I’m sure that almost everyone viewing this post has once questioned what their passion is in life. When you hear stories about how people finally found their passion, the stories may involve someone meeting someone inspirational, a gift delivered to them as a child, or a friend encouraging them to take a class. Unfortunately, not all of us will have these experiences. Many of us will have to find our passions all on our own. Some of us may be in situations where we had our passions and now are in a situation where we can’t do that anymore. So how exactly do you identify your passion? I’ll provide you with some tips that will help you take steps to identifying your passion in life.
How do you define success?
Before discussing what your passion may be, you need to first define success. This is an absolutely important step that cannot be overlooked. Our passions are sometimes hidden behind incorrect definitions of what success is, so being able to correctly define success for yourself is very important. Society often dictates that the amount of money you have, material items, beauty, or being famous defines success. Often times what makes us passionate can heavily conflict with the above items. Finding your passion involves you making your own definitions about what success is. Your passion may not look glamorous on paper, which is how it can be easily overlooked. Define success for yourself. Try not to let the definitions of others conflict with your own definitions of success.
Remember, this is YOUR passion. Try to not become discouraged by others.
The second step is to make sure you are thinking about a passion for yourself. Often times we think about our passions in relation to what our parents, friends or significant others think. There will be people in your life who may encourage you to pursue something different. Some people might not understand how you can find happiness by following your specific passion. That’s fine. It is their life, and we are talking about your life. Be confident about what you are passionate about and stick with that confidence.
Create an environment for finding your passion.
You have to be at a place to identify your passion. It’s nearly impossible to understand what your passions are when you are surrounded by discouraging friends, family members who place pressure on you, or in an environment where you are frequently feeling stressed. Being in an environment like this may help you make the mistake of incorrectly identifying a passion. Create a space to think about your passions. Surround yourself with positive people who want you to be truly happy. If you are overloaded with work, then contemplate this during a time when you have a free weekend. Avoid stressors. If you live in a home where things are stressful then take an afternoon and contemplate this in a calming area.
Start with looking at your talents.
To help get yourself moving in the right direction, try considering what your talents may be. What do you find easy to do? What is something people compliment you on? Following your talents can help lead you to find your passion and in very unique ways.
What gets you excited? What do you like to read about?
Think about the topics you really love reading about. Try to consider all the things that you find very exciting and love to be involved with. Spending time thinking about what makes you excited and piques your interest will help guide you with identifying your passion in life.
What are your inner needs?
A passion typically satisfies some part of an inner need. That is part of why performing that action is so fulfilling. Do you have an inner need to help others? Do you want to express your creativity? Finding out your inner need is crucial. You might say well, I love sports and that’s what gets me really excited, but then what? What if you are not in a position to play sports professionally? What are your options? Identifying your inner needs will lead you to a more specific passion such as coaching a local team or writing a sports column. There are multiple ways to be involved with your passion. Identify those ways!
Give it a shot. Get out there and take some action!
You will not identify a passion by simply thinking about it. You have to go out there and give it a shot. I remember when I was younger, I thought I might want to be a counselor. After learning more about it and taking some classes, I realized that this was not my passion. I wanted to help people but doing it in the form of counseling was not my cup of tea. The only way I made that realization is by getting out there and learning more about counseling and getting more involved in that world. Doing that led me to something I felt far more passionate and excited about.
Be open to multiple passions.
Who ever said that you have to be passionate about one thing? Life is too complex to simply limit yourself to doing just one thing. Trying to find a passion that will sustain you for the rest of your life may end up frustrating you and may make you feel bored someday. You also might end up in a position where you can’t do that specific passion, and then what do you do? Focus on finding a few things you are passionate about. Personally, I love helping others, traveling, designing things to help people learn, and so on. All these are my passions and it helps me to stay focused to have multiple things that help me stay fulfilled and happy.
Finding your passion will take time and does not happen overnight. Often we get excited and start identifying passions that may not actually be something we are passionate about. Finding your passion will take time and can be a process. You may try something and realize that this is not something you want to be involved with. Give it time.
Ask others for help.
I remember that an old friend of mine used to want to be a lawyer. She felt that was her calling. Personally, I didn’t agree at all and thought it might be a bad career choice. After speaking with me and a few other friends, she asked us “what specifically could you see me doing?” We explained to her that she would be an excellent teacher. She’s doing that now and loves it. You should not have others control what your passion is, but when you are really at a loss, the input of family and friends can be very helpful. Close friends and family members are able to see your strengths and can identify when you seem really happy. Ask them for their advice and consider what they have to say. It might help you to identify your passions.
Be flexible with how you use your passion.
Not all of us can just quit our jobs and do what we love. If you are trying hard to make ends meet, then trying to pursue a passion as a career may be a step in the wrong direction. It’s important to integrate your passion into your life but that does not necessarily mean through your career. Find other healthy mediums to express your passion! If you have the flexibility and means to make your passion a career, then go for it! If you don’t have that flexibility then view it as a side project, another hobby, something you commit to for a few hours per week.
Your lifetime spans many years and passions can develop and change. Try to not feel frustrated when something that used to make you happy, does not anymore. Our lives are transforming and something you may have loved when you are 25, may be much different when you are 60. My mother, for instance, loved helping the homeless and started an organization that provided supplies and mentoring to homeless individuals. It was a successful endeavor and brought her happiness for close to 15 years. After some time, she did not feel the same excitement for it. She is now mentoring and providing classes to juveniles who are in tough spots in their lives and that is what brings her passion. Her overall passion is to help others but the specific details changed. Your passions may evolve and change, and that’s normal and something to accept and not fight against.