Looking to get better connected with yourself? To find your true passion? Sometimes it can feel like we work through this life like it’s a checklist, achieving one milestone then the next without ever stopping to understand who we are, what we want, or why we’re here.
And while I can’t offer you much in the way of answers, I can share with you a few ways that I get in touch with what I’m passionate about and how I keep my internal compass pointed North:
Take Some Risks, Try Some Things
Spend Time In The Library
Ask Your Happiest Friends
Inventory Your Values
Unless you’re one of the few lucky ones who has known from birth what they’re here to do, you’re going to need to try lots of things in order to find the thing. That may mean switching jobs, switching relationships, switching countries, switching religions. How will you know what you like until you’ve learned what you don’t like?
Now, when we’re talking about trying new food or décor for the living room this may seem totally doable. But when we’re talking about your true passion, your lifeblood, the things that make you want to get out of bed in the morning, well investing yourself 100% in something and then deciding it isn’t for you is really, really difficult.
It’s difficult because you may like it. I like marketing. I like cooking. But do I capital L Love them? Are they my passion? Ummm… no. It’s difficult because you may have invested heavily in them – bought the equipment, got the degree, told your friends your plans, committed to it mentally. And change is hard. And no one likes to feel stupid or like a failure. And sometimes okay feels good enough.
But it’s probably not. The difficulty is probably worth it. You’re worth it. So don’t be afraid to step out on a limb. (Again, you don’t have to quit your job! Just get organized and prioritized!)
The library is the most humbling and inspiring place. I go there (or a bookstore) almost every week. I love it because I have access to learning virtually anything and everything in the library, and it’s usually quiet enough to just relax.
If you’re looking tips on how to find your passion, I’d say head to the library. Go when you’re in a good mood and wander. Travel light (leave your heavy bags at home), dress for the temperature so you’re comfortable, and choose a day when your schedule is clear.
Literally, pick a spot in the non-fiction section and walk up and down the aisles. Read the spines, stop and peruse some sections carefully, pull down a title or two and flip through.
What are you drawn to? Where does your heart go? What’s exciting? What books would you consider taking out? Is it cooking or gardening? Travel or cycling? French art or Italian architecture? Poetry or corporate copywriting?
When you have no agenda and no intentions, what captures your attention?
Seek out the happiest, most successful people you know. Ask them about their careers or hobbies. About what they do for fun. Ask them how they got their first big break, what their creative process is, what drives them to stay up all night to meet a deadline. Ask them how they’ve overcome the obstacles. Then listen. Really listen to what their answers are. What they say and what’s between the lines. Look for ways to try what they’ve tried, avoid the mistakes they’ve made or reflect on how in tune you are or aren’t with your inner GPS.
Then, and get ready for this one, ask them what they think you’re best at. Sometimes it’s hard for you to see, but the answer is plain as day to everyone else. A lot of times, the things you’re naturally good at turn out to be things you’re passionate about.
Take a survey or hire a coach to help you map out your values. This is an inventory of the non-negotiables. The things that you hold near and dear to your heart.
According to some quiz I did in a corporate workshop a few years ago, I value: values are:
- Humour & playfulness
- Spirituality, sense of purpose & faith
- Appreciation of beauty & excellence
- Forgiveness & mercy
When I look at these, my creative/strategic professional career, my budding yoga teaching career, the books I read, the food I eat, this website, all make a lot of sense! These values also reflect the fact that I love to try lots of things! I’m taking a more shotgun approach to my hobbies, choosing to learn a shit ton of stuff without really mastering many (and being okay with that!).
Create Time For Quiet
One thing that’s been really helpful (and difficult) for me is to create space and time and quiet to be with myself. I’d recommend you too create a ritual where you can hang out with your thoughts. Give yourself over to your heart. Quiet the racing mind. Turn off the phone and tv. Hide away from others needing your attention. Turn inward and listen. It’s in there. It may be whisper quiet or a variation of shouting. But most often what you really love is quite obvious. You just need to listen.
And once you hear something, throw out all the should and woulds and cants. And just accept that that is what you love. Again your passion doesn’t need to be your profession. But you ignore your heart at your own risk. You lose a little piece of yourself every time you make decisions that take you further away, as opposed to bring you closer to that inner passion.
Tapping in and finding out your passion is one thing. It’s a big thing, and a difficult thing. But a worthwhile thing.
You may be passionate about one all-consuming thing. Or you may not be. You may turn your passion into your profession. Or you may not. You may cycle through passions as your life changes. Or you may not.
There is no right or wrong. There is no good or bad. At the end of the day finding your passion is about making you feel happy and whole and real. How, or if, you get there is all up to you!