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Career Development

How Being Passionate Will Lead to Career Growth

Larry Doty
May 31, 2016

This blog post is part five in a six-part series by Larry Doty examining how new graduates can compete and excel in a global economy.

My friend Paul Peterson was discovered by the artist Prince at age 17. He has toured the world with renowned musicians and performed funk-driven music for diverse audiences. The first time I saw Paul in the studio, it was easy to see his passion, and it was contagious. Even though I’m not a huge funk fan, I wanted to be associated with Paul because his passion was evident and his commitment to his craft was electrifying. I wanted to learn from him despite our different tastes in music.

No matter your career path, being a passion-driven person will attract others to you personally and professionally. Passion is infectious, and can easily help distinguish you. For Paul, success came at a young age, but for many that type of success takes time and patience. Most of us have to find a balance between our passions and profession.

But with the right mindset, that patience pays off.

It doesn’t happen overnight. Passion is as much about persistence as energy. You won’t find many (if any) successful artists, musicians, athletes and entrepreneurs who don’t put time into their pursuit every day. The best athletes and musicians practice as much as possible. The most successful entrepreneurs aren’t afraid to try out new things and fail.

However, keep in mind that being passionate and “finding your passion” are two different things. In your studies, career and personal life, there will always be moments of frustration. What often separates people driven by passion is their natural ability to push through obstacles without letting problems affect the quality of their work.

Furthermore, we are all drawn to different career paths and activities, so simply “finding your passion” might not necessarily provide long-term growth. Fast Company recommends asking more measurable questions than, “What’s my passion?” For example:

  • What new opportunities excite me?
  • What do I want to be really good at?
  • Would I be happy doing what I love as a job?

In general, these questions address a larger point of your career. Searching to discover what you’re passionate about won’t necessarily solve all of your professional challenges, but using your passion to drive you can help you grow and will naturally push you in new directions. The mere fact that you are willing to give your all will lead you to new opportunities. That’s how you eventually land your dream job or learn things about yourself you never expected.

Since 2008, Larry Doty has been appointed to various positions of leadership at Herzing University including Academic Dean, Director of Education and Educational Funding, and Senior System Undergraduate Dean.  During his time at the Minneapolis campus, Doty successfully provided oversight to multiple accreditation initiatives at the programmatic and institutional level. Doty quickly developed a reputation for developing high performing teams and exceeding institutional expectations in areas such as budgeting and planning, team development, and student retention. 


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