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Finding Your 'Why': How to Ditch Ambivalence for Good and Pursue Your Purpose with Passion

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Wed, 04/15/2020 - 10:55am

Do you feel passionate about your work, your hobbies, and your personal life? Or are you simply going through the motions? If the latter question rings true, you're certainly not alone. Results from a 2017 Deloitte study reveal that just 13 percent of United States employees feel passionate about their jobs. The rest feel ambivalent, or worse, actively dislike their work.
 
Time is precious. Every minute you waste at a less-than-desirable job is a minute that could better be used fulfilling your purpose and making a real difference in your community. If, however, you never clarify what makes you tick and why, you'll continue indefinitely in your unsatisfying lifestyle.
 
You don't necessarily need to exude passion every day, but you do need a career you find fulfilling and meaningful. Finding such a career may seem impossible, but things will quickly fall into place when you determine your 'why.' This involves a deep dive into your unique talents and interests to determine how you can make a difference while actually appreciating your career. Key reasons for making this effort are highlighted below:  

1. Your Work and Your Mental Health Are Closely Linked

You spend a considerable amount of time at work, so it only stands to reason that this environment can have a significant impact on your wellbeing. If you sacrifice long hours to a job you detest, you'll almost certainly compromise your mental health.
 
Depending on the situation and the extent of your dissatisfaction, your feelings about your work could potentially contribute to full-blown anxiety or depression. This is true even of seemingly easy jobs. It ultimately doesn't matter how enviable a particular position is on a societal level; if it doesn't matter to you, it will cause damage. Conversely, a difficult career path can feel well worth the effort if you know why you've selected that track. 

2. You're Better Capable of Serving Others When You Know Why Your Efforts Matter

Many employees desire, above all else, to help others. While this can technically be accomplished in almost any field or position, it's tough to feel like you're making a difference when you feel completely ambivalent about your work. If you determine your underlying sense of purpose, however, you'll feel better capable of taking the steps necessary to serve others in whatever way best utilizes your natural passion and the skills you've worked so hard to obtain. 

3. Knowing 'Why' Grants You Powerful Motivation When Times Get Tough

The cliché 'follow your passion' has been heavily maligned in recent years. While there's no denying the power of passion, blind instructions to pursue it are misguided. Those who place passion on a pedestal fail to recognize the reality of every career: No matter how much you love your field, certain aspects of your job will feel like work. Likewise, no matter how much passion you exude, you will feel discouraged or even bored at times. This doesn't mean that you should immediately abandon an otherwise fulfilling career. Rather, your passion for a certain field should give you the drive needed to push through in times of difficulty.
 
If you struggle to grasp why your career trajectory is worthwhile, you'll be more likely to throw in the towel at a moment's notice. If, however, you've already done the work to establish why your overarching goals matter, you'll remember the broader purpose behind your mission. This, in turn, could help you see the bigger picture and convince you of the momentary nature of your current frustration. 

4. Purpose Precedes Effective Plans

Often, when we feel adrift, our first impulse involves drawing up a detailed plan to get us back on track. Goal-setting can provide powerful motivation, but it's more effective if backed up by a clear sense of purpose. Once you know why you want to pursue a particular career or long-term goal, you'll be better capable of customizing your plan according to your vision and unique needs.
 
Depending on the nature of your why, education could play a huge role in your long-term plan. Whether you attend class online, in person, or on a part- or full-time basis, you'll need to make a major commitment. You'll feel far more confident about pursuing ambitious academic goals if you know why they matter and how they can help you fulfill your personal or professional purpose. 

5. Knowing Why Will Help You Take Pride in Your Accomplishments

A strong work ethic can encourage even extremely unmotivated individuals to persevere in times of trial. Upon achieving success, however, those who lack true passion may feel hollow.
 
No matter how much you deserve praise, it's tough to take pride in major accomplishments if you don't actually feel like they matter. If, however, you know why you worked so hard, you'll look back on your achievements with satisfaction. This feeling will instill a valuable sense of confidence to help you move forward with future pursuits.
 
While there's something to be said for trusting your gut, it's always wise to understand the bigger picture underlying any major life trajectory. Whether you're switching careers, seeking a promotion, or applying to grad school, a sense of purpose could make all the difference. Take the time to determine where, exactly, your passion lies. You'll never regret making the effort to find your 'why.'
 
If you want to pursue an undergraduate degree, graduate credentials, or any of our other degree options, look no further than University of the Cumberlands. With professors who have years of real-world experience in the same field they are teaching, very competitive tuition rates, and a sense of honor in everything they do, why look any further? See what UC can do for you by contacting an admissions counselor for more information