Career coaches say these are the 2 best ways to turn ‘useless skills’ into careers

how to find your passion
If you can take good selfies and reels, you have skills to start a career. Source: AFP

“How to find your passion” isn’t just a search phrase for those with “serious skills,” like coding and accounting.

“How to find your passion” is a phrase that applies to anyone who has a great love for something — and it can be as practical as knowing multiple languages to as “useless” as idolising Taylor Swift.

If you’ve ever been decked in a bedazzled body suit, leaning over the barricade in the front row, screaming, “We are never, ever, ever, getting back together”, as Taylor Swift elegantly leaps across the stage — yes, you are a super fan.

The drones of individuals with such a deep passion for their favourite artists are often labelled hysterical or obsessed. Some are even accused of being in a cult. 

You can practically hear boomers yelling at these people from the comfort of their 1950s-style living room, accusing them of wasting their lives and dooming their careers. 

Like at the end of every Scoobie-doo episode, these meddling kids have outwitted the old villain by finding vital transferable skills from their fan-girl antics. 

Kate Pattison, a PhD candidate (as well as a social media manager) studying at RMIT University, Melbourne, has researched the transferable skills developed during fandom and how they are turned into real-world careers.

“So, the main [skills] that the participants that I spoke to identified were writing, design, video editing, idea generation, social media and community management,” she tells Vice

“Coincidentally, some soft skills as well. Things like more confidence, or working well with others, those types of things.”

From the creativity required to make costumes, redesign albums and edit social media posts to the people skills needed to interact with other fans, there is so much that you can learn. 

Many of us believe that being a super-fan is akin to online trolls, angry typing away nonsense, but it isn’t. 

“Opposed to learning how to use Photoshop, learning how to put a campaign together to support something,” says Pattison.

“There’s that classic BTS example of when they bought all the tickets for the Trump rally. And it’s like, these are smart, young people. Sometimes those skills might get discounted because of the environment that they’ve been developed in, for sure.”

For those who aren’t Swifties or Harries, finding your passion is a big question. 

how to find your passion

While passion is undeniably vital, it is equally important to have good skills in what you would want to do. Source: AFP

2 trains of thought on how to find your passion as a student 

As a child, we all had different ideas of what we wanted to be when we grew up, from firemen and doctors to superheroes and fairies. 

We have always been asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” 

As our answer evolved through high school, it became clear that the real questions we were being asked were, “What are you passionate about,” “What makes you excited,” and “What do you want to do for the rest of your life?”

At this stage, you are also grappling with what it means to be a successful person and how that has a different metric for each individual

For some, answering these difficult questions is a lifelong journey as you evolve and change with time, and that is perfectly natural. 

At any stage in your life, be it as a high school graduate or someone in the middle of a master’s degree, your passion will keep you motivated and moving forward. 

To answer how to find your passion, you need first to understand what passion is. 

It is when you get very excited and can’t stop thinking about something — a lot like love. 

Doing the said activity makes you feel good and connected, and you can happily get lost in it. 

You may even wake up, and it is the first thing that is on your mind, and you can’t wait to get to it. 

These are all telltale signs of passion. 

how to find your passion

How to find your passion? Well, Brian Chesky, a co-founder and CEO of Airbnb, turned his passion for travel and connecting people into a platform that allows individuals to rent out their homes to travellers. Source: AFP

What if you are still unsure of how to find your passion? There are two main trains of thought for this:

1. How to find your passion: Reflection and introspection

Write down all the things you love to do. It can be simple tasks like writing a grocery list to full-fledged hobbies such as dancing or painting. 

We would recommend actually using pen and paper for this list to get those creative juices flowing.

Try for at least five on this list, but the more the merrier. 

Think about what you loved as a child and ask yourself if those things still resonate with you.

Sometimes, there are things you used to love that you keep meaning to get back to. Think about why you actually haven’t, and stay away from reasons like having no time.

Dive deeper. 

Now, looking at your list, write down why these things bring you joy. 

What about them makes you happy? Is it the creativity, the ease, your natural talent in the said thing?

Are there things that used to bring you joy but now don’t? Examine why. 

Career expert Ken Coleman says to ask yourself these questions to dig deeper:

  • Who are the people you most want to help?
  • What problem or desire do those people have that you want to solve?
  • What solution do you get the most excited about?

These reflections will help give you a better idea of who you are as a person. How to find your passion, in this instance, is to have a close look at yourself.

Coleman also has a few handy journal prompts:

  • What types of work are you good at?
  • What types of work do you look forward to?
  • What types of work do you get lost in?
  • What types of work do you enjoy learning about?

Remember: you can be passionate about just one thing or many things. There is no wrong answer. 

how to find your passion

Stop finding, start doing. Source: AFP

2. How to find your passion: Like Nike, just do it

According to, the answer to how to find your passion is to stop thinking about it.

The problem with rationalising and analysing is that “Passion can’t be found in your head because it lives in your heart.”

Action is oftentimes more effective, and if you bring the right energy and positivity to everything you do, then it’s easier to find the things that make you the most passionate.

Get out of your comfort and try new things all the time. You would be surprised just how much more passion you have.

 After a while, you might notice what you naturally gravitate towards during your free time; voila, it’s your passion. 

Side quest advantage: How to find your passion 

As the saying goes, “Do what you love, and you’ll never work another day in your life.”

But how do you find what you love to do, your passion? The answer might just be hidden in the hobbies you cherish.

Everyone has unique interests and passions, from painting to coding, gardening to cooking, or even dirt biking. While these interests may seem unrelated to your job or what you studied at uni, they often contain hidden treasures. 

Take the example of a passion for dirt biking, a thrilling and adventurous hobby. Beyond the adrenaline rush, it can reveal your knack for engineering. 

Many dirt bike enthusiasts take it further by learning to repair their bikes. This seemingly small act can be a gateway to a career in mechanical engineering or related fields. 

It showcases your ability to problem-solve, understand intricate systems, and master technical skills. This doesn’t just apply to engineering; it could be in any domain where skills like problem-solving, attention to detail, and precision are valued.

Similarly, if you’re an avid reader, your love for books can lead to a career in writing, publishing, or even marketing. Your ability to analyse complex narratives and communicate effectively through writing can be highly valuable skills in various industries.

Take J.K. Rowling, for an example. As a child, she was an avid reader and writer.

She wrote her first story at the age of six about a rabbit named Rabbit. This eventually set her path to write Harry Potter years later, which became a global hit.

how to find your passion

Do not worry if you don’t know how to find your passion immediately. J.K. Rowling discovered her passion for writing and later achieved remarkable success with her book, Harry Potter. Source: AFP

The key to discovering your passion through hobbies is to pay attention to the skills you’re honing in the process. 

For instance, if you enjoy gardening, you’re developing patience, attention to detail, and an understanding of environmental science, all of which can be transferable to a career in sustainability or agriculture.

To find your passion, look beyond the surface of your hobbies and ask yourself what skills and qualities they instil in you. Sometimes, these skills can even turn your passion into a million-dollar business.

Take Michael J. Kittredge, for example. When he was 16, he crafted a candle made of melted red crayons for his mother as a Christmas gift. 

After a friend offered to buy the wax creation, Kittredge started making candles in his parent’s garage and selling them at his school and to local businesses in his Massachusetts hometown.

Today, Yankee Candle is a global success with a revenue of over US$840 million and has stores in more than 560 locations worldwide.

Another example is Walt Disney. Disney began drawing from a young age and eventually created Mickey Mouse in 1928 after several failed animation ventures.

It shows that sometimes, your true passion may not reveal itself immediately. It might require years of exploration and honing of various skills, much like how Disney’s early experiences in animation laid the foundation for his iconic creations

Finding your passion isn’t always about following your dreams in the most literal sense. Sometimes, it’s about recognising the subtle, underlying talents and interests that have been with you all along.

how to find your passion

Finding your passion is often interlinked with happiness and fulfilment on a more personal level. Source: AFP

Do you have to find your passion? Some say no 

In the quest for a fulfilling life, society often bombards us with the idea that we must find our passion and turn it into a career. 

So, it’s no surprise when it was discovered that 90% of Columbia Business School MBA students listed “pursuing their passion” as an important goal for their future jobs.

Mark Manson, the three-time #1 New York Times bestselling author, says, “Screw finding your passion.”

Manson contends that not everyone is meant to fuse their passion with their profession, and that’s perfectly fine. 

Many people are perfectly happy by working jobs that pay the bills and then using their free time to explore what truly makes them happy.

This perspective challenges the commonly held belief that our careers must be the epicentre of our passion and purpose.

In truth, the pressure to find a career-bound passion can often lead to unnecessary stress and feelings of inadequacy — something Manson attests to as he suggests that this rigid approach may not be conducive to everyone’s personal happiness and well-being.

In other words, you don’t have to turn your passion into your career. Instead, you can have a job and enjoy your passion on the side. Anything works.