help to give you realistic expectations. It will also enable you to create a plan, complete with small, actionable steps that you can take to make your dreams a reality. Get started by adding your first steps to your schedule and to-do list in your Day Designer—an intuitive planning system for goals, focus, and living with intention.

There’s a reason that you’re drawn to your passions! You’re meant to do what you love; what you deeply desire to do. Whatever your passion is—try not to silence it. Instead, embrace it and let it guide you.

What’s your passion?

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