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How pursuing a passion can improve your career in 2015

January 20, 2015, 9:30 PM UTC

The Leadership Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question “What’s one New Year’s resolution to improve your career in 2015?” is written by Lila Ibrahim, Chief Business Officer at Coursera and partner at Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

2015 is a symbolic year for me — I am turning 45 years old. I have now officially spent a greater percentage of my life as a professional than as a student. And when I take a moment to step back and reflect on what I’ve achieved professionally to date, I realize I’ve had a very fulfilling career. Even still, I feel like I’m in my professional prime now more than ever.

I am more self-aware, more confident with my strengths and more comfortable with my weaknesses. A rewarding career is no longer about proving myself to others, but about spending my time in ways that are fulfilling to me. This reflection has already led to several personal changes and goals in the New Year. For example, I’ve traveled to over 85 countries, but I’ve never taken a business class! Work was always exciting to me, and taking away from my professional momentum by pursuing traditional postgraduate education never made sense — until now.

That’s why my resolution this year is to take online classes from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Foundation Series. I want that certificate at the end of the course to prove to myself that I understand the theoretical fundamentals of what I’ve experienced in practice over the past 20-plus years. Not because my supervisors or colleagues expect it of me, but because it’s an opportunity to fulfill a personal goal.

With that in mind, I invite you to join me in pursuing something in 2015 that is unequivocally for you. No matter where you are in your career–whether you’ve just entered the real world as an entry-level professional or if you’re a seasoned C-suite executive with decades of experience–do something this year that matters to you. You’ll realize that the sincere attitude that comes from taking on something you love will not only make you a more thoughtful employee and person, but an inspiration to those around you.

Read all answers to the Leadership Insider question: What’s one New Year’s resolution to improve your career in 2015?

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