Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.
– Arthur Ashe
Do you ever say this to yourself: My life would take off if only I could discover my passion. You sit in a chair, thinking long and hard about that statement. Still, you are in the same spot. The truth is this: Passion is something we think or something we learn. It’s in our hearts; it’s a desire which we have to move down a specific path. For instance, since around third grade, I have always had a deep passion for writing. This is only stronger now that I’m an adult. But, it’s something from which I’ve never given up. I have a bad habit of starting something and then not finishing it. Though with writing, I always make it to that finish line. Why is that? It’s passion. Nobody is telling me to write, nor do I have to do it. Rather, I have the fire in my belly for writing. I do it for pleasure and for income and. Even still—I enjoy each book I proofread.
The dictionary defines passion as a strong and uncontrollable emotion. You may have a passion for cooking; another person may have a passion for gardening. Still, a third person may have a passion for singing in front of audiences. All of these people, regardless of where they are (or from where they came), discovered their strengths. I consider passion to be a gift. It’s our purpose for why each of us are on this planet. Others may separate the two and that’s completely fine. If you’re searching for your passion, it’s important that you cast a wide net. Follow the strategies below and you’re going to find out exactly what you were meant to be.
Be open-minded to perspectives. If you tell yourself that you can’t hammer a nail, then you’re never going to walk into a workshop. If you insist that you don’t draw well, then the door is closed to you giving it a try. But, if you say that you know how to garden, then you’re going to take the risk and plant your own vegetables. Passion is about nudges and pulls. Each of our interests gives us a nudge. A biology class we take in college could lead to a career as a scientist. Surround yourself with people that have a positive influence on your life. These individuals are your mentors are your cheering squad. They are there to provide you encouragement as you discover what it is you love the most.
A hobby or a passion? Many develop their passions around how they could generate a profit. Craft sites and Ebay are common to find handmade crafts that people have made in their home. These may be the finest of woodworking projects, knitting or even paintings. These crafters are serious about their passion. When you start investing money into it, you have to get realistic about making it a career. Etsy sellers, for instance, may sell their products at trade shows or art fairs. Would you still enjoy it if it was your career? This is a deep and thought-provoking question. If no, then keep the hobby—well, a hobby. But if you have fire in your belly for this hobby, then that is a passion. It’s time to get serious about marketing, how you’re going to get your supplies and how you’ll brand yourself online. Really, that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
Block out the noise. There’s going to be critics whispering: “You can’t do it.” Block them out. If you have doubters resisting that you can achieve success, add them to the list of people for whom you must prove wrong. What if Steve Jobs listened to his critics that he could never work in the technology industry? We may not have the iPhone. If Stephen King or Nora Roberts never put pen to paper, we would be missing out on amazing novels. Critics, in a way, are scared. They know they can’t do what you’re attempting to do. So, how can you do it? Try to keep tunnel vision. Keep your eyes on your goals and achieve them one by one. Sooner than later, your critics are going to get quieter; and, they may even sing your praises.
What makes you curious? It’s always interesting to try new things. If we constantly challenge ourselves, and challenge our minds, then we can find our passion. If you enjoy being out in nature, for instance, ask yourself why. What about nature calls you into it? Is it the sunsets or going on hiking trails? Is it your love for the water—jet-skiing, scuba diving or swimming? Maybe you enjoy winter sports like skiing or snowboarding. Now, how can you develop your passion from these interests? How can a career evolve from it? Staying curious is a great way to keep our brains young. It means that we’re always exploring new ideas. What ideas can you explore which will lead you to your passion?
What did you love as a child? Did you love painting, reading or sports when you were young? Did you have a willingness to help others, or were you protective of your siblings? These are all cues to what can be your passion. For instance, if you felt the pull of a passion for sports, this may have led you to play sports in college. Perhaps you got scouted by a minor league team after college, which led to a pro team years later. Or, maybe you set your goals on the world stage and chased your dream to the Olympics. This all started with you loving your swimming lessons at age six or your little league team. Passions grow out of the heart. We don’t have to think about them; they simply exist for us.
Don’t focus on money. Sure, money is a good thing — but passion is everything. If you work a desk job, it’s going to be a burden unless you position at the company. Don’t you want to love your job? Your passion could thrive into a career if you focus on it. While money is fantastic, you want your passion to thrive on happiness. Each passion won’t lead to monetary gain, and each career doesn’t necessarily have passion. It’s complicated, but you have to know what you love to do. Perhaps you’re happy in your job; that’s great. But if a different passion is pulling you, entertain it. It could make a good side hustle.
Visualize your passion. You have to have that fire in your belly. What I mean is this: You have to wake up each day and love what you do. Once that alarm goes off, you have to be excited about that day. So many of us are stuck in jobs that aren’t built around our passions. We have chosen jobs that don’t challenge our strengths. But whatever your passion is, go after it! You can live life on your terms; you can be successful. It takes planning, of course, but don’t let self-doubt interfere with the bright future you could have as a result of it.
Confucius once said: Choose a job you love and never work a day in your life. This is your passion. Make a list of the top things you enjoy. Then, take time to mind map each one. For instance, the first item on your list may be painting with watercolors. Put that in the center of the page and branch out from it. The next three could be teaching paint classes, selling watercolor portraits or monetizing your blog about watercolors. Branch off at least three from each of those until your page is full. Do the same for each item on your list. After this exercise, you have discovered a passion you love.