The one true calling! Your life’s purpose! Your magnum opus!
No matter what you want to call it, it’s important. The only problem is that most people are confused about how to discover it.
In this guide, you’ll learn about a deceptively simple technique that will help you uncover your life’s deepest passion, once and for all.
Finding your passion doesn’t have to be difficult or scary
I’m guessing you might be a little bit stuck with this whole “do what you love” thing.
It’s something you take seriously — it’s deeply important to you, yet you feel intimidated. You don’t want to screw it up. You don’t want to spend years of your life going in the wrong direction.
Unfortunately, life doesn’t come with a manual on finding your passion. There is no guidebook you’re given in adolescence to help you with this important rite of passage. There is no class in school on Making Your Life Matter.
While I can’t claim that this guide presented here will be everything you need (you’ll have to do the work and make adjustments based on your own needs), it is a start that will set you off on the right footing.
But there is one, huge and fundamental shift that you must make if you want to finally live your deepest passion…
Why you must recover, and not discover
Most people will tell you that you need to go on a quest to “discover” your passion. I don’t think that’s the best advice.
Take that counsel and you’ll end up on a Holy Grail kind of quest seeking, striving and straining to find that elusive Ultimate Purpose. And because you make it into such a grandiose endeavor, you’re always questioning it. Always tweaking and second-guessing yourself. You’re never quite sure if you’re on the right track.
Well, I have news for you.
Your greatest passion is within you. And there’s an incredibly great chance that it’s not singular.
Your passion can include a multitude of desires and a melting pot of interests. You can be passionate about many things and not have any of them compete for the #1 spot.
But whether you have one passion or an infinite number of passions, they are within you. Right now. Waiting to be recovered.
Reuniting with your long lost love
The real reason most of us don’t follow our passion is not because we don’t know what it is, but because we’re so out of touch with our hearts that we don’t stop to give our dreams a fighting chance. We see them as frivolous or impractical, and immediately toss them to the side.
Or worse, we’ve become so entrenched in the world of accomplishments, materialism and status that we can’t even connect with what we truly love. The word passion evokes nothing more than the view of a featureless landscape. Flat and lifeless.
The key to recovering your passion is to reconnect with your ability to feel inspired and hopeful. You let go of your mind’s impulse to judge the merit of your passion, and begin seeing its value by the feeling it evokes in your heart. This is the absence of judgment all together. You either feel it or you don’t.
I’m guessing that there are many interests and loves that you once had — whether as a child or adolescent — that you gave up on because at some point you determined that they weren’t practical. There was no money in it. It wasn’t a “legitimate” vocation. You weren’t any good at it. Whatever the reason was, you gave up on it because you came to believe that it was frivolous or foolhardy.
Whatever it is, if you love it, if you feel drawn to it, let that be enough.
Now, let’s talk about money
It’s easy to naively herald Follow your passion! Do what you love and the money will follow!
But we both know that it’s not true. There are many interests we might have that don’t interest others. Or, we might be able to serve others with it, but for us it is a completely self-centered pursuit. There is nothing wrong with either of these types of devotions. They are valid whether or not service and interest on the part of others exists.
However, if you are interested in making your passion your livelihood, then you must consider others, mustn’t you? Yes, of course. But I do want to reiterate: A passion is still valid even if you have no interest or there is no potential for it to bring in income.
So, what are the keys to a passion that is both deeply rooted in who you are and deeply founded in service to the world?
Here are a few keys:
- You must not only have a passion for your craft, but an earnest desire to help others. If you can’t get as thrilled about helping others with your gifts as you get about the gift itself, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to attract others to your message.
- There must be a significant need in the world that you can relieve with your gifts, or an intense passion around your gift. Without intensity, urgency and emotion, it’s unlikely that people will care enough to pay for the solution or gift you offer.
- It must have longevity. No craft will ever become profitable unless you can cultivate it for years or decades.
- It must tap into a cause a tribe is fiery about, or something people can rally around. It needs to have the ability to create and foster community.
How to recover your passion
A common approach to finding your passion often involves looking through a community class brochure or talking to a career counselor. These are okay places to start, but the problem with both of them is that they are usually founded on the assumption that your passion is something you need to go out and locate, kind of like a bad episode of Where in the World is Carmen San Diego?
If you take that approach, you’ll likely set yourself up for a long heartache of soulmate-style searching. You’ll always be wondering if this is the one. But what if you relaxed your grasp and instead accepted that you may have many passions or many desires? And then, when you considered those desires and felt into what called you the most — what do you feel most drawn or pulled to?
Here are some questions that will help you uncover or recover your passion:
- What’s something you’d love to be an expert in?
- What are you naturally talented at? What seems second nature to you?
- In what ways do you deeply enjoy serving others?
- What are you called to in your heart to pursue as a craft or vocation?
- What is a profession you could enjoy exploring for years without ever tiring or becoming bored?
- What are some moments in the past when you’ve felt deeply fulfilled in a project or cause?
- What are some moments where you’ve become completely lost in your work and time ceased to exist?
Avoiding the “angels in the sky” mistake
Most of us, after endeavoring on such an exploratory mission, will expect a very clear and concrete answer. We anticipate a Magic 8 Ball to miraculously tell us that “Your future lies in 18th century cast iron welding.”
Not only do we expect immediate specificity, we expect angels to burst from the heavens and our heart to light up in a blaze of glory at our reunion with what we love.
And to make matters worse, we dismiss any answer or clue that isn’t incredibly specific or doesn’t incite tremors of enthusiasm. The problem is that we expect the fruits of our labor before we’ve toiled in the field.
This is a mistake. Our path will never become completely clear until we start walking it. And we will never be fully excited until we are knees-deep in the work.
This doesn’t mean we should just blindly start hacking away in any direction, hoping that through trial and error we will find our way. The goal is to first have a very clear direction of where we want to head without trying to establish what the exact destination looks like in advance.
The truth is that there is no destination. The destination is the path. And we become more and more familiar with it, more passionate, more invested and more clear about it as we take bold action.
Taking this approach we can relax our need to have all the details at the outset of our journey, and accept that through our forays we will inevitably correct and change course over time. What this means is honoring that our deepest purpose is a living, breathing craft. It’s not something we can whittle down to a few trite sentences. It’s not to be crystallized, forbidding any refinement or iteration.
Our work is beautifully alive, and unfolding every single day.
Your journey starts now
Your journey will be wonderfully unique, as it should be. The only true way to find your passion or your life’s calling will be to follow your heart and listen to your inner guidance. That takes courage, patience and a fierce inner calm that most never cultivate.
I know you have it in you. I know you have what it takes to boldly live your deepest purpose, and bring it to the world in a way that is useful and inspiring. Stay focused on making your gifts an expression of pure love and service, and you will do just fine, no matter how much you my wander off track along the way.
Question: Have you ever stalled following a passion because you didn’t have complete information about it from the very beginning?
Photo courtesy of jaqian
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