Date posted: 18/03/2021

How to align your passion with your work

They say that if you love what you do you’ll never work a day in your life. But how do you forge a career path that prioritises your passions, purpose and goals, not just your skills and knowledge?

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The 2019 Workforce Purpose Index - the world's largest study on purpose and fulfilment at work - found that of 1,038 full-time U.S. workers, only 28% engage a 'purpose mindset'. However, of those who do, 52% are more likely to report feeling 'fulfilled'.

In other words, if you see your work as a source of meaning in your life, you are more likely to feel content in your job.1

The Chartered Accountants ANZ's thought leadership paper, The 21st Century Profession also revealed that 84% of the general public and 94% of Chartered Accountant survey respondents, believe professions need a purpose beyond profit - a reason for existing and making a difference to society, beyond making money.

By extension, professionals can achieve a personal sense of purpose by contributing positively to business, economies and societies through their work.

So, in this context, how do you go about aligning your individual passions and sense of purpose in life with your professional career?

"A passion is something that energises you, something that aligns with your beliefs and your values, and possibly also your strengths. A passion could be something that you'd be willing to invest time into, even if you weren't being paid," says Danielle Duell, CEO and Founder of People with Purpose - a purpose-led consulting firm that specialises in helping businesses and their leaders become more resilient and impactful.

Danielle says short-term financial ambitions, constraints and fears are a key reason why people choose not to follow their purpose. This is closely followed by the pressure, expectations or judgement of those close to them.

"I've observed a lot of people pursuing a path that they think will give them the most financial reward right now, and then hoping to do something that aligns better with the things they enjoy and the things they're passionate about later in life. But, people in the later part of their career often continue to feel inhibited from truly following their purpose and passions because of the financial commitments they've become shackled to," says Danielle.

Danielle Duell, CEO and Founder of People with Purpose
Danielle Duell, CEO and Founder of People with Purpose

According to the 2019 Workforce Purpose Index, there's only a 2% chance you will report feeling fulfilled if you don't feel like you're making an impact through work that matters to you.

This can be a hard fact to come to terms with given Danielle says it's common for people to struggle with being self-aware of their interests and what they're really passionate about.

"Marrying your work to what you love and what gives you a reason for being enables you to be the best version of yourself. It gives you energy, it creates personal alignment and consistency in all parts of your life. It also enables you to bring the best version of yourself home at the end of the day, which has a multiplier effect on your family, and a reciprocal effect as well,"
says Danielle Duell, CEO and Founder of People with Purpose.

"In my experience, I find it's generally easier for people to talk about what they don't like about their current situation, job, company or industry rather than clearly articulating what they would rather be doing with their talents and their time," says Danielle.

"One of the biggest problems people face in identifying their passions is simply creating the time and mental space to do so. It requires a deliberate intent. The Clifton Strengths tests and VIA Character Strengths tests are great tools built on excellent research that we commonly recommend as part of our Purposeful Career Planning workshops and coaching to help people identify their values, purpose and goals and how they can bring that to life through their work."

Danielle's advice to people who might be anxious about 'going after their dreams' by exploring a career that aligns with their passions and sense of purpose, is to ask themselves three questions (and to remember that exploration does not have to equal pursuit):

1. What's stopping you from pursuing a more purposeful career path?

2. What could happen if you explore a career that aligns with your passions and purpose?

3. What could happen if you don't?

"Marrying your work to what you love and what gives you a reason for being enables you to be the best version of yourself. It gives you energy, it creates personal alignment and consistency in all parts of your life. It also enables you to bring the best version of yourself home at the end of the day, which has a multiplier effect on your family, and a reciprocal effect as well," says Danielle.

Sources:
1. https://www.2019wpi.com/

Chartered Accountant stories

At CA ANZ, we encourage our members to align their accounting profession with an authentic sense of purpose, which empowers them to make a difference to businesses and societies, and enjoy longevity in their careers. To learn more about the difference Chartered Accountants make, check out these stories.

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