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There’s a saying that goes: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” This sounds so promising, but today’s statistics and studies beg to differ. 

In today’s generation, the job that we love often relates to something we are passionate about. It might be writing, visual arts, or even building things. Some may have landed their dream job, but the saying above doesn’t seem to apply anymore. True, they might be happy at the start, but a day will come when they suddenly feel empty, or even lose the fire they once had.

A recent study conducted by Gallup found that out of 7,500 full-time employees, 23 percent of them admitted feeling “burned out at work every often or always,” while 44 percent said that they felt “burned out sometimes.”

Don’t follow your passion. Develop it

While it is true that there are a lot factors contributing to burnout, a Stanford research found out that mantras like “following your passion,” or “find your passion” are actually not good advice. Forbes translated this study saying that “‘finding your passion’ presupposes that interests and passions are fixed, rather than fluid and evolving as we age and gain wisdom and experience.”

The study explains that such a mantra implies that “once an interest resonates, pursuing it will be easy.” The research also shows that individuals who adopt this belief, easily give up their “newfound interest” when “inevitable challenges” come. 

“The idea that passions are found fully formed implies that the number of interests a person has is limited. That can cause people to narrow their focus and neglect other areas,” Stanford says. 

So instead of “finding your passion,” Stanford scholars said, one should DEVELOP it.

Passion vs. Sustainability

This is the same advice empowered women want to share with young professionals. During the recent She Talks Asia Tribe Meet Up, MB Life had an opportunity to talk to some of its speakers– founder of The Purposeful Creative Arriane Serafico, Project Vanity Founder Liz Lanuzo, and Frangipani, managing director Pam Begre, where they shared some practical advice on the realities of “passion”, how developing it would help one to build a sustainable career and avoid feeling burntout.

She Talks Asia speakers Liza Lanuzo, Pam Begre, Arriane Serafico, Max Casaclang with Lynn Pinugu.

Here are their tips:

  • Find your why

Begre laid out the reality that not everyone already knows what they want to be or do in their lives. She even admitted that it took her 15 years of working in different fields before she finally found the job that belonged to. 

“Even if you do different kinds of work, you’ll pick up a lot of experience from different industries, and then you’ll get to apply it to something that you’re meant to be,” she said. 

“Keep an open mind, maybe it’s not yet the one right now, but be open. Always know your why. Maybe not your what, but your why.” 

  • Change your perception about passion

For Lanuzo, she wants people to realise that passion is not just a single thing or a single career one can dwell into. Instead, one can be passionate about different things if one will allow oneself to explore “many other things.” 

“When you think of passion, think of where it intersects with where you’re actually good at. Because where you’re good at, chances are that’s where you gonna succeed the most,” she explained. 

  • Explore different avenues

The Project Vanity founder also said that one might be passionate about something, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that she’s good at it. Given that, Lanuzo encourages exploring different avenues until one finally finds a passion that will provide a secure career path and is sustainable. 

“Like for example you love writing, but you’re not good at it. Maybe you’re better at Human Resources management, that’s an art. Maybe you make money from there,” she said, “Go through all the crafts that comes with pursuing your passion whatever that is. And then eventually, you’ll land into something. Just keep on going. Don’t stop. It only ends when you give up.”

  • Be practical

During the forum, the reality that not all passion is sustainable was also discussed. The question on when one will know the right time to develop another passion and find a more beneficial job was also raised. 

For Begre, only the individual whose in that given situation can answer that question. But when making a decision she reminded that one should be practical, because passion alone can not feed you nor pay bills if it’s not sustainable. 

“You have to be practical about your living expenses. You have to match it with your goals, where you’re at, where your emotions are at,” she said.

“You have to level with yourself also. If the people you want to work with can no longer accept or respect your time, your effort, then, it’s not meant to be. You should move on to the next opportunity. You should look for [a] better opportunity.” 

She Talks Asia founders: Bianca Gonzalez, Lynn Pinugu, Iza Calzado, and Victoria Herrera.
  • Lastly, Evaluate

For design teacher Serafico, evaluating the situation is vital – especially for individuals who are working as creative workers, as the line between personal and professional life are usually blurred in this industry. 

“Sometimes you try to do so much self care that you don’t push yourself, you don’t take new challenges because you’re too scared. But it’s only by putting yourself in the heat that you can figure out what are your limitations. Can I still push? Or do I need to step back?,” she explained. 

“To me, it’s always about trying then you step back. We get burnt out if we don’t take the time to evaluate the things that we take on, and evaluate what we feel about it,” she ended. 

She Talks Asia is a women empowerment movement that builds conferences, networking events and multimedia content.

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