Have you found your Passion in life?
Some days or weeks I feel like I’m completely nailing adulthood; Lily’s homework has been done on time, I’ve stuck to my meal plan and the kitchen is sparkling.
And then out of nowhere I lose my way and all of that niggly self-doubt and self-destructive behaviour comes back in a flash. Suddenly I’m sat wondering if I’m a good mum, if I’m messing up at work or if I even want to do my job? Am I happy? Am I successful? Am I stuck?
I start wondering if everyone else is as ‘sorted’ as they seem – if they are all passionate about their jobs, colour coding their books, revelling in their clean homes, and feeling in love with every minute of their lives.
I’ve tried to speak to people about it before and they just want to throw random words at you like, “follow your dreams”, “do what you love and love what you do”. It’s like they’ve swallowed a book of positive quotes found on Pinterest. Unfortunately it’s not as simple as that in reality. What if you don’t know what your passion is? What if you are stuck in a job you hate simply because it pays the bills? How many people do you know who are truly in a career they are passionate about? I bet the reality is quite low – despite what they might make you believe.
I think that everybody wants to find their passion in life – be that the right person (luckily I’ve already got him), the right career or even the right hobby. But that can seem like such a difficult process at times and we tend to put the task on the back burner, hoping that one day everything will just drop into place.
Unfortunately the chances of everything you’ve ever wanted dropping into your lap are about as remote as Alexander Skarsgard delivering me chocolate to work every time I’m PMT-ing (v remote).
The Solution to Finding Your Passion?
Like anything truly worthwhile in life, finding our passion requires us to give ourselves some time and dedication. We have to work at finding it. Here are 5 steps that can help you find yours:
Like with anything the way you approach finding your passion will be affected by your perspective. If you sit there thinking that you don’t have the time for this, or that you will never work it out then the truth is that you won’t. Have you read The Secret? If you have then think of this as being part of the “law of attraction” – and if you haven’t the law of attraction is the belief that by focusing on positive or negative thoughts a person brings positive or negative experiences into their life. In other words if you go in thinking something is too hard or impossible then it will be too hard or impossible.
Why is that important? Well if you go into identifying your passions with the mindset that you won’t be successful at doing so then you will find it much harder. You might even unconsciously block your attempt at doing so, for example you might ignore the signs that are right in front of you without even meaning to do so!
Analyse and Visualise
Dedicate some time to working on this step – sit back and really think about:
- How do you love to spend your time?
- What experiences and memories in your life are your favourites to look back on?
- When you were younger what did you do in your free time?
- Look at the activities you’ve noted down – what makes you happy about each of those things?
- If you won the lottery what would be the first thing you did or bought?
- What does your perfect day look like?
- What can you learn about your passions from the things that you have listed?
Some people (like myself) are very visual – for me this step involved lots of notes and cutting out images of things that inspire me to stick to a ‘vision board’. Other people might prefer to write their ideas down either in a list or brainstorming session. Whatever you do really spend time analysing your passions. Here is an example of my own below:
My perfect day would be waking up somewhere new, with the sun streaming in through large glass windows and waking me up naturally. I’d sit outside eating breakfast and drinking coffee with my family before we went off to explore. We’d spend time walking around a little medieval town, taking photos of churches and speaking to the locals. We’d sit and eat and then pick up an ice cream for dessert. Our afternoon would be spent at the beach; reading, swimming, having fun. Dinner would be a big family BBQ with lots of dishes and laughter. In the evening I would relax with a hot bath, a bottle of beer and spend some time writing in my journal.
When I was younger I loved to perform in Theatre projects. I loved the excitement, the team work, having the chance to shine on the stage, the feeling of presenting in public, getting to direct projects, being creative and the way I would feel tired and satisfied at the end of the day.
What does all of this tell me? Well it tells me that I like to travel and explore new places. That food and self-care is important to me, as is spending time with my family. It tells me that I love to be by the sea, that I still have the interest in history that I developed years ago. It also tells me that I like to communicate with people (even if other languages), that I like to rest and relax and be creative. It reminds me that I like to push myself, that I enjoyed public speaking and the satisfaction when my vision became a reality. It tells me that I like to be part of a community, that I like to lead and inspire and that I am happy when I work hard and am rewarded for that hard work.
Find the Links
At first glance it might seem like the things that you have listed or pictured on your vision board aren’t really connected.
Spend some time looking at your points for similarities. They might not jump out at you straight away so try thinking outside the box. Here’s an example:
When she was younger Alice loved to play football. One of her favourite memories is a school trip to volunteer in a tribal village in Africa. Alice spends a lot of time in the kitchen experimenting with new recipes. She loves taking Yoga classes and meeting friends for drinks.
On first glance those things might not seem particularly well related but when you sift through looking for similarities and links it’s interesting what you can find. In Alice’s case all of her passions, ie her favourite things to do and memories revolve around other people – from her school football team, to the tribe she spent time with in Africa and the other people in her yoga class. She is a social person and thrives from interaction with others. She is also interested in sports and looking after herself – the football and yoga are clearly linked. Cooking is something that she has a natural talent for, and she loves to hold dinner parties and cook for big groups of friends.
Can you see how those things link and how they can show what Alice is passionate about? Now if Alice was to apply those passions to her career what kind of role do you think she would have? Perhaps she would love to be a sports coach, a nutritionist or even a chef?
Hopefully after you’ve really analysed your points or items on your vision board some common themes might start to come through – for example a few that came through on mine were ‘Social’ ‘Learning’ and ‘Exploration’.
Spend some time finding your links.
Career or Hobby?
Once you’ve worked out your passions in life and how they link together you can work out how they can help your career or whether they should be a hobby instead. Maybe your vision board or written ideas have pointed you in a particular direction and you’ve suddenly remembered how much you’ve always wanted to work with animals, or how much importance you have always placed on developing a certain skill. It’s all well and good realising that you would love to have a career in a certain area but there’s also a lot to consider.
I love to travel and write and I do both of them as much as I can however it isn’t practical right now for them to be my career. I need a role that provides stability and good income to my family – both of which are provided by my current job. That being said there’s no reason why I can’t spend time developing my hobbies and passions into becoming part of my career in five, ten or even fifteen years time. This blog is my way of using my passions for the benefit of myself and others – I document my time, practice my writing and photography, develop my creative skills and technical skills and socialise all as part of this blog. Who knows – maybe one day I will be able to make this my career but until then I will keep my passions as hobbies.
Perhaps for you the situation is that you can see a way to make your passions part of your career – maybe you can retrain or look into alternative roles at your current workplace. Also, really think about if you would even enjoy doing these things as part of your job; for some people a passion is just fun and turning it into work changes it from something you love doing to something you are forced to do.
Maybe this exercise has made you realise that your passions should stay as hobbies to do when you aren’t at work.
Using your passions
The first time I went through this process myself I was really struggling in my career and life. I was stuck in a job that didn’t challenge me – it left me feeling demotivated and bored. I hadn’t been travelling in a long time because I hadn’t prioritised it – instead I had spent my spare time wallowing in what was frankly self-pity. I had forgot what it was like to have and embrace passions.
I spent my time creating a vision board and there were striking consistencies to pretty much everything I had added. Everything revolved around exploring, adventure, creativity and simplicity. Once I started to understand the links I could see what passions I truly had, and how they were missing from my life.
Once I had identified my passions I spent time working out how I could incorporate them into my everyday life. I decided to start this blog. I prioritised saving for travel over other expenditures. I cut out the ways that I spent my time which didn’t leave me feeling satisfied and inspired. I began to embrace new opportunities. I took on more responsibilities at work and eventually changed companies – moving to somewhere that is busier, more exciting and invigorating (even if my role isn’t my dream job). I reminded myself how much I loved the theatre and the skills it gave me – I even gave a public talk on hygge at a local store. I added studying history again to my bucket list and began reading around the subjects I am passionate about.
Finding and then using your passions won’t be easy, and they will change as you change and develop. However I can promise you this – it is worth it.
I’d love to know what you are passionate about – please share in the comments or tag me on instagram in a picture of your vision board or your discovered passions!