Some say passion is not something you can ‘find’. It’s not a noun and it’s not hiding somewhere to be discovered. I’m not sure I agree. Some people advocate waiting for your passion to find you. I disagree. I think that in the act of looking, you are more open to things that you may not have noticed before. In my search, I’m forging new relationships, meeting new people, discovering new fields of interest which could lead me to my career or life passion.
I’m a pretty practical person and I do find this journey I’m on to be quite difficult. Spending time just focussing on healing, is rather frustrating for me since I’m an action-oriented problem solver. I find it hard to wait it out without taking action. So I’ve been reading up on what other people have written on the method of finding one’s passion. I’ve included some themes and have referenced the blogs I found most relevant for me.
Identify your talents, things you love, things you dream about, careers you thought you’d do when you were a kid. Think about things that make you feel connected to a purpose or a vision. Figure out when you’re in flow or when you used to be, if you have lost touch like I have. Some triggers could be asking yourself what you would do if you had infinite money; or thinking about what dreams you have given up on. Identify the themes in your life and your limiting beliefs. What are you telling yourself that you’ll never be or do?
Another way of looking at this is thinking about your legacy. I was once asked in a job interview what will be written on my tombstone. I didn’t answer the question well, but it is a worthwhile exercise thinking about how we want to be remembered. Are you being true to your talents and your integrity?
Brainstorm around what you could do and try to suspend judgment initially. Don’t try to think about the competitive landscape or how you’d monetize it straight away. Doing this might discount something that could lead to a much happier existence. Some people find it useful to write down what other people say they are good at. However, don’t exclude anything that you’re not yet good at because it is possible to learn new skills in your area of passion.
Appreciate your uniqueness, what makes you special. Remember that each of us have something new to bring and recognise that not everyone thinks like you do. Appreciating yourself often opens your eyes to what you love and can help in the brainstorming process.
Slow down and do things like meditation and enjoying the silence. Enjoy the process and the questions – don’t rush. Chances are if you’re feeling in a state of flux, you’re not in the best position to make good decisions. Slowing things down also helps us listen to new opportunities that come our way. They are hard to grab onto if we’re not paying attention. Admittedly, I find this quite difficult but I have even downloaded an app to help me with meditation.
Clear the clutter – literally rid your cupboards of clutter and make space for the new. Learn to say no to things you don’t like, or want. Also consider clearing out emotional baggage by asking yourself what you need to let go of (guilt, anger, resentment). This may also be a time to terminate toxic relationships. Who in your life is hurting you so much that life is better without them? You can choose who you have in your life.
Sample some of the things you’ve identified as options. This may mean signing up for courses, starting a new hobby or reconnecting with one you’ve stopped. You could join volunteer groups, attend seminars or read books in your area of interest. Do some research and find out what people are doing. Pay attention to whether you’re still enjoying it as much as you’d hoped to, and make sure you’re having fun. This might be a time to filter things out of your list or focus on one or two.
Interview people who are doing what you’ve identified as a possible option. Ask about pitfalls and highlights, and find out how they make money from their talent. You can also seek out mentors and find people to support you on the journey of discovery. Change is easier when you surround yourself with people who believe in you.
An aspect of running a business that I really enjoyed was Marketing. I had a lot of fun experimenting with various media and cultivating a brand for our business. From the business not having a website when I joined, I carved out a unique brand with some beautiful elements (created by some very talented people).
In this process, I started to realise that I might become the face of debit order transactions. I could have pushed in that direction and positioned myself as the expert if I applied myself. But I deliberately didn’t do that because I really didn’t want to be known as that expert. Nothing against anyone who does, but it is not my passion and I was uncomfortable with the thought. Douglas Kruger wrote a solid guide to positioning yourself as an industry expert in Own Your Industry. The more I read about it, the more uncomfortable I became. That helped me realise that I was indeed on the wrong path. I’d rather be remembered being a champion for loving your work, than one of debits.
I believe my future is connected with writing and spreading the philosophy of working in flow. I have about 25 to 30 years left of my career, hopefully. I can’t imagine devoting that level of effort and time to something I don’t enjoy. There are far too many people drudging through jobs they hate and spending decades looking forward to retirement. Why not construct your life around what you love so that you savour each day and stop wishing for some future that might not be there?