There’s this idea that you should ‘find your passion’ in order to be truly successful in life – but unfortunately in the real world, this is rarely the case. A lot of people don’t end up working in jobs where their every moment is filled with excitement. Unfortunately, a career that pays the bills is often more practical than following a dream.
So where does this leave parents? You want your child to feel fulfilled as they become young adults and enter the workforce. But you also don’t want to see them struggling financially or unable to find work.
Nurture their passion, develop their purpose
You can start by changing your perspective on what ‘passion’ really is. It’s not something ‘out there’ that needs to be discovered in a Eureka moment. Passion is a combination of skills and interest, and it’s something that should be nurtured and developed rather than found.
Speak to your teen about what gives their life meaning, the things that make them feel excited and ‘alive’. Just about any passion can be developed into a potential career, and you can help your teen decide what to study – so long as they have realistic expectations.
Career aptitude tests
These are a fantastic way to help teens decide what to study. This kind of career guidance looks at personality, character and skills to suggest different careers that a student may be suited to. These tests may not hone in on a passion, but they will certainly reveal a number of good possible career choices that make the most of natural talent and personality type.
Encourage diverse interests
If your teen is struggling to find meaning or purpose, then encourage them to take part in a variety of different activities – intellectual, creative, physical and community-oriented. Even if they don’t think they will like something, encourage them to try. Many people find that they love an activity that they never thought they would, and unexpectedly discover passion and purpose in their lives.
Suggest alternative careers linked to their passion
Many teens are passionate about creative activities such as art and music. It’s so hard to ‘make it’ in these fields – but you don’t want to squash your child’s creative spirit. Suggest a career path that allows them to earn a living in a creative field, while still pursuing the dream of artistic success. Examples could be teaching art, graphic design, or working in the music industry in production or sound technology.
Gently manage their expectations
Teens tend to dream big, and while this is what makes them amazing, it is also what makes them feel let down when faced with harsh reality. Without being harsh or overly practical, you should be honest with your kids about life in the real world.
Even people who are working in their dream career have some days and some tasks that are boring and unexciting. That’s just life. But people who can persevere through the challenging aspects of life, and accept that no career is 100% sunshine and rainbows all of the time, generally have more serenity and fulfilment.
And at the end of the day, more than ‘finding passion, fulfilment is what everyone wants for themselves and their children.