Have you discovered your passion/dream job for life already & do you know how to reach there? | Coursera Community
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Have you discovered your passion/dream job for life already & do you know how to reach there?


Happy New Year everyone!

I hope you all enjoyed your holidays and looking forward to the New Year!: A brand New Beginning! Thanks to a friend, I’ve come across this inspirational video on discovering your passion in the New Year and how enriching your life can be: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b4P0K3tcheY : I wish what the speaker there wishes for you too, in the New Year!

Since everyone might be involved with their New Year resolutions, I thought perhaps one of your resolutions might be: to discover your passion or dream job for your life in the New Year, set your goals accordingly and think of your steps how to reach those goals to fulfill your dreams.

Following @Laura 's earlier thread on what you are passionate about, perhaps this is a good follow up on how to discover your passion if you don't know it already. I had attended a bunch of lectures and seminars on this topic as part of my counselor training. So, here are some of the key questions that were highlighted for this purpose:

1- If anyone asked you "what do you want to do when you grow up" when you were a child, how did you answer?

Apparently, the root of the word “enthusiasm” comes from the Greek enthousiasmos, meaning “inspiration by God” according to some translations. Therefore, many people believe (even in secular world) that God actually puts certain talents for your calling in your spirit. When you are a child, you can sense them or express them more abundantly or freely.

Of course, the environmental factors can influence whether you can pursue that childhood passion due to finances or any other pressure of life but if you know it and somehow could go back to it or include it back into your life, you may be a lot more satisfied in life.

Naturally, this question cannot answer everything. For example, with science and technology booming, some recent professions may not have been out there yet. Some passions are acquired and/or added into certain other talents as you move along in life. For example, I know a lot of mathematicians went into computer science when it was booming. When they were born or were a child, computers did not exist.

Hence, here are additional questions:

2- If you had millions of dollars, i.e. if money was not an issue, what would you like to do in life?

3- What annoys you most in the World that you would like to go and change to make it a better place? For example, I know some people who are so angry with injustice and they became lawyers.

4- Where did you feel at home most in all the places you have been (in terms of location, city, town, country, etc.)? This actually can help you to identify where you are supposed to be living too. It could be seasonal or for a period or for life.

5- Where did you feel that you belong there in places or situations you have been (in terms of environment, community, etc.)? For example, one of my friends was attending a science conference and she felt, this is the subject area where I belong; this is what I want to do.

6- What would you like your obituary to say? I thought it was a very morbid question but actually it makes you think when you give your time to certain things and helps you to plan and not to waste your time with things that you are not supposed to be involved in such as endless hours in front of TV! 😉 Certainly nobody would wish their obituary to say that –he or she watched a lot of TV!! ☺

What are your thoughts on these questions? Do you have any more additions? How would you go about setting your goals and fulfilling your dreams? I would love to hear your opinions.

Of course, these are very personal questions and you are not obligated to answer them in a global platform like this but in any case I hope they help you to find your true passion(s) in life and encourage you to run after it...

N.B. I had shared these questions on another thread in the Mentor Training Course of Coursera before, which is only accessible to Coursera mentors. If you’d seen them there, this may be your second round to think about these things. It never hurts to re-evaluate such concepts periodically... 😉

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Wow, a lot of tricky questions, @Denise! 😉 Below are my answers to the first few (I couldn't think of anything for the last couple).

Whenever anybody asked me what I wanted to do when I grew up, I never knew. I would always shrug my shoulders. I was like this even when I'd finished school! Of course, I had certain fancies from time to time, but nothing I really stuck with. When I was about 15 or so, I thought that I really wanted to be in the health field, and this was something that actually stuck. I thought about a few different careers, but couldn't pick one. All of them seemed to have too many things that I wouldn't like about them. After a while, I thought about dietetics. First, I thought that that might be interesting, but the more I thought about it, the more interested I became. Hence, I'm now studying to become a dietician! 😀

I think for the second question, most of the things I want to do in life aren't actually much about money. Of course, we all need money for certain things like a car, house, etc., but the things that I really want in life aren't things that I can buy.

One thing that annoys me a bit is that people suffer severe health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, etc. mostly due to having a poor diet. It seems silly that so much money is spent on these health issues when eating a healthy diet is not that expensive. I could talk a bit about this, but had better not! 😉

I don't think that a particular place makes me feel at home - it's more about who I'm with. I could be at the most beautiful place in the world and still not feel at home if I'm not with people I love.
Thank you so much @Lillian for taking the time and responding although you found the questions challenging! I am grateful for it and admire it. 🙂

How wonderful that you discovered your passion to become a dietitian and already studying for it! Yes, I totally agree about unhealthy diet leading to so many diseases that could have been prevented. That frustrates me too if I see it happening around me... 🙂

I love your answers to Q2 & Q4: How sweet of you, to prioritize spending time with your loved ones. 😊

Since many people stop pursuing their passion due to financial strains in life, Q2 is meant to encourage everyone to think that if money was not an issue in their life, what would they like to do: For everyone not to limit themselves in their decisions on discovering and pursuing their dream jobs that they are passionate about. For example, you may open a diet clinic someday after you complete all your studies and qualifications, with the extra money you may have somehow... 🙂 What do you think?

Q4 is meant to be to discover the place you are meant to live in terms of city, town. For example, if you were offered a job after your studies somewhere other than your home town, would you accept it? From your answer, perhaps, you will be most happy to find a job near your family and friends?

On the other hand, Q5 is meant to be about the atmosphere, environment, community. Like my friend, in a science community during the conference, she felt at most home, where she belonged...

If you could think of any more questions or guidelines to add to help us to discover our passion, please feel free to share too.

Thank you very much once again for being my only responder in this thread so far after 5 days! I wish I could give you an extra medal for that! 🙂 I really appreciate it! 🙂
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A thoughtful and thought-provoking topic, for sure, @Denise and @Lillian!

1- If anyone asked you "what do you want to do when you grow up" when you were a child, how did you answer?

When I was a child, I remember being asked this question for a school project and my 3 choice professions were being a baker, an artist, or a teacher. When I was a little older, around 12-13, I think, I began to contemplate becoming a writer – a famous writer, of course! Writing did become my professional pursuit, as I studied creative writing in college and even for a time in graduate school. I still love to write – and read – but I don't expect to author a book anytime soon.

When I reflect on my early childhood answers, I think they represent two things that I value to this day: creativity and helping others.

2 + 3 - If you had millions of dollars, i.e. if money was not an issue, what would you like to do in life?

I would probably travel constantly – visit as many countries as possible and study (1) human-animal relationships and (2) animals. I picture myself traveling with amazing photography equipment in tow, so I could document animals' lives and – with permission – people's lives as they relate to animals. I would also spend time trying to figure out how I could best improve animal welfare and human welfare simultaneously. I feel strongly that our lives intersect with all the other beings on this planet, yet we often separate and elevate ourselves as a species – to the detriment of ourselves and other species.

4- Where did you feel at home most in all the places you have been (in terms of location, city, town, country, etc.)? This actually can help you to identify where you are supposed to be living too. It could be seasonal or for a period or for life.

This is a tough one! I had a wonderful opportunity to live in Alsace, France for an academic year, and it was so lovely. I came to value some French traditions, like businesses closing at lunchtime, long social dinners, and, of course, la bise (cheek kissing as a greeting/farewell)! When I moved to another place a few years later, I found myself homesick for France, not homesick for my home country (the US)! That was a really interesting realization.

5- Where did you feel that you belong there in places or situations you have been (in terms of environment, community, etc.)? For example, one of my friends was attending a science conference and she felt, this is the subject area where I belong; this is what I want to do.

I think my all-time favorite space, in terms of belonging, has been my college creative writing classes, as we were all very unique people who came together to study a collective passion for writing.

6- What would you like your obituary to say?

I'd like people to say that I lived with authenticity, passion, and a relentless commitment to alleviating suffering in the world.
Wow @Denise these are certainly difficult questions! Very valuable to consider, though, if you want to learn more about yourself. Here are my answers:

1- If anyone asked you "what do you want to do when you grow up" when you were a child, how did you answer?
My first career goal was to be a ballerina. After I stopped taking ballet class around age 12 I decided I was going to be an interior designer. At 16 I got my worst grade in art (on my GCSEs for those who are familiar with the UK education system) so I decided I was going to be a Spanish teacher instead. Then I started to struggle with languages (the speaking part always gets me because I need to feel like what I'm saying is completely correct before I say it) and started to find science really easy and fun so I ended up studying chemistry at university. I guess after that I didn't really count as a child anymore but I did briefly consider dropping out of my chemistry degree to study equine business management and do something horse-related with my life. Clearly I ended up doing none of those things, although I did become a science teacher for a few years.

2- If you had millions of dollars, i.e. if money was not an issue, what would you like to do in life?
Honestly, I would keep doing my current job. Perhaps not for the rest of my life but certainly until I felt like I'd achieved everything I wanted to. I love the day-to-day work, I love that I'm contributing to a company whose mission is to transform lives around the world and I find it rewarding and just the right amount of challenging.

3- What annoys you most in the World that you would like to go and change to make it a better place?
I try not to think too much about what annoys me in the world - it makes me too angry or upset. Human trafficking and violent crime/abuse are probably my top 2. I do think that education has the power to drastically reduce many of the world's problems so I do hope that by working at Coursera I'm contributing to a better world. The other thing I feel like I'm making a small contribution towards is ending cosmetic testing on animals. I naively thought that because animal testing was banned in the UK that meant the products I bought weren't tested on animals (and after I move to the USA I assumed it was the same here). Now I know better I make sure to only purchase things from companies with very clear policies that do not allow animal testing.

4- Where did you feel at home most in all the places you have been (in terms of location, city, town, country, etc.)?
I've never really thought about this question before and I'm not sure I have an answer. I very much fell in love with Cusco and the Sacred Valley in Peru and have considered moving there one day, but since I was on vacation when I went there it's hard to know how biased those feelings might be.

5- Where did you feel that you belong there in places or situations you have been (in terms of environment, community, etc.)?
I feel like I belong at Coursera, it feels like this is what I was meant to do.

6- What would you like your obituary to say?
I'm not too worried about being remembered but I'd like to think my family and friends cared about me.
Such wonderful and interesting responses both from @Laura & @Claire too! Thank you!

@Laura : A baker, an artist or a teacher! Wow! Such an interesting combination! With your love towards animals, I had assumed you might have been interested in becoming a vet. One of our relatives wanted to be a zookeeper when he was a kid apparently, he is a chemical engineer now. That goes to show, how unpredictable we all can be...

From your answers, I get the sense that you are born to be a creative writer, which you still could do, if you are not doing on the side already. When you get to travel in your spare time, some of which you already have done based on your other posts, observing/caring for animals and people, it could provide you with so many wonderful stories to write inspiring & exciting novels. I look forward to reading one of them some day! As you would know, France is famous for its invaluable authors! 😉 Who knows may be someday for your retirement years? 🙂 We love la bise tradition and have adopted it here in the UK too.
Another exciting interests set from you @Claire from ballerina to chemist to Coursera! That goes to show we have some invaluable ladies with many talents among us!

How cute that you wanted to be a ballerina! I had so much attraction to ballet as well when I was in primary school because of those pink tutus mostly.😊 My mom was so concerned that ballerinas had suffered joint problems later on in life and she actively prevented me, registering me for folk dancing instead. Thankfully, I like dancing; it was OK although I still had my eye on the ballet crowd... Later on as an adult I was able to attend ballet classes in a sports center to exercise that satisfied my curiosity. 🙂

It sounds like you have found your true passion with Coursera in the end. Congratulations! Yes, I agree that I am also soo appreciative of Coursera’s incredible multifunctional role to transform lives all around the World, which could indirectly help tackling those issues you listed under Q3 through education. Wishing you continuation of your success!
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Q4 is meant to be to discover the place you are meant to live in terms of city, town. For example, if you were offered a job after your studies somewhere other than your home town, would you accept it? From your answer, perhaps, you will be most happy to find a job near your family and friends?


This is a question that I've been thinking about a lot, @Denise. My closest friends actually live 3-4 hours away from my family, making it a bit difficult to decide where I want to live. 🙂 I think I'll just see what happens. Perhaps some of my friends might move a bit closer! 😉

That's so cute about the pink tutus! It sounds like you were a very girly girl! 😊
3-4 hours is not too bad @Lillian . You could still visit your friends or family in either of those locations. Or you could find a town that is in the middle for both sides! 🙂 When we first got married, my husband's job was in a different city, ~4 hours away from where I was. We ended up living in a town close to his work and I ended up commuting ~4 hours back and forth every day! I was exhausted after a few months. Thankfully, he found another job eventually close to where I was and all worked out fine. I am sure you will manage to figure out something that suits you all too.

Girly girl!! 😊I must tell my mom about it! Among the names I've been referred: "The Chimp" also exists, after chimpanzees since I used to climb up trees too and hanged around the branches, being acrobatic like the monkeys! -which kept my parents on their toes... LOL!

How about you? Did you not like pink tutus? Or trees? 🙂

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