How to Find Your Passion – Part 1
(Even if you think it’s too late)
Passion. Everyone wants it. Few people have it.
Too many of us are just going through the motions, flat-lined on life. We live life expecting that when we find our passion, when we’ve got our mojo on, we’ll be happy. But most people don’t know how to find their passion. From our vantage point in the alternative health fields, while depression is at an all-time high in our society, we see it too often misdiagnosed and over-medicated. Often the problem is not that the person feels sad and low, it’s that they haven’t learned how to find and fuel their passion.
The fact is finding your passion is not passive mental activity. It’s an experiential, physical and emotional quest! Most people sit around waiting for their passion to jump in front of them. Or they make a list, or surf the net, and they think about the possibilities. But that’s only one tiny first step.
Sometimes when I ask my clients, “What are you passionate about?” I get a blank stare and “I don’t know.” Then there’s an awkward silence and the client feels embarrassed because she thinks she should know. But how could she? She was ill-equipped to find her passion. At 16, she was forced to choose her career path in school, with the help of a career assessment that told her she would make a great Magician. And then her teachers and loved ones urged her to follow the money and find a career that pays well. And so, she never really sought out her true passions because there was no point.
Our passions are what create the aliveness of life.
They put the zest in our chest, the sparkle in our eye and the spring in our step. It’s our passions that make life enjoyable, and when we aren’t fueling our passions, we wither.
So, here’s the long-overdue instruction on how to find your passion, at any age…
- Get Angry. About something… anything! Look around you. Feel into the pain in the eyes of your neighbour as you pass on the street. Notice the news headlines that irk you. Give your pet peeves some air time and vent by writing or talking. And if you can muster up enough anger to surpass annoyance, frustration and irritation, then find a physical way of letting that anger energy out of you without harming yourself or others (this is a key healthy emotional strategy by the way). And then focus on what you would like changed. How would you do it? What would you create to solve the problem? What is it that you feel most revved up to do? This is pointing to your passion. It could be an after school running club for tweens in your neighbourhood. Or maybe cooking healthy meals for seniors who can’t cook anymore. Or maybe you want to increase the odds of success for women new business owners by providing marketing training, or teach university students about managing money so they don’t get dupped by credit card companies. The possibilities are endless when you open up to the things you really care about in the world, by allowing yourself to get angry!
- Find Clues from the Past. When I was growing up everyone said I should go into a helping profession. In high school I was planning to go into social work because I was so good at listening to people and helping them. For some reason I changed my mind when it came time to apply to university and I followed my grades – all my math and science marks were high, so I applied for a Biology degree program. Then 15 years into my career, I wound up becoming a personal coach. There’s wisdom in the clues from the past! Think back to what you dreamed of being when you were a child – what’s still true for you about that now? What were you naturally good at as a child? One client said her siblings always said she was bossy. The wisdom in that is that she became an awesome team leader because she was good at directing people. Consider your favourite hobbies as a child – were you making crafts or playing soccer? Building with lego or sculpting with clay? All of your childhood interests and dreams are clues to your passions.
- Tune in to your Inner “Wanter” Muscle. When did you decide that it was safer not to want things? You wouldn’t get your heart broken after all. Nor would you ever have to be disappointed. So you learned to want less and expect less and your “wanter” muscle atrophied. To build this muscle you have to use it. You have to re-learn how to tap into your desire. Give yourself permission (decide that it’s safe) to want things again. If you don’t, you won’t get what you want, because you haven’t acknowledged what you want. And you probably wouldn’t recognize it when if you did get it! So it’s time to do some daydreaming and window shopping in life. Start looking at the world like a window shopper – I want that, I want that, I don’t want that, I want that, and so on. The more you want and don’t want, the clearer you get, and the stronger your wanter muscle gets. And spend time daydreaming. Take an idea and expand on it, add details, play with what if’s. Revel in the power of the imagination and the fun of directing it with your desires. Have you ever bought a lottery ticket? It’s $4 for 15 minutes or more of pure wanter muscle work… If I won, I’d do this, buy that, give so and so this, go here and there. It’s so much fun to daydream! Go on, build up your wanter muscle today!
Click here for Part 2 in this blog series where we’ll cover the last two ways to find your passion plus a bonus tip! And you’ll learn the most important, and yet most often missed strategy for finding your passion.
Until then, be free… and wild!