J. Kelly Hoey

The Horrible Process Of Finding Your Passion #BYDN

Amazing counter-intuitive career advice shared with me by a #BYDN reader in career transition.

When you’re seeking to find your passion (or calling), see what others are avoiding, reluctant to tackle or just running scared from. MAYBE in that place of fear or horror, you’ll find exactly what you’re meant to be doing.

Career changes are typically difficult. Career transitions are bloody hard. The stress of discovering ‘What’s Next’ can be painful. I know. I’ve been there. It takes a toll emotionally, physically and financially.

Perhaps that’s why — combined with these disruptive times we’re living in economically and socially — this career mentorship advice resonated so with me.

Here’s the full story, as shared with me:

I am contemplating a major career transition and leaving my employer of the last 21 years. This is the only employer that I have had post law school and while it is time to make the move it is still overwhelming and confusing and full of emotion. I feel blessed with a team of mentors and advisors who have been patiently guiding me through the initial start of my journey. However recently a stranger provided the most powerful mentoring advice of all!

In my current job I was tasked to attend a training session on electronic discovery. I could think of at least 100 other topics off the top of my head that I would rather attend (replacing an oil filter, medieval architecture, plant life of the Sahara being a few) but I dutifully grabbed my notebook and hit the door. I also had zero expectations for this session and honestly just planned to go to my happy place and think about my upcoming Disney vacation with my family in between taking a few notes on the topic. However, from the moment the presenter took the microphone I was, for lack of a better word, captivated. The presenter was a dynamic fireball of energy, enthusiasm and purely passionate on the topic. So much so that I was spellbound. I took copious notes, didn’t once think about Disney, and decided I needed to speak with the presenter once the presentation was complete. Why? Not to get more tidbits on electronic discovery….instead to ask where this passion came from.

Where did this passion come from?

After the presentation I waited for those with specific electronic discovery questions to speak. I then approached the presenter and told her how impressed I was with her presentation because her passion for the work was evident to all. I told her I was in the midst of a job transition and I essentially asked her for mentoring advice on how she found her passion….so that I could start to find mine. She seemed happy that I recognized her passion and then simply said that she had spent a number of years working as an attorney and felt successful and yet unfulfilled. She realized she needed to find something, a problem perhaps, that seemed without solution that she could solve. At the time it was electronic discovery — no one wanted to tackle it in her firm. She then said to me it was like in a horror movie, everyone was running out of the building (away from the topic) but she decided to run into the building (toward the topic). And in running in, she tackled the electronic discovery problem, found solutions, became a praised subject matter expert and in the process found a calling and something she felt passionate about. While it wasn’t for everyone…it was for her. Now she teaches, and writes, and this is her full time day job.

She ended with the advice of find that thing like in a horror movie that everyone is running away from…..and run towards it!

Bam!

Mentoring advice about finding your passion.

It came on a very unexpected day in a very unexpected way and through something that I was dreading and had zero expectations. I think this will stay with me for the rest of my transition and search for what is next.

Mentors can be long term and formal and through relationships….but they can also be through one conversation with a stranger who has something incredibly profound to offer.

 

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