• How to Discover Passion in Your Career

    By Kayce Dover

    Kayce DoverWhy is it important to have passion for your work and career? Most people want to achieve success and leave the world a better place than they found it, but what is it that motivates people to pursue what's required to succeed? Finding something you’re passionate about is at the heart of inspiration and developing a sense of purpose.   

    Not everyone aspires to hold a high-visibility position. As part of a team in any organization, each person plays a critical role. Consider health care, for example. Regardless of job title—healthcare provider, health information management (HIM) director, coder, clinical documentation improvement (CDI) specialist, security officer, patient access specialist, and other roles—doing your best matters to the patients and communities you serve.

    It’s important to understand what inspires you and gets your juices flowing. What gets you excited to wake up and go to work each day? Maybe it’s making a difference, having opportunities for growth, or a combination of factors. If you know what ignites your unique sense of purpose, the better your chances of finding job satisfaction and success in your chosen role.

    Early in my career while working on my master’s in health informatics, I was offered a job with a staffing firm. I knew nothing about staffing, but was intrigued by the opportunity. Soon after accepting the position, I fell in love with staffing and recruiting. The decision to take that job in 1999 changed the course of my career, which eventually led to starting my own recruitment firm. Looking back, I’m thankful that I embraced the challenge with curiosity and confidence because it created opportunities I never thought possible.

    What gives me a sense of purpose is making a difference in people’s lives—creating opportunities for them to realize their goals and achieve success. I thrive on helping others. What I do in my career is intrinsically connected with who I am.

    For example, I recently called a candidate with a great job offer that came with a substantial increase in salary. She was excited and grateful for the time we worked together to secure this new position for her. “You’ve made a difference in my life and my family’s future," she said. "I cannot thank you enough." This job opportunity was life-changing for her. Knowing that I influenced her future reminded me of why I do what I do, the importance of making a difference—helping others find their passion and path to success. Fortunately, I get to fulfill this purpose nearly every day.

    Even so, challenges can feel daunting at times. When you enjoy your work and connect with your team, it’s easier to get through the rough spots. Achieving our goals requires long days of hard work. Sometimes it feels like you spend more time with co-workers than you do with your own family. Taking time to recharge throughout the day and interact as a team can be an antidote for burnout. Balancing work and finding fulfillment in it sustains the passion for what we do. 

    Create a Culture That Supports Success

    Creating an environment that cultivates success is critical. Do you feel energized when you walk into the office? A supportive environment can help your team move past obstacles and keep them engaged throughout each day. Managers must be in tune with their team members and be able to recognize the telltale signs when people are disconnected and unmotivated. You'll likely see it in their performance, attitude, and demeanor. It’s important to set a positive tone for the office, quickly address any issues that may crop up, and provide your team with the tools and resources they need to achieve their goals.  

    Open communication helps people connect with and find fulfillment in their roles. Asking the right questions is a good place to begin. What’s working and what’s not? What are your personal and professional goals? What inspires you? How can I help? What do you need? You should be able to fill in the blank: “I’ve always been passionate about …”

    Everyone wants to succeed and make a difference. A good manager helps his or her team understand how individuals' roles fit into the big picture. Acknowledge that you care about their needs and professional aspirations. Here are suggestions to consider:

    • Encourage regular communication—individual and team conversations. 
    • Practice generous listening—listen intently and offer thoughtful feedback.
    • Set individual and team goals—tie them together for overall success.
    • Conduct annual evaluations and interim “check-ins”—have more than a one-time annual conversation with each person.
    • Articulate how each team member plays an important role in the company's or department's success.
    • Hold daily 15-minute huddles:
           Talk about wins each morning—accomplishments from the previous day. 
           Recognize efforts to go above and beyond.
           Offer encouragement and support.
    • Celebrate achievements throughout the year.

    Creating an environment that cultivates communication, collaboration, and productivity keeps people engaged, motivated, and open to new possibilities.

    If you feel stuck in your job, find alternative ways to support your passion within your daily routine. Present a lunch-and-learn on a topic that is most important to you. Take steps toward building a more fulfilling career. Talk with your manager about diversifying the responsibilities in your current position or preparing for a different role.

    When you find what you enjoy doing, you find your purpose. My goal is to create opportunities for people so they can live out their passion and purpose, which almost always leads to success. I strive to help my team members achieve their personal and professional goals. Sometimes people grow tired of the same routine and need a change. Again, communication is the key. We’ve made adjustments in our organization to help team members move into more fulfilling roles. This requires being engaged with your team and keeping the lines of communication open.

    Maybe you’re a coder. It’s tedious and you don’t enjoy the work. How can you move forward? Consider what you want to do, what energizes you. Would you like to become a CDI team leader? Then be the best coder you can possibly be, with all the passion you can muster while preparing for what you truly want to do. Determine next steps: education, AHIMA credentialing, collaboration with CDI specialists, opportunities to participate with a CDI team and eventually take the lead. Shift your mind-set to find your motivation.

    Follow your Curiosity—Find your Passion

    Success is defined in different ways by different people. Whatever the definition, success isn’t always the key to happiness and living your passion. Instead, passion and a sense of purpose are your keys to success. It’s about enjoying the journey—using your knowledge and unique experience to make a difference.

    I feel fortunate to know that I’m doing what I’m meant to do. But what if you haven’t found your passion? The focus on following your passion can create pressure and frustration. If you find yourself in that position, author and inspirational speaker Elizabeth Gilbert suggests following something much more attainable. “Instead of chasing a passion that you’re not even feeling, do something a lot simpler. Follow your curiosity. Your curiosity just might lead you to your passion.” And you may find success that you never imagined possible. 

    Passion and Purpose—Pathway to Success

    Curiosity. Explore what inspires and energizes you.

    Connection. Connect with others who share your interests.

    Creativity. Seek creative expression to uncover what makes you thrive.

    Clarity. Focus on what matters to you.

    Courage. Dare to change what’s not working. Pursue what you love. 


    Kayce Dover, MSHI, RHIA is a health information management professional with a master’s degree in health informatics. She has worked in the HIM industry for more than 20 years, focusing much of her career on the recruitment and staffing of HIM and healthcare professionals nationwide.




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