I once entertained the idea of becoming a data scientist, spurred by my knowledge in SQL, pivot tables, and analysis. My team acknowledged and valued these skills, and even colleagues in the analytics department saw potential in me. Yet, my enthusiasm was surface-level. I found myself disinterested in exploring roles, requirements, or the additional training that the field demanded.

Looking back at it, it wasn’t genuine passion that fueled my interest but the recognition I received from others. I craved more of that acknowledgement, and so I entertained the path, but my heart wasn’t truly invested. 

In stark contrast, the realm of personal development and coaching sparked an entirely different fire within me. Motivation was never an issue. Challenges like sourcing information, engaging with people, securing funds, finding practice coachees, and managing hours alongside a full-time job became stepping stones that fueled my determination.

This journey has instilled a crucial lesson: the importance of aligning goals with passion, as it serves as a compass to realize our potential. It brought forth invaluable lessons and insights, and I’m genuinely thrilled to share them with you.

Aligning work with passion

The Influence of Opinions

When our choices are moulded by the opinions of others, it often leads to a misalignment with our life’s true purpose. 

During that chapter of my life, I was still in the process of self-discovery, making me more susceptible to external suggestions, acknowledgements, and the allure of potential rewards rather than being driven by a genuine passion for the data science field. Consciously or subconsciously, I let this play a significant role in shaping my choices.

There’s no moral judgment attached to this recognition. Instead, it’s an acknowledgement of the impact external factors can have on our professional decisions, particularly when we’re still unravelling the layers of our authentic selves. It’s in these moments that we may unknowingly let our choices be swayed by the feedback and validation we receive.

Making a Conscious Choice Forward

This realization prompted a deep reflection on the balance between others’ expectations and our true passions. It’s not about labeling choices as right or wrong, but rather an invitation to consider the complex factors at play when navigating our professional paths. Aligning our choices with our authentic selves becomes the cornerstone of this introspection.

Ironically, it took me a while to admit that I wasn’t taking any action and, truth be told, I didn’t want to. There was a certain freedom in acknowledging that I just didn’t have any passion for number crunching outside what I needed to do for work. It wasn’t a reluctance to put in effort but a conscious choice to redirect my energy toward endeavours that genuinely kindled the inner flame of inspiration.

Intrinsic Motivation Leads to Satisfaction

At its most basic, there are two types of motivation – extrinsic or intrinsic. With Extrinsic motivation, we take action to pursue external rewards like money, grades, or praise. In contrast, people with intrinsic motivation draw their strength from the satisfaction derived from an activity, regardless of external consequences.

The transformation occurs when we are motivated by the anticipated internal satisfaction. Challenges, instead of causing hesitation, become things to examine and find solutions for. This shift in mindset is anchored in the understanding of what resonates at our core—the authentic recognition of our genuine passions and interests. 

Intrinsic motivation doesn’t just weather challenges; it transforms them into opportunities for growth and self-discovery. It’s the compass guiding us toward endeavours that fulfil us on a deeper level, beyond the allure of external validation.

Invitation to Self-Reflect

At this point, I extend an invitation, dear reader, to embark on a reflective journey of your own. 

  • Consider instances where external opinions influenced your decisions. Were those choices greeted with genuine enthusiasm, or did they feel like burdens? 
  • Reflect on the energy you bring to challenges and obstacles—is it fueled by passion or obligation?
  • Do you carry regrets, or do your choices resonate with a sense of fulfilment that goes beyond the allure of external rewards? 
  • What activities stir a deep sense of satisfaction within you, independent of external validations?

This is not a call for radical change but a gentle nudge to align your choices with your authentic self. Your journey is unique, and within its folds lie opportunities for self-discovery and fulfilment.


Your career journey is uniquely yours, shaped not just by external expectations but also by your values and interests. Aligning your professional path with your inner drive, satisfaction and enjoyment will become a crucial factor for long-term success and fulfilment.

Genuine passion and interest are the true architects of a satisfying career but are often overshadowed by the applause of external validation. So, make conscious choices when balancing between appreciation by others and your own desires. 

Ensure each step you are taking resonates with the core of who you are. This way, your career can become not just a source of livelihood but a canvas for expressing your authentic self.