4 Questions to Help You Find Your PassionIt's your place in the world; it's your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live. ~Mae Jemison
I woke up earlier than usual and stayed in bed with the sheet pulled up to my chest thinking. How is it that I’ve come to live someone else’s life? The apartment was quiet. Early mornings were the perfect time to think.
As a child, I knew exactly what I wanted to be. I wanted to take pictures of nature and write magical stories. As an adult, those dreams became distant.
I listened to the cacophony of voices around me, and they all knew what I should want. They all knew what I needed to do: go to college, get a stable job, get married, buy a house, have children, work hard until retirement …
I’d listened to everyone else and tried to contort myself to fit into a mold that just wasn’t right for me, leaving a string of abandoned jobs in my wake, each less suited for me than the last. The only joy I found in the nine-to-five grind was handing in my resignation notice.
Afraid to Try
Have you ever known deep down that what you were doing wasn’t working, but been too afraid to try something new? That’s how I felt.
I went from job to job trying to escape the sense of dread I felt each morning as I got ready for work, but none of the jobs I took seemed right. Nothing gave me that spark that made me feel truly alive. You spend most of your time at work. Shouldn’t your work be something you love?
The job I had on this particular morning was far from the typical office job and was something that I really should’ve enjoyed. I knew I should’ve enjoyed it because everyone I worked with seemed to.
Sometimes you spend so much time listening to others that you forget what your voice even sounds like. You forget who you are and who you want to become. I was so out of touch with myself that I didn’t know where to start. I’d done what I was supposed to. I’d followed the formula, but I still wasn’t happy.
When my family moved overseas, I finally took the opportunity to start a whole new life. This was the perfect time to start again.
I began working on a novel that I’d started, but had never finished, and doing some freelance writing. I also got a good camera and started taking pictures.
I can’t say that everything was honky dory from the start. I made a ton of mistakes. I struggled to manage my time. I struggled to find work. I struggled to stay motivated when times got tough, but that’s life.
People like to come out of the other side of struggle to tell you about how great their lives are now and how you can do it too, but they rarely mention the struggle it took to get to that point.
It’s hard to let go of what you know to try something new. Even if that old thing wasn’t working for you, there is still a part of you that wants to hang onto it. It’s hard to break old habits.
It’s hard to cut a new path and find a new way. You will stumble a lot along the way. I’m not telling you this to discourage you. I’m telling you this to prepare you for the incredible adventure that lies ahead.
Rewards of Perseverance
I’ve experienced incredible lows. There have been times when I didn’t know if I could make it through, but I’ve also experienced amazing highs that I didn’t even know were possible.
I would’ve never known them if I wasn’t willing to take that first step into the unknown to start doing what I love instead of what I thought I was supposed to do. Perseverance brings great rewards. Now I wake up feeling excited about what the day will bring.
Now that I’ve prepped you for the work ahead, let’s look at the first step. Before you can begin to do what you’re passionate about for a living, you need to figure out what that is exactly.
Many people don’t really know what their passions are because it’s been so long since they’ve been in touch with themselves. That’s nothing to be ashamed of.
It happens to the best of us. Below are some questions you can use to get in touch with the part of yourself that feels deeply again to figure out what your passion is.
What Are You Good At?
Everyone is good at something. Everyone has a talent. If you can’t think of one offhand, try to think back to compliments you’ve received from the people in your life.
Do people regularly compliment you on your storytelling or your style? Do they think you have a knack for languages or you’re good at making others feel comfortable? Are you a good listener? Are you athletic? Are you good with animals?
How Do You Spend Your Free Time?
When you’re done doing everything that is required of you, how do you spend your time? What do you look forward to after you’re done with your tasks every day?
Most times you’ll find that what you do in your free time reflects what you’re already good at.
What Were Your Childhood Hobbies?
If you have a hard time thinking of what you’re good at, try looking back at your childhood for clues. What did you want to be when you grew up? How did the idea of doing that job make you feel?
I wanted to write and take pictures because the act of creating helped me feel like I was sharing something important with others. Maybe you wanted to be a fireman because you wanted to help people. I found that my childhood joys pointed me down the path to discovering what I really wanted to do with my life.
What if Money & Success Were Guaranteed?
How would you spend your time? I know some of you are thinking that you’d lay on a beach in some tropical paradise drinking margaritas, but you can only drink margaritas on the beach for so long before getting bored. What would you do that would engage your mind?
You’ll probably ask yourself these questions and come up with a series of things that you think aren’t jobs at all. You can figure out ways to incorporate your talents more heavily into the work you already do.
Knowing your strengths and using them to your advantage will make you a better employee and help you enjoy your job a heck of a lot more.
If you have the entrepreneurial bug though, you might want to do things a bit differently. If the job that you want doesn’t exist it’s up to you to create it. The internet is full of examples of people who took the thing that they are most passionate about and turned it into a full time career.
You just need to think outside of the box. Take a few minutes everyday to brainstorm ways you can get paid to do what you’re passionate about.
You’ll never solve the problem if you don’t take time to think up a solution. Then test some of those ideas out by doing some freelancing on the side to figure out what might work for you.
The only limit to what is possible for you is the limit you put on yourself. Dream big or dream small if you like. I’m not here to tell you what size your dream should be.
Humanity is diverse and every size dream is needed. Every profession helps make this world complete. What I’m telling you is to ignore the fear that holds you back, step away from the worry and self-doubt and commit to doing something you love today.
Life is too short. The sooner you begin, the sooner you’ll recognize the possibilities and start to live them.