Steve Jobs once said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do.” But how do you get yourself there? How do you find what makes you want to wake up every morning and get out of bed? How do you find that job that you love so much that it doesn’t feel like work?
These are the questions that we all ask ourselves from early on in our lives. We go to school and study subjects we thought we’d love, which we wind up hating. We land what we think may be a dream job for us, only to find ourselves struggling to stay motivated, and we end up living our lives in careers that we aren’t passionate because we accept settling.
Lee Dares is the founder of Lee’s Provisions, a maker of artisan organic foods that is best known for their signature product line, Lee’s Ghee. Lee started her business only two years ago, after being inspired by friends who had food businesses in New York. From there, she went on to work on organic farms, and as a cook in a vegetarian restaurant, and the entrepreneurial seed was planted not long after that. From these experiences, she realized that she loved working with food and wanted to start her own organic food business.
But it wasn’t always sunshine and rainbows on her path to determining her passion, prior to discovering her love for organic food, Lee was a professional fashion model. At 14, she signed with a Toronto modeling agency and within a month she was booked for a worldwide campaign and it was a whirlwind after that. Most high school students could only dream about traveling to places like New York, Milan, Paris, and Tokyo for photo shoots and fashion shows, but after six years, Lee was over it. “I decided it wasn’t nourishing me anymore,” she shared. “I gave up the parties, free clothes, fancy dinners, and even let go of some friends in order to find out what else was out there for me.”
Here are some helpful steps that helped Lee find her passion and get her to where she is today, in a career, running a business she loves.
Step 1: Acknowledging its time to move on
This is an important step in discovering your passion, and usually the hardest one. Taking that leap to jump out of what isn’t satisfying to allow you to find what will satisfy you. Yes, this is easier said than done, but the sooner you leave a situation or job that is causing more negative in your life than positive, the sooner you’ll feel forced to keep searching for what’s next.
Step 2: Take time to reflect
When Lee realized she needed to leave the fashion industry, in a desperate attempt to find balance in her life, she went on a 10-day meditation retreat. “It sounds a bit cliché, but meditation brought me to the realization that I had to end certain relationships and habits that were no longer serving me if I wanted to find happiness,” she explained.
Take the time to take a hard look at what in your life is causing unhappiness, and what things in your life now (and previously) made you happy. Make a list of these things, and determine what you need to leave behind in your life, and what you need to re-adopt or try.
Step 3: Try new things
Don’t be afraid to try new things. If you reflect on your life and realize that there’s nothing that lights that fire in you, that doesn’t mean you should just give up and settle. Be open to new experiences, because this will help you get closer to realizing what you love. “Any time you don’t love something, be grateful for what it taught you and then move on,” Lee said. “Treat every setback as an opportunity for something better which will inevitably come along.”
Finding your passion can be a lifelong journey. For some lucky people, they find it when they’re young, but for others, it may take longer. But the most important thing is to not settle. Although settling may be the easiest route, it’s not going to be what makes you the happiest. Take time to reflect, try new things, take risks and eventually you’ll find yourself in something that makes you not want to do anything else.
For Lee, she knew she finally found her passion in organic food when she became uninterested in looking back. “Things began to flow effortlessly,” she said. “You always know deep down when something is right, it’s just a matter of trusting yourself and following through.”
About the Author
Lauren Marinigh is a Toronto-based online marketing and content development professional, who is completely addicted to traveling, puppies, and GIFs.