Adding an extra year of college can quickly botch a budget, but sticking to a four-year plan can be tough for students who have no idea what career path to choose.
To discover your passion before heading off to college, career expert Marcus Buckingham says he uses the same principles for adolescents that he prescribes to adults: pay attention to your activities and be precise.
Take a memo pad around with you for a week. Capture the activities that make you feel strong and the ones that leave you feeling weak. Notice what you're drawn to reading in magazines or the paper, which moments you find yourself looking forward to, the events where time flies by. Do this practice for at least two weeks in different circumstances.
Once you have a list of activities, drill down and get specific about each of them. Does it matter when you do it? Who you are with? What are the details that are important to capture about these activities?
Pick your top three strengths, and then start your research. What roles would allow you to use these strengths? What ways can you contribute these to the world? How can you serve while engaging that which makes you feel full and alive?
Always keep your attention trained on the specifics of which actual activities give you the biggest kick. These precise activities are raw material for building your passion. Passion is useless without precision.
Despite how it might be presented, Buckingham says passion is not found way up in the sky, in far-flung dreams and hopes. "It can be elusive to some, perhaps because they're waiting for a lightening bolt to strike and to have the answer written out in the clouds or in their tea leaves," he says. "Passion is far more practical. Passion lives at ground level, in your day-to-day activities. Look for it, claim it and figure out how to channel it to contribute your best. This is the surest way to career fulfillment."
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