It was 2013 and I had just accepted a job offer with a University in my home state receiving a great starting salary for just graduating from my Master’s program. I was overjoyed. Some of my fellow graduates had not even found a job by the time graduation had arrived. I was nervous, but very excited and proud. I felt accomplished. I felt successful. I felt as if I had climbed up to a landing that would lead me to more of the same kind of feelings.
Fast forward three years, I am with the same employer, performing at a high level, feeling valued and highly regarded within my work environment. On paper, I remain accomplished and successful in life, and I am proud of where I am. In short, not much has changed; except it has.
While what I am doing with my life looks great on paper, I do not feel fully accomplished or successful in all areas of my life. Not because what I am doing carries no value; it certainly does. But rather, because I am not passionate about all areas of my life. Over the years, I have come to realize that few feelings last forever, such as excitement, motivation and enthusiasm. Those feelings eventually fade out; that is, if they are not accompanied by passion.
So here I am, three years later, doing the things that many deem “successful.” But at the same time, I am feeling more unsatisfied with work than I ever have in my life. But wait, there’s more. The kicker is that I don’t know where to turn next. I know that I want to swap out my current “success” for something I am passionate about. The problem is, I don’t know what my passion is at this point in my life.
We have all been passionate about something in our life. It may be a sport or a hobby, or something we were involved in at one point. We all know the feeling of passion, and just how deeply it runs through our veins. And once you experience passion, you do not forget it. In fact, you want that feeling to spread to all aspects of your life. I can say that I am beyond satisfied in most areas of my life. I am certainly passionate about the people I love and hold close; especially one specific person. But that just fuels the desire to pursue passion everywhere in life.
It seems like so many people know what their passion is, what it is they want to jump towards and pursue. But I am finding myself in a unique situation where I know that I want to jump, but I don’t know where to jump, or what to jump for.
So you might be thinking “If you don’t know what you are passionate about, how do you know you want to pursue your passion?” Fair question. But I have had a taste of passion before and, as I mentioned, I am happy with my life now. But a void remains. Furthermore, we certainly know when we are not passionate about something. And when you are not passionate about something, it doesn’t take long for motivation, enthusiasm and optimism to begin declining. Soon thereafter, you are not only unmotivated, but you are also dissatisfied. That is a feeling that is almost palpable.
I have heard so many anecdotes about people pursuing their passion, taking that leap, jumping off the cliff and eventually soaring through the air. So many of those stories inspire others leave fear behind and make the same jump in an effort to turn passion into reality. But I almost feel backwards. I am ready to jump with no idea where I am jumping, or what I am jumping towards. In essence, I feel like I would be jumping in the dark with an unknown destination. So instead, I sit here and hope that someday the sun will rise and I will see my landing spot waiting for me.
Considering my journey, I am wondering if anyone has struggled with the question of “where to jump,” rather than when? What inspired you to overcome that struggle, and what helped you to find your passion?
When to Jump is a curated community featuring the ideas and stories of people who have made the decision to leave something comfortable and chase a passion. You can follow When to Jump on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and learn more about the Jump Curve framework here. For more stories like this one, sign up for the When to Jump newsletter here.
When to Jump™ is a community dedicated to exploring the fundamental question we all think about: when is the right time to go do what you really want to be doing?