It can be so frustrating when people advise you, “Just follow your passion”! Yeah, sure, you’d love to—if only you knew what your passion was.
You’re probably the kind of person who works hard, with commitment and persistence. When you know what you’re doing, nothing will stop you. But before you can become unstoppable, you need to know what you’re starting. Before you can follow your passion, you have to find it.
Whatever you are doing in your life right now you need to stop and make time to find your passion! I can’t emphasize enough how important it is for you to find your passion otherwise you are just wasting time and roaming around!
There are a couples of things you have to keep in mind when you are trying to find your passion.
Choose to adopt the perspective that you can do what you love with your life. One of the best ways to strengthen this point of view is to surround yourself with people who are living examples.
How many of your friends and family are following their passions? If it’s not many, it might be time to expand your circle; associate with—and be inspired by—men and women who are inspired by their work.
The way to do it is to say to yourself “what am I good at”, “what is this my beliefs”, “why should I do this”, “what’s in it for me”, “can I live without it if I don’t do it”, “would I have regrets if I don’t do it”.
What do you spend hours reading about? For myself, when I get passionate about something, I’ll read about it for hours on end. I’ll buy books and magazines. I’ll spend days on the Internet finding out more. There may be a few possibilities here for you … and all of them are possible career paths. Don’t close your mind to these topics. Look into them.
Finding your passion could be easier than you think. Ask yourself these three simple questions and by answering these questions honestly, you could work out what to do with the rest of your life.
- “What subject could I read 500 books about without getting bored?”
- “What could I do for five years straight without getting paid?”
- “What would I spend my time doing if I had complete financial abundance to do anything?”
List the jobs or tasks that you absolutely loathe. Once you have eliminated these options, your true passion may become clearer.
Ask this question: “who do I envy the most due to the work they do”? List multiple individuals, then look at the work they do, and try those things. You might find your passion from that list.
So, if you’re struggling to find your passion, even after trying what feels like doing everything, I encourage you to do this: sit down, open your journal, pour a cup of tea, and try to remember your passions. Think back on your life, and remember the things you wanted to be, the habits you developed naturally, the games you played, the books you read and see how they may apply to your life and career today. You might be surprised by the connection points that have been right under your nose all along.
Figure out your values. Your values are your core beliefs in life. They can be religious or spiritual, but they can also be reflective of your personality and what most satisfies you. Research has shown that when you aren’t living in accordance with your values, you can feel unhappy and unmotivated. You may also procrastinate more because you don’t find your activities meaningful. It can be difficult to figure out what you value in life if you’ve never given it much thought — or if the needs and desires of others have always taken priority over your own. Take some time to examine your past experiences and think about what made you feel “right” about your life.
Try a vision board. A vision board — also called a dream board or a creativity board — can be a helpful way to prompt your passions. Some people are more visual thinkers and respond well to collecting things that represent meaningful ideas.
- Collect images and inspiring quotes that represent what is meaningful to you. Who do you want to be? What do you want out of your life? What do you want to create or make?
- You can also make a virtual vision board on a site like Pinterest.
Decide what matters most to you. Life is about compromise. You will not have the time or energy to do everything, but it is important to decide what your priorities are. Figuring out what you value most in life will save you the frustration of trying to have everything, which just isn’t feasible.
- Is it important that you are passionate about your career? You may have to sacrifice in other areas of your life, such as hobbies or even financial security.
- Is it important to you to have the money to pursue a passion for travel or another hobby? You may have to take a solid, well-paying but less exciting job to pay for it.
- Be as specific as possible. “Happiness” and “Success” are too vague to be helpful. Try to use your reflection on your values and enjoyments as a guide to figuring out what makes you happy.
- Regardless of the trade-offs and compromises you make, you will feel more satisfied — and therefore more passionate when you are in control of your choices. No one’s expectations of you are behind the wheel, but you are.
Practice mindfulness. One of the biggest things that can kill a pursuit of your passion is fear. When fear drives your decisions, you don’t take risks or allow yourself to be vulnerable. Vulnerability and openness are key to connecting, both with yourself and with others. Fearfulness often happens when you focus so much on what could happen that you don’t accept what’s happening right now.
Practicing mindfulness can help you with this.
Practice naming your fear. Don’t judge it! Just acknowledge whatever it is you’re feeling at the moment. For example, “I’m feeling scared of taking this risk because it might not work out.” Then, comfort yourself with a few self-affirmations, such as “I cannot control how things work out. I can only control my own actions.”
Don’t try to repress your fear. Repressing an emotion will only make it reappear stronger. Instead, try sitting with your emotion for the moment. Explore how it feels. Be kind to yourself and remind yourself that it’s natural to feel all emotions, including being afraid.
Try mindfulness meditation. Mindfulness meditation can help you explore your feelings without judging them, which can help you work past your feelings of fear. UCLA offers free downloadable MP3 guided meditations. You can also find free videos and tutorials at the Harvard Pilgrim website.