Don’t Know What You’re Passionate About? Here Are 15 Ways To Discover It
Josh Richardson | all things healing
For some, hobbies become their passion and they always have a strong foundation for pursuing what they enjoy. For others it’s more complicated because they either have trouble discovering the challenges that inspire them, or that one thing that really makes them tick. Either way, we all have something that excites us, and once we’ve found our passion we can grow it into anything we like, whether it be a business, a hobby, a people’s network or simply something that inspires us to get out bed in the morning. When we’re in our passion, we have endless energy, we’re never bored and we are always striving to improve ourselves doing what we love. Here’s how to discover your passion.
Finding passion in your workplace may be a difficult task since the crowded, competitive, materialistic and often frustrating environment is often not conducive to finding what makes you excited.
You must start with the belief that you can turn the grind of your workplace into grist for your excitement and passion. Then adopt the following measures and see how your life changes.
1. Identify your personal values: These values are the ones that give you the greatest joy and satisfaction. You feel deeply passionate about them as they come naturally and do not create any internal conflict. These values often surface during challenging times or when you are forced to make difficult life choices, such as after great personal or professional loss, the onset of a serious illness, an operation or burnout.
Most people’s innermost values emanate from family, work, self and service. These could include personal accomplishments, security, independence, friendships, integrity, power or community work. Identify yours and write them down. Then have a look at them every day.
2. Interact with people who have the same interests: People generally like talking about themselves and their passion, so you’ll likely get a lot of good information from those people who are interested in the same things you are. If they’ve turned it into a business model, find out how they’re managing that side of things while still enjoying what they do. Assess their reactions when they talk about your passion. Are they engaged — or bored? It’s important to be a fair witness and listen both objectively and subjectively to others about the same things you love yourself.
3. Ask Why: Our brains are wired to be curious. As we grow up and “mature” many of us stifle or deny our natural curiosity. Let yourself be curious! Wonder to yourself about why things are happening. Ask someone in the know. The best way to exercise our curiosity is by asking “Why?” Make it a new habit to ask “why?” at least 10 times a day. Your brain will be happier and you will be amazed at how many opportunities and solutions will show up in your life and work.
4. Change your story: We all tell ourselves stories all the time about who we are, what we’re capable of, what’s impossible and what we deserve. If we can identify our self-limiting stories (I’m not good enough; I don’t deserve to be happy, etc.), then we can begin writing new stories that are grounded in confidence and courage, and map out actions that move us from one to the other. You are capable of anything you decide is relevant to you. Your story is your own so don’t try a duplicate somebody else’s story.
5. Get work-life balance: Once you have narrowed down on your innermost values, reorganise your work and activities around them. For example, if you need more work-life balance, then start by planning your day more efficiently. Avoid spending too much time on social networking sites, coffee breaks or chat sessions and procrastination. You will be amazed at how much time you will save. Be open to realistically realigning your ambitions accordingly. Take on only as much as you can comfortably manage within your regular working hours. Learn to say “No”. It is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.
6. Recognize the themes in your life: We all have them. What do you constantly gravitate towards? Recognizing the recurring themes in our lives creates a pattern for us to either follow or change. What themes or lessons seem to constantly surface in your life? What are you drawn to again and again? What areas of life seem to be full of discomfort and pain? What areas are full of joy and light?
7. Practice work wisdom: Be understanding with your peers and colleagues, irrespective of their power or position. Avoid being part of office politics and discourage your team from doing so. Keep your interactions transparent. Minimise conflict; nip it in the bud by having a straightforward chat with the person concerned.
Keep an open mind and be tolerant of other people’s opinions, even the ones you disagree with. Your life will become less stressful when you minimise conflict, a lot of which is anyway a result of your own rigidity and intolerance. Remember that if you considered the life experiences of others, you would probably be just like them. This understanding is wisdom.
8. Push past the fear: There is nothing the fear but fear itself. We are never afraid of what we think we’re afraid of. We are only afraid of the fear and this prevents us from moving forward. Too often we get wrapped up in the expectations we set for ourselves and these are often centered around our fears. It’s so seductive to tell ourselves that’s we’ll go after what we want when we have more experience, more money, or more time, but the truth is, that will never happen. We must identify these excuses as masks for our fear. It’s only when we get clear on our fears and recognize how it is holding us back, we can begin moving forward.
9. Cycles of consciousness: Your consciousness waxes and wanes throughout the day . For most it seems to go through 90 minute cycles, with 30 minutes of lower consciousness. Watch yourself to recognize this cycle. If you learn to recognize and track your mental state, you can concentrate on important mental tasks when your mind is most “awake”. For creative insight into a problem, do the opposite. Work on it when you are in a drowsy state, when your conscious mind has slowed down.
10. You are not a victim and never have been: When you truly understand that EVERYTHING that has happened in your life has been for your highest good, you will naturally be called to serve rather than experience what you believe is suffering. And we serve through sharing our lessons and passion. This service does not necessarily need to translate to a career. As we evolve from suffering to love, we naturally feel more passionate about everything in our life no matter what our job may be. We see that true passion is love. Loving who we are, loving what we do, loving each other and sharing love wherever we go.
11. Authenticity in communication: If you have a team, encourage them to talk honestly and without fear. Create a ‘safe space’ in which people feel free to speak the truth without fear of reprisal. And practice the same yourself. Most issues get resolved once you allow people to be truthful in a safe and respectful environment. Creative solutions emerge and people feel more connected and aligned. Each individual then gives their best, making teams and organisations blossom.
12. Pay attention to who makes you annoyed or jealous: Yes, you read correctly. Take a closer look at what annoys you. Is the truth behind your annoyance that you really wish you could live so freely, that you didn’t have so many serious responsibilities and could be as liberated as they are in what they do? We often judge and are annoyed by things we are most passionate about ourselves.
13. Embrace personal growth: Personal growth is the result of introspection and taming your ego. At work, you could start this process by learning to see the difference between disagreements and personal attacks, between feedback and criticism. Don’t let your ego get in the way of absorbing relevant inputs from co-workers as that could actually help your own growth.
14. Notice when you lose track of time: Time does not speed up when we’re having fun, it actually slows down. We think it speeds up because we can spend endless hours doing what we love. You will often lose your sense of urgency when you are in your passion. When you start reverse clock-watching and get annoyed when time goes by, you’re on to something. What would you love to spend hours doing, that you never get enough time to do? That’s a passion, and you probably need to do it more than you are.