If you don't happen to work in a career you're really passionate about, there are things you can do that may help you feel more connected to your profession:
1. Identify the things you're passionate about
You might be surprised to discover that many of these things can be part of what you do every day. For example, if you have a love of photography, you don't necessarily need to be a professional photographer to express that at work. I know of a doctor who is a great landscape photographer and decorates his exam rooms with beautiful prints he's made from his travels. If you mention them, he'll gladly tell you about his adventures and how he made the images. He's not only able to bring something he loves to the office with him everyday, he schedules time away to create new images every year allowing that to be an important part of his practice.
2. Don't ignore those passions
If the things you enjoy don't make sense as part of your career, that doesn't mean there's no place for them in your life. I mentioned earlier that I'm an avid motorcyclist — but I also realize it might be difficult to get paid to explore what's around the next bend. So while there isn't much opportunity to leverage that passion within my career, I make sure I don't spend every waking hour working and spend some time with the wind in my face watching the road pass underneath my feet. I also find the occasional road trip recharges the creative juices that allow me to think clearly and that make me better at what I do. What's more, spending time in the saddle also affords me the opportunity to get to know the small business owners along the road, who tend to inspire me with ideas that eventually make it to my work. Don't ignore your passions.
3. Don't forget, passion is contagious
Regardless of whether you work at what you love or infuse your passion into your work, your enthusiasm will likely be felt by everyone in your company and shared by those employees with your customers. What's more, by giving your employees the opportunity to bring their passions with them to work, you'll create an environment where your business will not only be successful; it will be enjoyable and fulfilling.
Over the course of my career, there has been a lot of discussion about the challenges of achieving work-life balance. I think the real goal should be integrating your work and your life (or your passion and your work) so you can have a fulfilling career and a satisfying life.
Regardless of what you do, allow for time to follow your passions. If that means selling real estate and using your construction skills to improve properties for rent or sale, do that. Or take your passion from other interests into your business. If that doesn't work, make sure you set aside time to follow your dreams outside of your business. Successfully integrating your passion will not only help you enjoy what you do, it will enable you to achieve the success you desire while being true to yourself.
This article originally appeared on PayScale.