Finding Your Passion
This idea, finding your passion, may seem trite or trendy or even simplistic; who doesn’t know what their passions are? Well, surprisingly there are many who really have no idea, or are not in touch with them. Many live lackluster lives, going through the motions and not connecting with much meaning other than in relationships, and sometimes not even then.
Some people say they have no passion, that they need help creating or building it. I believe passion is hardwired, but sometimes it needs uncovering and cultivating. Watch children play, or listen to them tell you stories…it’s easy to see that they tend to feel passionate about many things. Does this passion just disappear as we age? I don’t think so, but many things can get in the way.
In today’s ever-busier, ever-more demanding world, most people find their minds overrun with information and doing…right now you can probably list at least a couple of people you help or take care of, five decisions you have to make soon and ten things you need to do. Where are you on that list? If you’re like many, you’re at the bottom, if you made the list at all.
If you’re not paying much attention to what you need and every moment is filled with doing, no wonder it’s difficult to connect with your passion. One of the keys to finding your passion is learning and practicing mindfulness and stress reduction techniques. When you slow down and become more self-aware, really spend some time with you, you can observe thoughts and feelings and pursue what matters to you. This can’t occur while you’re online or texting, watching movies or gaming, even if you’re alone, nor while spending time with others.
When you are alone, quiet and mindful and paying specific attention, you can try some simple techniques to become more aware of your passion.
Tips for finding your passion
~Make a list of when you are really happy, really angry/frustrated, really fearful, really excited…basically when you feel strong emotions.
Explore this in more depth and see what comes to you. Generally a passion will energize you—it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be ecstatically happy, but your feelings and energy will be heightened. This may be joyful or exciting, or very centered or inspired. It will likely keep your attention for a long time…you’ll feel like you could do or experience this thing very often and never grow tired of it. And likely, while you’re engaged in this activity or experience you probably lose track of time and stop being aware of much else.
Sometimes passions are identified through things or situations which result in emotions like anger or frustration, or fear. If you find that you are not only extremely troubled by an issue, but can’t stop thinking about it, perhaps if you focus on it more at length, with no distractions, you’ll discover a passion for working to change it. Or perhaps thinking about it more will lead to a related issue or activity which holds your interest and passion.
~What are the things you think about often, that come back to you again and again?
Do you daydream about the same things often, even to the point of distraction from work or duties? Maybe friends or family members say that you are obsessed with something, that you’re always talking about it. Do you dream often of something? If you sit down and really give your attention to this for a while perhaps you’ll realize it’s really important to you and it’s always on your mind because it’s a passion.
~If money and situation were not factors, what would you do/what changes would you make?
Perhaps your answer to this just doesn’t seem feasible. Still pursue the gist of this idea (and whether it’s truly impossible) and what you love about it…what feelings come up, where does it lead you?
~Peruse a catalog of classes at the local community college or online workshop resource.
Which listings interest you most or sound really exciting? Which do you wish you could take if you had the time and/or money? Think about these more in depth. Our interests and hobbies aren’t always our passions, but if we spend more time doing them, or even thinking about them, we may find that they are.
~When do you become really animated while talking about something?
If your heart rate increases while talking about something and you start talking more quickly and people say you’re really excited about it, you’re probably passionate about it. If you find yourself unable to hold back a huge smile while thinking of something, you’ve probably been successful in finding your passion, and you likely have others if you can allow them to surface.
~What did you always want to be as a kid, or what really stands out from your childhood that you felt excited and happy about?
These may have become refined, but there’s likely still something that gets your energy flowing now as it did then.
“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” – Oprah Winfrey
Great, so you’ve been successful in finding your passion…now what? Now you just need to learn how to cultivate and follow it. Next time: Following Your Passion.