Find something you’re passionate about and do that. Okay thats easy to say but what if I don’t know what I am passionate about? What if I am not really passionate about anything yet, or I am passionate about a lot of things? This message is so prevalent, we hear “do what you love and you will never work a day in your life” and there are countless quizes and checklists online that you can use to supposedly find the one thing that is “YOUR PASSION”.
I think the process of discovering your passion goes hand in hand with becoming more self aware. I talk to people who are looking for the one thing, the job or activity that will light them up, and it reminds me of the ephemeral search for happiness. We need to make a living, earn money to clothe, feed and support ourselves, and are told to do this in a field that will feed our passion. But not everyone can narrow it down to the one thing they love to do. We see artists, celebrities, and people in the media making a living doing what they appear to love, and think that it has to be the same for us, it has to be huge and glamorous and exciting. I am going to submit that its not like that for most of us.
I have found that it is just as important to find out what you DON’T want to do as it is to finding what you DO. This can and should be a part of your process, of trying new things, changing jobs, hobbies, careers, foods you eat…It’s absolutely okay to start something strong and then find out it’s not what you thought it would be. It is okay to change course many times in your life. A pilot flying a plane from SFO to NY will change course multiple times on the 5 hour journey, but will always arrive at his destination. There can be so much pressure to stick to it, to choose a career, go to school, get the job, buy the house…I am going to put out there to you if you are feeling lost that it’s OKAY.
Finding your passion requires looking inside, not outside. It means looking back and reflecting on the times you were in the zone, or felt joy, or when time just seemed to fly by. What were you doing? Not activities so much, but what were the more simple things that brought on the good feelings. Your passion will develop as you begin to know yourself more fully. For me I have learned that I really like doing things that are hard. I like to do things I used to think were outside my skill-set. I like climbing hills, literally and figuratively. Whether on my feet, my bike, or with a big new work project, these are the things that give me huge satisfaction. I like being the leader, which took a long time to realize. I was bossy when I was a kid, and that became something that I tried to change. There was a certain negative stigma to being “bossy” if you were a girl, so I learned to become a follower. Finding my place again as a leader took me well into my 40’s to find. I have always been super passionate about family, but that took a long time to redefine for me as well. When I realized that we are all part of this big family called the human race, and even bigger family called our universe, it all came together even more.
So where to start? Whatever you are doing, whether you are working at a job that doesn’t quite do it for you, or washing dishes, or at the grocery store, or hanging with your friends, or walking your dog…do THAT with passion. Enjoy where you are at the present moment as if you had created it. Let go of the search and see where you are. The passion you seek may be as simple as making someone smile.