I truly believe that passion is overrated. Everyone speaks about how important is to find your passion. The process actually reminds me a lot of the quests of gold diggers I read about in all that adventure novels back in my teen years!)
Of course, having passion for something (or someone!), generally speaking, is a very good thing. It motivates us to get out of our comfort zone and do stuff, it offers us PURPOSE. And that’s a lot more important than just finding your passion, because passion sometimes is just a very intense emotional storm which can go away if not nurtured properly and not being given a direction (aka not transformed into PURPOSE).
But first things first. Before experiencing that feeling of having a purpose in your project/career/business/relationship/life etc., you first know to get crystal clear on what makes you a passionate person.
A lot of people already know where their passion is, this post is not for them.
I wrote for the people who are feeling drifted, like they go in life without a sense of direction, who often feel like they are living someone else’ s dream.
I used to be that person. I used to go after a lot of things that were supposed to give me a sense of accomplishment: studying a “profitable” topic in my university years, choosing a “safe” job, putting a lot of time and effort into my corporate finance career so that I be promoted (I actually got to be the CFO of a big multinational company at only 29 years old! — now, thinking about it, that’s kind of crazy), building a business in a “safe” area like accounting because I thought this was the only thing I could do (and being totally bored for the whole 3 years until I finally decided to exit that business) etc.
I had a rough wake up call: I unexpectedly lost someone I dearly loved. So here I am, telling you people not to give up. Don’t settle: we only live once (for all I know).
But wait! Before you think something like “Hey, that’s easier said than done”, I want to tell you that I am here to help you do that. So, if you feel like you somehow lost the contact with your true self and you want to remember what are you passionate about, if your feel that your career/project/business it’s not going like it was supposed to and wonder if it was the right one to pursue, if you are “stalking” people who seem so fulfilled in their lives and are so curious to know what they are doing differently, if you constantly wonder if this is all there is to life, then you should definitely read further.
So how do you start? It’s as simple as answering the below 5 fundamental questions.
Grab a pen and some paper, go in a quiet place and do some brainstorming. Please write down ALL your thoughts and answers, even if some of them don’t seem too feasible to you right now. The purpose is not to find your next career area, but to get a clear picture of what possible directions you may go. So here we go:
1. What did you enjoy doing as a child?
Take your time and try to think in specific terms like what you loved doing at 5 years old or when you first went to school or as a teenager. What were the activities that could keep you busy for hours? For me it was listening to stories and, later on, reading books. I remember one specific spring holiday, when I was 12 years old and for 2 weeks I just stood in bed and read. (it may sound pretty lame for a 12 years old, but it felt sooo darn good! I wish I’d still had time to do this now!).
2. What do you enjoy the most reading about?
Let’s say it is a rainy Saturday afternoon, all your chores are done, you go and make yourself a coup of coffee or tea, sit at your desk and you open your computer and go online to read something. What would you look for? What websites would you visit? What would captivate your attention? What subjects would interest you the most? Or, if you enter a bookstore (I LOVE bookstores!), what section are you drawn to first? Maybe is that section on art, or maybe is the top shelf where the knitting and quilting book are. Or maybe you go straight to the section on marketing, or maybe personal development. The question here is: WHAT PULLS YOU?
3. If time and money were not an issue, what would you want to take a (offline or online) course on, right now?
Is it baking, watercolor painting, playing an instrument, knitting, coding, child psychology, how to grow an online business? What area/subject do you want to know more about?
4. What would you do for a living if you were 100% sure that you won’t fail?
Fear of failure is one of the most common causes of not taking action and doing more of what we want to do. So, if you had a waterproof no-failure hat that you wore every day, what would you do? What would you start? Is it a blog? Would you write a book? Or maybe try to inspire people by public speaking? Don’t censure yourself, sky is the limit. The goal here is not to write down a list of the most feasible things you can do, but just to brainstorm everything you can and get ideas out of you head and onto paper.
5. What subject makes your eyes sparkle when you talk about it with your friends?
Out of all your conversations with people, what kind of topics make you feel emotional and you could talk about them for hours? For me is education, empowering people and online entrepreneurship, these subjects make me look so engaged and passionate when talking about them (people notice this and I also feel it).
The above list of questions is not, by all means, complete. There are much more ways to get to get in touch with yourself and (re)discover the things which make your heart sing. But the list is a good starting point.
So set aside 30 minutes for yourself today, grab a pencil and some paper and answer in writing to these 5 questions. Have patience with yourself if the answers are not popping out immediately, try again tomorrow, just don’t give up. You owe this to yourself.
And remember: once you come up with a list of passions, take action. You think that you are passionate about gardening? Start some herbs growing on your balcony and notice how it goes, how does it make you feel?
Clarity comes only with action.
Originally published at www.passioncreativitybusiness.com on January 2016.