What is the first thing that pops in your head when you read this title? A few possibilities may be: “I already know what my passion is;” “Oh great, another article about something pointless;” or “Great, I would like to rediscover what my passion is in life…”
Your answer should help to show where you stand with the topic. Wherever you stand, it is certainly worth your time to go through the following steps in order to accurately assess where you are and where you want to be.
1) Change Your Core Beliefs—Many people find it difficult to even imagine a better life because deep down they don’t believe it is possible—for them. They may think that life is easier for others and that they don’t have enough time in order to do the things that bring them joy. It is possible that they are stuck in the “real world” and believe “this is just how life is” unfortunately.
If this is you, then you will need to focus on changing your core beliefs before any other step. For example, years ago I was under the belief for a while that I couldn’t get another job. The modern-day economic recession had turned my industry upside down and no one dared to quit his or her job. I felt trapped. This belief was apparent in my daily negative self-talk and decisions to limit myself from personal progress. If you had asked me what was going on at the time, I would have said that I was merely stressed out. It was not until I began reading certain self-improvement books (such as Fearless Living by Rhonda Britten) and online resources, that I discovered my core belief was holding me back from rediscovering my passion, finding work and an environment that I would enjoy, as well as experiencing freedom in general.
How do you know what you believe? It is easy to become inundated with the tasks of everyday life to the point of oblivion. Simply ask yourself these questions to get started:
- What is holding me back from allocating time to do things I really want to do?
- If given all the resources I feel that I need—time, money, help—what would I love to do? What images come to mind?
- What holds me back from taking risks—both on a small and large-scale?
2) Write It Out—Take the time to write your narrative timeline, as Julia Cameron instructs in her books on the journey to creativity—such as in The Vein of Gold. Start off by writing an outline of your life and then go back and fill in the details. Describe the memories that jump out at you, no matter how insignificant they may seem. What did you enjoy doing as a child? What did you experiment with in your teenage years? Continue through each phase of your life until you come to the present. As you recall various events, you may be surprised at how many interests and abilities you have had over the years. The focus needs to be on which interests and activities that made you feel alive.
Here are some questions that may help you with this important step:
- What did you imagine doing one day (while you were a child)?
- What did your parents or other adult tell you not to do because “there’s no money in it” or another reason?
- What did you enjoy about your favorite classes and extracurricular activities?
- What gives you a real confidence boost when you do it? (Not because of what anyone says to you, but because of how it makes you feel.)
It is also helpful to write in a journal what you are thinking and feeling during this process. This probably seems like a lot of writing, and it can be, but it is worth it. These writing pieces will not be tossed aside. Instead, they will be treasured as you develop more understanding and thankfulness moving through the process.
3) Test it Out—Feel free to take an interest analysis, although you should not view the results as the golden answer. These types of tests can be a convenient way to discover other interests you were not aware of and will help to expand your mind to the possibilities. Simply search for “interest analysis tests” online and you can select one to try. One of the most popular ones is the Strong Interest Inventory®.
4) Counsel with a Friend—Talk with someone you trust and that is a good listener. If you do not have a friend that fits the bill, then consider finding a life coach to go over everything with, along this journey to discovering your passion.
Here are a few questions to ponder, respond to and talk about with your confidant:
- What have you told people you’ll do “one day”?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- What do you wish you could become?
- What have you done/do that may serve as a form of self-therapy?
The biggest obstacle you will need to overcome is yourself—and your fears. It is important to fully recognize your inner fears and write them down. After doing that, you may be surprised at the inner release you may feel.
As Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”.