(The following was published on 7 March 2015. It was sampled from The Huffington Post.)
Passion finding has been the topic of several conversations with friends recently and is a clear reminder that many of us will reach a point in our lives, if you haven’t already, where the desire to leave behind the mundane is too strong to ignore and figuring out what we love to do becomes an unavoidable question with the answer not always showing up in a big transparent way.
We feel this intense urge to just “figure it out.” But, when we look around, that passion is nowhere to be found and we aren’t where we truly want to be. It frustrates us. It keeps us up at night. It makes us anxious as we notice more and more time is slipping away while we sit around confused. We watch others who have seemingly identified their “thing,” their passion, their calling, and we hope one day that will be us.
While I don’t feel like I’m remotely qualified to tell others how to live their lives by a long shot, I am the most qualified person to speak on my own life and share the things that I’ve found helpful in pushing me along my journey to figuring out what I’m most passionate about.
With that said, here are seven ways to find your passion:
1. Do many things.
I really can’t stress the importance of this one enough. Having lots of interests may feel overwhelming, but it’s actually a great problem to have despite how much you feel you’re “all over the place.” When you’re on the journey to figuring out what you love most, this is one of the most crucial steps, and it’s actually quite simple. Do things. Do a lot of things. It’s better to have lots of options and interests than none at all. So, kudos to you for not being boring! Make a list of all the things you’re interested in, pick two to focus on first and then get busy. Find some classes to see if these things are something you really want to pursue further. If you realize it’s not what you thought it would be, scratch it off of your list and move on. If you end up loving it and find yourself consistently wanting to do more of it, well then you’re on to something.
2. Always stay true to yourself.
Just because your degree says you have fulfilled the requirements to go out and get a job in a certain industry doesn’t mean you’ll always love doing that. You’re entitled to change your mind whenever you want and you can and should always follow the path where your heart leads. Where does that path lead? I believe it leads to true happiness. We often try to place limits on ourselves after we’ve invested so much money in school and move into the working world feeling stuck at jobs with horrible bosses, low pay and in cities that just aren’t what we expected. The secret to getting unstuck isn’t hard at all. Stop doing what you hate and begin taking the steps to doing what you love. You don’t have to feel confined to a box and you shouldn’t worry about being defined by one thing.
As much as I love traveling, writing and inspiring others through my own journey, I am also passionate about my yoga practice, healthy living and I love sharing my wellness journey with others just as much as my travel plans. I embrace having multiple interests even if I’m not quite sure how I can combine them all into one perfect identity — and right now, I don’t feel the need to.
3. Focus on you.
However you go about finding your passion, you definitely won’t find it by watching and comparing where you are in life to others. If it seems as if your friends are further along in their career or like they have it all figured out, nine times out of 10 I can assure you they don’t have it all figured out no matter how many filters they use on those pictures. But, maybe they did take a big leap of faith, move across the country, or sacrifice relationships to get to where they are. Whatever it is, you can’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle.
4. Let go of fear.
Fear is the ultimate buzz kill. It can convince you to pass up some of the most amazing opportunities all because you can’t see past taking that first step. I don’t know about you but I don’t like walking around in the dark. You don’t know if you’ve got a clear path or if you’re going to bang your knee on the coffee table. But in order to get to the other side of the room so you can turn on the light, you just have to get through the hard part and the uncertainty. In order to find your passion, big leaps of faith are always needed.
5. Be still.
As counterproductive as this one seems, we tend to get so confused at times with all of the thoughts, ideas and emotions swarming through our minds that we get frustrated because we just can’t seem to figure it out. Time is passing by fast and according to our checklist, we were supposed to be knee deep in our passion by age 25. The reality is, for some of us, this takes a bit longer than our expectations want to accept. Sometimes giving ourselves a moment of stillness to simply do nothing is just what we need to realize that what we are passionate about has been right in front of us the entire time.
6. Forget about the money.
A dollar amount should never be the determining factor of what you do in life and if it is, more than likely you will always end up in positions doing things you’re not passionate about just to make a coin. When you are truly passionate about something, you do it because you genuinely love doing it first and then you figure out how to make a living from it.
7. Know that everyone won’t “get” you.
If I’ve learned one thing throughout the past few years of my 20s, it’s to limit the amount of advice I solicit from people who are not qualified to offer their counsel on what I’m doing with my life. Some people will never “get” you or your visions and that’s okay. It’s not for them to understand anyway. Spend less time explaining or rationalizing your goals and dreams and surround yourself with people who can propel you further while you’re busy working toward understanding your passion.