“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”

Steve Jobs

Passion. All of us have it about something. And when it comes to finding a living that makes sense for you, if you can dig into that passion, then you have the basis of a rewarding, but more importantly, fulfilling career. As a teacher, or even parent, there are ways in which you can encourage individuals to explore their unique strengths and delve into their natural curiosity to seek out a career that will engage them for life. Here’s how you can do it:

Why passion?

It’s worth exploring why passion is so vital. It compels us to commit time to something, and to be naturally curious about it, therefore looking for new and compelling ways to enjoy it, and to share it with others. That last point is perhaps the most relevant, as with most careers, those students will be working with, or for, other people, and their enthusiasm for what they do will not fail to rub off on those colleagues or clients, or convince them of their suitability to the job. In most cases, it will drive these students to success in their chosen field, as others will be inspired by the love they have for what they do.

Link it to skills and abilities

It’s human nature to be attracted to something that we are inherently ‘good at’. And everyone is good at something. You don’t need to be exceptional either, because that aforementioned passion will always propel you to the places you want to be. That is really worth reiterating to students: that those who are dedicated and passionate about what they do will always inspire interest and loyalty more than those who may be fundamentally better at it, whatever that may be, but just don’t care.

With that in mind, dig into those skills and activities that the student connects with, and link it to their future. That is often enough to spark an interest that could sustain them through life.

Explore hobbies

For those who have yet to find the skills and abilities that they relate to, it’s often just a case of looking for them, and that means casting the net a little wider in terms of the activities in which they get involved. And that means outside the classroom as much as in it. Turning their hand to a bunch of different hobbies will eventually get the desired result: just be patient, and keep looking.


Everyone is different, of course, and some people may prefer activities that they can perform in isolation, but many people respond to teams and teamwork. Working collaboratively, however that may be, will very often inspire happiness and contentment in an activity. Finding that collaborative spark will light a flame in the bellies of those students.

Involve students in the learning process

Thankfully, the days of students having no buy-in to their own learning process are gone, but there is still a way to go. The more say a student has in the things that he or she learns, and the way they go about it, not only creates more interest, but also teaches the critical skill of taking ownership for one’s own development.  This happens over the lifetime of a career. The sooner students realize this, the better it will be for them, and the more inspired they will be to make their own choices.

It’s always better to try and fail than not try at all

It’s not all about succeeding, it’s about having different experiences, never settling, and always being curious. Creating a culture in which the student is scared of failure limits them terribly.  It is one of the most obvious reasons why students seeks out a career that is uninspiring but safe, rather than truly rewarding. It is the absolute opposite of the way they should see things.

Utilize aptitude tests

The types of metrics provided by aptitude tests can help students see where their skills and abilities lie, but don’t place too great a weight on them, as any divergence in what the student likes and what the tests show could be terminal if too much emphasis is placed upon them. Instead they should be used gently to highlight to the students what their skills and abilities are. Once they understand that they have those abilities, passions can be ignited.

Use mentors

A mentor can be truly inspirational to a student. Often it matters not what that mentor specializes in. (Although if there is a link there, it can be beneficial too.)  Instead it should be about helping to locate that passion, and having someone close at hand who can help guide them through those inevitable roadblocks that appear in everyone’s career at one stage or another.

Professional writer Ashley Halsey can be found contributing her insights on education at Lucky Assignments, where she has established her reputation penning pieces on education modernization.

Free SEAL Workshop