Finding your passion can fill many people with a great deal of angst, especially when it comes to finding a career or vocation. We spend so much of our lives at work, so it makes sense to do something you enjoy and which makes you happy. When you do what you love, you will never work another day in your life. But what do you need to do to find your passion?
I think passion is not necessarily just what you find outside of yourself. I think passion is what you bring to what ever you are doing (i.e. being passionate), as well as being the thing you’re actually doing (i.e. doing a job/hobby which is your passion).
All too often we only look at passion as being the “thing” we do that makes us feel a certain way. There’s nothing wrong with this, as we all need to do those things in life that excite us and bring us joy. Yet if you’re unhappy, or perhaps carrying around a lot of unresolved negativity (perhaps hurt, anger, negative thoughts), it’s hard for passion to break through. Negative emotions or states of unhappiness block your ability to actually feel passion – it is challenging to find joy or excitement in anything when you are feeling down or unhappy. If this sounds like you, rather than force yourself into finding a passion, I would start with resolving what is really driving your unhappiness. Once that is healed, the decks become clearer in order to fully receive passion in your life.
If you are ready to find your passion, here are 5 steps below that will help you uncover what your passion is. These steps do not necessarily need to be achieved by the order in which they appear.
1. Be Still
For some of you, being still could feel completely unnatural if you’re not used to slowing down or being by yourself. Our lives are pretty frantic but an important question such as what is your passion deserves the time to be answered. This question needs space and stillness, and if you’re busy running around you won’t be able to see the signs or clues guiding you to what your passion may be.
Neuroscience shows us that insight cannot occur if you’re stressed and under pressure, which makes a lot of sense. Therefore it’s in moments of stillness or in times when you really let go when you gain insight into what truly matters to you and what fills you with joy – i.e. stillness encourages insight into what your passion may be. Being still also allows your intuition to fire up because it has the space to be noticed.
A woman I know created a new business through an idea that came to her when she spent quiet time every morning writing in her journal. Ideas and inspiration come when there’s stillness and space for them to be received.
2. Identify what passion means to you
This may sound completely obvious to some of you, but for others it may be helpful to clarify what passion means to you as passion means different things to different people. When you have that clarity, you will more readily be able to recognise passion when you see it.
Do you consider yourself a passionate person? Are you open to receiving passion in your life? Does being passionate make you only think of romance or can you be passionate in other areas of your life? Is passion the some thing as an interest and if so, why is that? What does passion give you? What does passion evoke? How does passion make you feel?
When I was at University I was drawn to women’s issues and women in the workplace. I also enjoyed writing. Yet I never considered that either of those two topics were a) my passion and b) would be turned into a career. It was only when I identified what I loved and what felt intrinsic within me (see below) that I realised that I was passionate about working with women and writing.
3. What does your Soul yearn for?
I believe that passion is very deeply connected to your Soul – your essence, your divinity, your uniqueness, your purpose – whatever you want to call it. When you match what is inherent and natural within you, with that which fills you with joy, you’ll find your passion. You’ll find what excites you. Just as our Soul wants expansion and expression, passion actually gives you expansion and self-expression.
Maybe you have never asked yourself what your Soul yearns for but when you do, you might be incredibly surprised. Say for instance you are working in a very corporate job, yet you know the work you do has never felt entirely right. Sure you have days, weeks, months when everything feels ok, but time and time again the negative feelings resurface and you know you have to do something about it. So, take some quiet time for yourself and ask yourself what your Soul truly yearns for. Wait for the response. Don’t use your head to figure it out – let the answer emerge.
A man I know who works in the corporate world feels that his job doesn’t really doesn’t fit with who he is. When he did this exercise with me he identified that his Soul actually wants to perform and to make people laugh. He wants to help people in some way and he’d love to do that through performance and laughter – a world away from what he’s doing now.
4. Name what you are passionate about
I guarantee there will be something in your life that you’re passionate about. It doesn’t matter if you’re currently involved in this passion right this moment or not. The important part is acknowledging those things that excite something within you. Perhaps you used to have a passion that you no longer do. Maybe you feel passionate about something as simple as beautiful roses or something more profound such as working with disadvantaged children.
When we start to identify what we’re passionate about, and we begin to integrate those passions in our lives, it sparks opportunities and creates inspiration. Who knows where that one passion may lead?
Grab a pen and paper and write down everything you can think of that fills you with joy and excitement – those things that you feel passionate about. These are those things that you would find hard to live without.
5. Integrate Your Passions in your Life
Pleasure feeds pleasure. When you acknowledge what you’re passionate about and you begin to integrate your passion/s in your life, life becomes not only more enjoyable, but you will find yourself in situations and circumstances that lead you to new opportunities. When you’re doing something that makes you excited, other people pick up on your energy too. You start to resonate positivity and happiness.
If you don’t have space in your life to engage in one of your passions or to take lessons in something you’re passionate about, then get rid of something in your life that’s taking up precious space and time. Or simply start saying ‘no’ to things you don’t enjoy and you feel obligated to do. I know one woman who is incredibly busy with a thriving business that she loves and a young family. She has no time for herself, yet she’s absolutely passionate about water sports. Since she started saying no to some of the things in life that were zapping her time and her energy, she now has space in her schedule to take up sailing again and to join to a rowing club. Because these passions feed her wellbeing and happiness, she’s better with her family and has more energy in her business. She has since identified that she would love to restructure her business so it could be run anywhere – including from a boat! Is this possible? Yes, most definitely. However she never would have got to this place if she hadn’t made a commitment to start sailing and rowing again.
Finding your passion doesn’t necessarily happen over night, so start small. If you’re like my friend who wants to perform and make people laugh, he can take small steps by going to comedy gigs or by joining a local drama club. Who knows what will unfold? What matters though is taking that first, small step.
If you want to know what you’re passionate about, or if you want to find a vocation that is your passion and you’re struggling doing that on your own, then coaching may be the path for you. The great thing with coaching is that you gain clarity and build momentum very quickly. For information about my coaching services, please visit my website.