Even If You’re Not A Big Risk Taker You Can Find Your Passion

Posted by in Career Success | 6 comments

When was the last time you tried something new?

Would you be open to taking a new route to work?

Do you try new menu items at your favorite restaurant?

How about introducing yourself to a complete stranger and striking up a conversation?

Dice Rob via Compfight

It’s very easy to get into a rut.

You know what they say about ruts – a rut is a grave with the ends kicked out.

So why do we resist trying new things sometimes?

We don’t try new things because they’re risky.

When we perceive something as risky our fear kicks in.

Fear causes us to focus on what we might lose.

We might lose face, lose money, or lose what we have already.

Taking a risk can move us toward an unknown outcome.

Yet we can jeopardize finding our passion because we never venture beyond what we know about ourselves.

We miss our greatest opportunities because we’re afraid to try something new.

How This Impacts Finding Your Passion

Sometimes discovering our passion requires us to try a few things.

Our passions don’t show up one day fully baked.

Passions are often developed over a period of time.

Sometimes the knowing is in the doing.

However, there is a risk.

The new things may not work out and you’ll feel like you’ve wasted your time, money, and effort.

Yet, when the goal is the journey you’ll never miss the mark.

In this case, practice is more important than the game.

The key to success in this process is to embrace low risk experiments.

3 Steps to A Low Risk Experiment

Step 1 – Focus on what you’re moving toward. Rather than dwelling on what you might lose, focus on what you’re gaining. At the very least you’re gaining more insight about yourself and your passions. Potentially you may also find your passion and your life’s work. Although you may not be clear on those items during the experiment you can be confident you’re taking the right steps to achieve the ultimate goal of finding your passion.

Step 2 – Brainstorm 30 to 40 ideas of work you might be interested in. Decide to try the type of work you might (and I stress might) be interested in. You’re not committing to the work yet, but you’re committing to the process of taking action to try it out.

Step 3 – Come up with a plan to try one or two of them on the side while you keep your current job. Find someone to shadow who’s already doing the job, volunteer, take an internship, start your business on the side and do it in the evenings and weekends. Try it out in a way that doesn’t jeopardize the stability of your income. If you don’t like it you haven’t lost anything except a little time. If you like it then create a plan to do it full time.

You may think this sounds overly simplistic.

It’s a simple concept but it’s difficult to do.

Dealing with our fears is not easy.

But if you will commit to low risk experiments despite your fears you will reap the reward of clarity.

Clarity about your passion, clarity about your work, and clarity about your life.

I can always use a little more clarity. How about you?


Question: What’s one new thing you will commit to doing this week?

  • Adam, Great post. Every time I get outside my comfort zone and take a risk (even small ones) there is a positive benefit. Either the benefit of having the risk pay off OR the benefit of learning from what didn’t go well. I have yet to take a risk (small or large) that I haven’t been able to recover from….well so far…

    Thanks for posting.

    • Thanks Scott. That is such a great way to look at risk. You can’t lose if you approach it the way you suggest. We may fall but we can always get up again a little wiser and a little stronger.

  • Wonderful post Adam and I like your three tips. Very practical and a good way to try some new things on without risking everything!

    • Thank you so much Ann. Yes, this process of find your passion doesn’t have to be an experience where you throw caution to the wind. There are low risk ways to experiment with different things.

  • It may be simple, but it isn’t simplistic. It is what works to find work you enjoy. I appreciate your focus on NOT quitting your day job first!

    • That’s right Tom. No need to bet the farm on something when you try before you buy (how many sayings can I get into one sentence). We missed having you on the Google Hangout tonight. Hope we can connect next time.