Finding your passion can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, it can be a fun and exciting journey if you really put your heart into it. Whether you want to make it a career or just find something you love to do that can relieve stress or bring a little joy, finding your passion can help you live a more purposeful and fulfilling life. Use the ideas below as a guide to move you in the right direction.
Suspend Reality for a Moment
Forget about making money, paying bills, or making it all work – and most definitely forget what anyone else thinks. Don’t worry about how disappointed your mom would be or what you grouchy aunt Helen would say. Allow yourself to let go of the judgements and “what-if’s” and just dream. Ask yourself this question: If I could do anything I wanted to do for the rest of my life, what would it be?
Make a list of all the things you love to do, even the silly things. It can be anything – painting, swimming, reading, watching TV, doing your nails. What do you find yourself talking about all the time? When you get off work, what do you look forward to doing? What are those things you’ve always wanted to do but have been putting off? Write it all down and don’t censor anything; let yourself really shine through the list.
Sometimes things sound a lot more exciting in our minds than they actually are in real life. Start doing the things you wrote down and see how much you really love doing them. If you’re already doing something on the list, do more of it or expound on it. You enjoy making dinner at home, so why not take a cooking class and host a dinner party for your friends? If you’ve had a set of oil paints collecting dust in your closet, get them out and head down to the local art studio. Whatever it is, kick it up a notch and go do it.
Re-Evaluate Your List
Once you’ve had some time to experiment and try out all the things you enjoy, go back to your list and jot down some notes about how it all went. Be honest! If it turns out that you really hate cooking and the dinner party was the least favorite part of your week, cross it off the list. Maybe you discovered something you didn’t even realize you were good at or maybe you fell in love with something you never thought would be fun. It’s all a part of getting to know yourself and allowing your passion to shine through.
Be Realistic but Stay Creative
Once you have discovered your passion, you can start to play with ways to make it your livelihood. This is the point where you want to get back to being realistic. You know you have bills to pay and things you are responsible for. Can you make a living with your passion? Be realistic but stay creative. Maybe there are different avenues you hadn’t thought of before. Connect with other people who are currently doing what you want to pursue. Learn from their experiences and ask for their advice.
Don’t Be Afraid to Start Over
Finding your passion is a process. If you start down a road and realize it’s not what you truly want or maybe it wasn’t what you expected or possibly isn’t realistic enough, that’s okay! Head back to the drawing board and start again. It’s not failure, it’s a sign of a life being lived to the fullest. It’s also perfectly okay if your passion doesn’t end up being your career. You can have both. Many people have incredible hobbies or side jobs that they carry well into their retirement years because it’s not about the money to them, it’s their passion.
At the end of the day, remember that finding your passion is all about you. There is no right or wrong way to discover it and there is no right or wrong thing to be passionate about. Don’t compare yourself with anyone else, and you’ll already be half way there. Keep a journal, be honest, and get out there.