Finding Your Path:
Passion + Skill + Talent
Figuring out your path in life is rarely simple. Sure, you’ll meet doctors who have been preparing for med school since kindergarten and singers who have been performing since the crib, but they’re not the majority. For many of us, determining our path takes many things: self-discovery, time, courage, exploration, and trial & error. The ultimate goal is to find a path perfectly blends your passions, natural talents, and skills, and we’re here to help you if you don’t know where to start!
Your passions are the things that get you excited. They’re those things you’re doing when you lose track of time, totally focused on the activity at hand. It’s a beautiful thing when people are able to turn passions into a career. After all, “If you love what you do, you never have to work a day in your life.”
How do you figure out what your ultimate passions are? Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood, co-authors of The Passion Test: The Effortless Path to Disccovering Your Life Purpose, have created this handy flowchart to help! By following their careful instructions down the left-hand side, you’ll end up with a list of your top five passions! From there, you can begin brainstorming careers and industries that fall in line with your passions.
These are the gifts you’re born with. When we think of natural talents, we often think of musical prodigies or kids who can dunk a basketball by first grade. Theseare natural talents, but there are a lot more types of talents that might not necessarily be as obvious or flashy.
For example, some people are born with a talent for empathizing or communicating with others. Some people are gifted with words, while other people are stronger speaking through numbers. Make a list of your natural talents – and if you can’t think of any, ask your parents, friends, and teachers. Sometimes, things come so naturally to us that we don’t realize it’s a real talent!
Skills are the things you put your time and effort into learning. In many ways, skills are the great equalizer – these are the things that most people can learn or master as long as they’re willing to put in the time. An expert in any field has spent hours – really, years – honing their respective skills. While passions and talents are innate, you decide which skills you want to focus on and perfect.
When you’re finding your path that you’ll take in college and beyond, start by considering these three categories. List your top passions and your natural gifts and talents. Do any of these things overlap? Can you combine these passions and talents and form a career? I’ll use myself as an example. One of my greatest passions is empowering young women, and one of my natural talents is writing. I knew from a young age I’d like to become a writer, and specifically discuss issues and topics that are important to young women.
From there, determine the skills you’ll need and pursue the heck out of them. For me, that meant studying writing in college, and writing every chance I got! Don’t get me wrong, I took a few wrong turns on my “path” and I definitely toyed with other options and ideas, but I can confidently say that my path is a beautiful balance of my passions, my talents, and my skills. Take this time to pinpoint your passions and embrace your talents, and there is no doubt that you’ll find your path and your purpose.