How to find your passion, 4 tactics for finding a fulfilling pursuit
8 minute read
Written by Liam Donoghue, Marketing Executive
You can listen to, and download the audio version of this blog using the SoundCloud player.
We’re always told that to be happy in life you need to find your passion.
But what does that mean? Passion isn’t a physical object, it’s not hidden under a rock or lurking around the corner. Passion is something within everyone and it is unique to each individual on the planet.
One person’s passion is another person’s pain, to paraphrase a famous saying. So, if everyone’s passion is unique, and there’s no physical journey we can go on to find it, how do we find our passion?
Are some people destined to get lucky, find their passion at an early age and live the dream? Whilst other, less fortunate people, are stuck in jobs they hate and resigned to a life of misery?
Well, no. Finding your own passion is an inward journey and it relies on looking at yourself and what you value in life. You need to ask yourself what do you enjoy, what do you like doing, and how can you do more of it!
If that sounds complicated don’t worry, we’ve put together this article full of handy tactics and tips to get the search for your passion well underway.
But before we dive into those tactics, it’s vital that we have a clear understanding of what passion is. How can we recognize it in ourselves and, more importantly, we need to define what passion isn’t?
What is passion?
Is it a job? Your dream career? An amazing city, or your significant other? Lots of literature out there will tie the idea of passion to a physical object or place. Whether that location is your office or a city. Traditional thinking would tell you: passion comes from gaining something or securing something.
All of the above are wrong.
Your passion is something that energizes you. If you get energized by doing your tax return (heaven forbid), that’s a passion. Any task, hobby, or activity that makes you excited and want to do more of it, that’s passion.
Your passion can be as simple as cooking a good breakfast on Sunday morning and listening to a podcast (The article author is definitely giving you a look into his life here) if there’s a part of your week or day that you always get really excited about, that is a passion.
We must shake off the perception that passion is a big goal or object. Once you start identifying the everyday passions in your existence you can begin to analyze them and figure out how they can play a bigger role in your life.
Continue reading the article with this new understanding of passion at the forefront of your mind. The tactics we’ve listed below will help you identify, actualize, and in some cases, monetize your passion.
Tactic 1 - Don’t try and find your passion, let it find you
That’s pretty counterintuitive advice but it works. So kick back, take a load off and let your passion come to you!
We’re joking a little here but the principle behind this tactic is great. Trying to find your passion means you’ll constantly be searching for an undefined state of happiness.
Believing your passion is just a job interview or new house away will give you tunnel vision. It will stop you appreciating what’s happening in your life RIGHT NOW that gives you energy.
So, instead of focusing on hitting that next ‘life milestone’ look at your day or week schedule and pinpoint what parts in it give you loads of energy. These parts of your day are probably activities you’re passionate about.
Once you’ve identified what parts of your day give you energy you should figure out how to make them a bigger part of your life. In some cases doing more of these activities could lead you to lose your passion for them and that’s fine.
We can’t be passionate about everything in big doses, so the key here is to keep tracking what you enjoy doing and working out ways to increase the time you spend doing these activities.
You can test and explore these passions until you find something you can’t help but do more and more. Once you’ve found something you could do all day without thinking, you’ve probably found your passion.
Tactic 2 - Accept Passion is fluid
Finding your passion isn’t like the end of a Disney film, the happy couple rides off into the distance, and their lives are set from that point on. Your passion can be fluid and ever-changing.
For some people, the pursuit of a goal is their passion. Once they’ve achieved that objective they have, in effect, lost their passion. That doesn’t mean they’re doomed to live a passionless life, they just need to find another one.
Mel Robbins provides a great anecdote that highlights this fluidity:
‘Whatever energizes you, naturally expands you, feels like possibility, is exciting to do, it might be scary but that doesn’t matter. It has to do with how it makes you feel.
When you were in your 20s money made you feel good, and there’s nothing f*****g wrong with that. It expanded you, it energized you, chasing the money, that was the game, that was your passion.
If what energizes you is amassing wealth, GO FOR IT.
If making money energizes you, figure out a way to make money, if making a difference energizes you, figure out a way to make a difference. It can be in any shape or form.
And the really interesting thing about this is: Because passion equals energy, what you’ll find is that it dissipates over time. When you first start making money, it’s f*****g thrilling. But what happens is: once you learn how to do something once, you can do it over, and over.
It starts to become routine, which means it’s no longer energizing. Which is why every entrepreneur out there goes through the mode of chasing the money, and then you hit the money that you need to hit, and then you say, I’m not fulfilled.
Every entrepreneur goes through that. And it’s because they were energized by the money and now they’re not.
Now you’ve gotta be energized by the next thing. That could be service, empowering others, making a difference.
So when I look back on my trajectory, the thing that energizes me is making people feel like they matter. But it wasn’t always that, back in my 20s it probably was money and that’s fine’
Watch the rest of that interview with Mel on the video below.
It’s normal for people’s priorities and passion to change as they develop as people. For some individuals, their passions will never change, lucky them. But for most of us, as we move through life, what was once important to us can become insignificant.
This isn’t something to be afraid of, its just part of living. If you find yourself stuck in a rut it could be time to analyze why you’re not feeling energized anymore.
You could uncover the energy for your old passion has disappeared and now you need to go back to tactic 1 and look at what’s in your life now that gives you energy and chase that.
Tactic 3 - Allow yourself to be Passionate
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. But if you refuse to open your eyes to beauty (metaphorically I mean) you’ll never see it.
The same goes for your passion. As we mentioned earlier in this article, we’ve been conditioned by society to think passion is a person, place, or thing.
This leads us to believe our passion can only be achieved in a very limited number of ways. A great job, a happy home life, a nice car.
How many times have you seen the clitché of the ‘pushy parent’. They force their children to be a doctor, or a lawyer, as they believe that’s the only way for them to live a fulfilled life.*
This traditional way of thinking about success can lead us to discard our passions as they are seen as frivolous or unsustainable.
“Stop playing video games, grow up, and get a job!”
When this mentality is ingrained into us, you stop seeing the passion right in front of you. The first step to overcoming this mental block is to tell yourself its fine to enjoy the things you enjoy. To find your passion you need to be open to it coming from any source, mindset is key.
Once you have this mindset make sure you live it. Corrina Gordan- Barnes, in her article about finding your passion, gives a really good example of this using a restaurant as an example.
She says if you go to a restaurant when you’re adamant you’re not hungry, nothing will satisfy you. The specials will seem bland and the food uninspiring. The same goes for finding your passion.
If you can only view finding your passion through the lens of a great job or big house, none of your everyday fun activities will feel worth exploring. You might actively look on them with disdain, and that’s a crying shame.
*Note: Passion.io has got nothing against doctors and lawyers, if that’s your passion go for it. We were just using this clitché as a way to emphasize our point.
Tactic 4 - Be flexible in how you approach your Passion
So you’ve found your passion. But is it a career, hobby, or business. It could be all three or none of the above.
As we’ve mentioned previously, we’re told to believe our passion needs to be a life-changing career move or exciting new startup business.
In fact, your passion could be something you pour your evenings and weekends into, and your job could be used to support that passion.
Some people really enjoy a stress-free 9-to-5, all they want from their career is a decent salary and flexible hours to make their passion a reality. You might find that some passions can’t be turned into careers; they could just be hobbies and that’s fine too. What’s important is that you’re always doing something that gives you energy.
I’d like to use myself as a case study to highlight this tactic. My name is Liam, I’m the person writing this article. I’m a marketing executive at Passion.io. I love my job and the industry I work in.
I also moonlight as a club DJ and I have ambitions to run my own events company. DJ’ing is my passion, I love marketing as it helps me gain business knowledge I can apply to my other career. It’s a win-win for me.
Running events is difficult, you need a lot of capital. The type of capital I don’t have at the moment. I could have found that really disheartening and stressful. If I can’t get the finances together to make my passion a reality what can I do? Should I just give up?
Some people at this point will, but I looked at my situation from another angle and thought “How can I keep doing my passion in a way that’s sustainable for me?”. This led me to start a music blog.
My blog lets me engage with other creatives around my town, write about the things I love, and practice my DJ’ing. I’m feeding my passion no matter the circumstances and that brings me joy and energy.
Bonus - 3 questions to ask yourself to help you find your passion.
At Passion.io we’re passionate about passion. Helping people find their passion is what gives us energy, which is why we had to come back to this article with 5 more tips to help you find your passion.
In the article above we’ve detailed the tactics and steps, you should take to make your passion a reality.
But if you’re struggling to find your passion what then?
You can start by asking yourself these 5 questions. They’re designed to get you thinking about what you want from life and what you enjoy. Consider these questions your first steps toward living a passionate life.
How many times have you been at a party and a friend or acquaintance is talking for hours about some niche hobby.
Beekeeping, knitting, model shipbuilding, for example.
Something that you find totally uninteresting yet can’t stop listening to. You’re glued to every word. The passion in their voice is unshakable.
Nobody else seems to be interested in what they’re saying but you’re drawn to the way they’re talking. This person has bored everyone else in the room to tears but they haven’t noticed. They keep chatting away because they love what they are talking about.
This point leads us to our first question:
1. How can you bore people at a party?
We’ve all been there. Stuck in the corner of a room listening to someone speak about their passion. Trying to remain interested. But how often have you been the person doing the talking?
Look back and you’ll probably find that on more than one occasion you’ve been boring someone to tears at a party about a passion you love.
Find that conversation. Was it DJing (The author's guilty pleasure), Italian cooking, rock-climbing? There will 100% be a time when you have done this.
If you can talk incessantly about something, that’s a good indicator of what your passion is. Or at least the beginnings of a hunch.
Next time you're at a party or making small talk take active notice of what topic you gravitate to. There are clues aplenty in them.
Your local community wants to honor you with a statue. They have decided to erect it in the
town square. It’ll be cast in gleaming bronze and set on a plinth that will overlook the whole town.
You are beside yourself with happiness, so humbled you’re getting recognized for your great achievements. But what achievements are they? What deeds do you want inscribed in granite, for all the world to see? Long after you’re gone?
Do you want to be remembered for your charity work, sporting greatness, or business prowess?
This is our second question:
2. If society was erecting a statue for your achievements, what would they be?
How do you want to be remembered? What do you want people to say about you when you’re gone? Something good I hope!
Thinking about the type of impact you want to have on the world is a good way to find your passion. On a very high level it will begin to guide you down a career path or vocation that will help you achieve your goal.
You want to be known as someone who eradicated poverty. Then charitable work could be a good thing to research (This is a very basic example but you get the picture).
On a more day to day level, thinking about the legacy you want to leave the world helps keep you motivated and driving towards your passion. It can help with decision making as you think “Which path will get me to my goal of X,YZ”.
How do you want to be remembered? A great question to ask if you want to find your passion.
That’s it. You’ve quit your job, paid off the mortgage, and booked a 6 month holiday. You’ve just won the lottery. Let’s not go into details about how much you’ve won, but put it this way, you’ll never have to work again.
The world is your oyster, anything is possible, no debts, no doubt, no struggle. You’re free, what do you do?
If you’re like me you’ll probably spend a year traveling, relaxing, and enjoying yourself. But what do you do after that?
Life can’t become one endless holiday. You’ll need to find yourself a new purpose. This is the crux of our last question.
3. What would you do if you won the lottery?
When money isn’t an object you need to think hard about what to do with it. Asking yourself this question is a great way to hone in on what you’re passionate about. What would you spend an endless pile of money on?
This is a great question for finding your passion. Often what we see constraining us from achieving our passion is the financial burden it would place on us. Remove this and you can begin to see what you’d love to do and start making a roadmap of how to realistically get there (Hint, it's not by winning the lottery).
Passion isn’t a person, place, or thing. If you’re looking for your passion you’ll never find it. Trying to chase someone else’s idea of a fulfilled life will leave you stressed and miserable.
The best course to take if you want to find your passion is to; slow down, look around you, and ask yourself “What gives me energy in my everyday life?”. You might find that your passion has been staring you in the face all along, or that you’ve been refusing to acknowledge what you love as you’ve been busy in the rat race.
Your passion can be anything or anywhere and once we understand and accept that we can all start living passionate lives.