This study sought to identify the paths people take to discover their career passion and specifically endeavored to identify how people define passion, what process they follow to discover their passion, and what outcomes they experience as a result of exercising their passion in their work. A qualitative interview research design was used to conduct this study. Eight participants were identified using convenience sampling. Data were collected through in-person and telephone interviews. The research questions were answered using content analysis. Participants offered three definitions for passion: enjoying and feeling energized about one's work, engaging in hard work inspired by the passion, and being in the flow or "in the zone." The process of discovering passion consisted of multiple phases including having certain initial conditions for passion, making a conscious choice and dedicating effort, and maturing. Outcomes from working in the area of one's passion included mutual benefits for the person and his or her clients, such as maintaining high performance, achieving maximum impact, experiencing significant intrinsic and emotional rewards, and gaining a supportive community. Limitations affecting this study included use of a small, rather homogeneous, convenience sample; gathering data exclusively through self-report; and recording data using handwritten notes. Suggestions for additional research include examining passion using a large, diverse sample; examining the factors that equip people to pursue passion at a given point in time and more fully examining what supports need to be in place to help them along the journey; and to produce a more objective measure of passion's benefits.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Research projects (MSOD); Vocational guidance; Job satisfaction

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

DePorres, Daphne