How to Find Your Passion and Change Your Life
Everyone says, “Follow your passion.” But what if you can’t find it?
Find your passion; don’t wait for it to find you.
Pick the scab of dissatisfaction. Hidden passion often lurks under the surface of discontent. Explore what you don’t like.
What don’t you like about you? Forget what you don’t like about the world. Passion to write Leadership Freak, for example, grew out of disappointment within me – about me.
Explore what you don’t like about what you don’t like?
Comforters kill passion. They’re enemies. Reject comfort. Find passion by following pain. Burning discontent guides. Those close to you feel compelled to help you feel better. They should help you feel worse.
Follow your strength if you can’t find your passion. Give your abilities to others. This option falls way below following pain, but if you don’t feel dissatisfaction, try it.
Passion isn’t found in current activities, if it was, you’d feel it now. Passion is more about what you aren’t doing. Explore new channels for strengths. Follow your strength if it’s buried, neglected, or under-utilized.
Your contribution to the world rises up when you work on you. Frantic living muffles passion. Reflect every morning or evening. Take walks. Sit quietly 10 minutes a day.
You can’t escape the tyranny of the urgent because you haven’t given yourself a chance. Walk even if you can’t get stuff off your mind, for example. Keep doing it.
Passion is first about being, then about doing. Embrace the future you.
Talk with someone who’s found their passion. Forget success; look for contagious joy coupled with discontent. Miserable people won’t help.
Was passion a flickering flame that eventually erupted? Did it strike like lightening? How much of their passion is about them; how much about the world?
How did you find your passion?
How do you help others find their passion?
For me, right now….I’m trying to figure out:
Has my passion changed?
Or am I simply burnt out on my current deliver and fulfillment outlet for my passions…aka…my career?
Either could be the case. Your post is timely and food for my thoughts.
Thank you Eric. Great topic. When life is too full it’s hard to find our passion. We can be full of positives or negatives. I’m not sure it matters. Passion needs air to breath and grow. Best wishes
I like this write up, cos is strange to me…. I hv not tried it b4, i think i need 2 give it a try and see maybe i will get what i want… i will give u feed back in months time…..
I’m not sure that planning to do this over several months is fruitful. You’ll either make it too complicated or put it off. As I read Dan’s post, obstacles that are keeping me from finding my passion became immediately obvious, although I’m sure there are more.
My point is that this is a reflection that can give results very quickly.
And as others have said already, the conclusion is a moving target. It will continue to evolve.
I like the idea that passion evolves. It lends weight to the idea that passion if first about being then about doing.
I found my passion a long time ago. I can’t remember the exact day. My passion is helping people through performance.
I help others find their passion by challenging them to over come thier fears. Stop being scared, and start making a plan. I help people do that.
Clarity is a beautiful thing… thanks for jumping in today, Todd
Oh this post was really poking at me like a sharp stick. I know my passion. Or I thought I did, until you starting saying if I knew it, I’d be living it.
I thought I was one of very few people who really knew her passion.
I’ve certainly had enough painful experiences to grow from.
But I’m trying in so many ways to jumpstart what I believe I should be doing and most of those efforts aren’t having the effect I believe they should be having.
I honestly believe I’m good at reflecting. I can’t exist without it. But you have really stirred the pot this morning, Dan.
It’s one of the things I love/hate about you.
Thank you Dauna! You honor us by letting us catch a glimpse of your journey.
I love being a sharp stick…. I want to be nice but if I had to choose, I’d be a stick. Boy, that sure sounds weird!
I wonder if part of the dilemma is the distance between passion and results. When we don’t see the results we want we question the passion.
On the other hand, is it possible that we aren’t as skilled in the area of our passion as we believed?
You got me thinking, too
This post is directed at those who don’t know their passion. Can we know our passion but struggle with execution? Or, is successful execution that reveals passion? Probably both??
As important as knowing what you want to do is knowing what you don’t want to do. You hit the nail on the head with that. When I reflect and think about what isn’t working for me, I can identify those things that are draining; those things that zap energy instead of building energy.
I think it’s important to acknowledge too that passion changes and that’s okay. My passion today is morphing and maturing, versus what made me passionate earlier in my professional career.
The other thing that occurs to me is that ego and ‘self’ get in the way of finding passion. As you say, we need to sit quietly and take a detached look at what stirs our souls, so to speak, and conversely, what drags us down.
Thanks for the post. Very helpful.
I could feel your thought process as I read your contribution. Thank you. The idea that passion evolves helps us keep the door open to change. Seems very important to me. Thank you.
Great post again Dan, my great passion is sitting in front of my tv and watching entertaining tv! Have not figured out yet a way to get paid for it, yet! If that lottery thingy would work out I would be set!
I am also a paradigm shifter, regular email handle is shifterp so I am not just joshing about some fancy shmansy sounding words.
Passionate paradigm shifting is TOUGH work cause you are dealing with truth before anyone else sees it. Truth ALWAYS goes through 3 stages.
2. violently opposed
3. accepted as self evident
The Swiss INVENTED quartz technology. At the time they dominated the winding watch industry and so they GAVE the technology to the Japanese. Their success blinded them to the possibilities of what was next. Dummies! The Japanese took it and you know the rest of the story.
I spend parts of my day going back and forth from ridiculed to violently opposed so I am giving fair warning to any prospective paradigm shifters this is tough and often thankless and at times seemingly pointless pursuit of passion.
The paradigm I am working on now is to help people see the benefit in a particular area of prevention instead of the cost of the cure. It is less and makes perfect sense but the prevailing paradigm is to wait till you have the problem and then fix it.
I am being vague cause I am not here to promote what I do to other people, do not think that is what Dan’s blog is all about so out of respect just saying in general terms what I am up to out of respect to Dan.
If I can pull it off I will change an industry! Pretty cool, huh? I know that sounds as ridiculous as one guy way back in Japan who saw FIRST what the Japanese could do with that quartz stuff in those watches! Boy I bet he got funny looks in the beginning but how is he remembered now?????????
Have a great day folks and thanks again Dan, great post! Oh yeah how to find passion………find what drives you, a cause you could become a crusader for if you would let yourself. And for the timid, WHY NOT YOU? It is gonna be somebody! WHY NOT YOU? Then if you can figure out a way to get paid to do it, wonderful. Me still working on it! Winners never quit, quiters never win, period! Just because it does not FEEL like you are winning does not mean you are not! Forge ahead! Truth 3 stages do not let the first two stop you!
Thank you Scott. I enjoyed following your path today. When I got down to, “Why NOT YOU?” KaPow… that’s a powerful question. I’ll add, Why not now? And, in the process, don’t eat the whole elephant, just do something. Cheers
Great addition and one bite at a time!
Pain compels to introspect. Introspection invites strength. Strength widens option and it leads to passion. Few months back, I was sitting and trying to know my strength. I was trying to find out answer- what is my strength and what satisfies me the most. And I could understand that nothing is absolute. It is a journey and comes in step by step. Even today, I do not know what and where my passion is. But, I know, what I like to do. What I do not like to do. And doing what I like to do strengthen my ability, improve my confidence and enhance my vision. In the process, somewhere I follow my passion. There are many things that inspire me, but I do not know, what is one thing that inspire me. Thus, I believe passion is also a path that we feel good to follow.
I agree with you that we can find our passion by doing what we like to do. But, I strongly believe that odd circumstances, resources crunch and individual character play key role in finding passion. What kills passion are- dishonesty, greed, selfishness, fear and ego. Passion people do not have all these traits.
Thank you Ajay. I’m taking this nugget with me today: We find our passion while we pursue our strength.
Thanks for adding the component of serendipity to this conversation. I think it’s true.
Hey Ajay, I call those odd circumstances dumb luck! Then again luck is supposed to be when opportunity meets preparedness, so who knows? I am not sure what you meant about passionate people not having bad traits. History is full of passionate people who did horrible things. Hitler, Stalin, Constantine….really think these guys were passionate in their beliefs, don’t you? Bad folks still doing things today, Kony, that guy in Syria……Assad I think it is. How about North Korea where the Great Leader’s son is now starving the whole nations population. Just not sure I might be understanding exactly what you were sharing.
Plus don’t we all have these traits in us? We can choose to display our traits positively but we all do have the opportunity to be horrible?
I have mentioned before I am a recovering person and the AA Book tells me….we all have some of the best in us and some of the worst.
That is why I admire good people so much because they could easily have made other choices.
I appreciate your concerns. I believe there is a difference between passion and obsession.I do not say that these leaders were obsessed, but somewhere it seems that passion takes positive step that shape society whereas obsession can take step that shape individual ego. This is my opinion. There can be more debate and discussion. I wrote in previous blog about passion and obsession.http://leadershipfreak.wordpress.com/2012/12/21/finding-the-leaders-heart/
I still like your perspective and will discourse it.
Thanks and Regards
Ajay, that was a great reply and thank you. I think you are right there is a difference between passion and obsession. I do think that the obsessed still have passion though. I see passion as the energy that drives us and that energy exists in both the passionate and the obsessed. Just my take.
Thanks again for your insight words.
Here is what I’ve learned on my journey of reinvention: The only reason you have an obstacle, a discomfort or a pain, is because you are ready for the next step in your evolution.
(Welcome the discomfort…it’s telling you that it’s time to stretch and grow.)
I’ve also learned that when you finally “get there” you will eventually feel the same dissatisfaction because life beckons you to continue to evolve and grow, therefore passion also evolves.
We need periods of comfort and periods of discomfort for the journey to be enjoyable, otherwise we fall for a belief that we always have to be miserable or uncomfortable in order to grow, or we believe that unless we are totally happy we must be doing something wrong.
Now I have coined a term that I call “Living in Paradox.” The paradox is that I’m already complete, whole, and lacking nothing…AND…there’s so much more to become, experience, do, and achieve.
Thanks Dan for a wonderful post.
Marlene, Thanks for adding to the conversation. I remember our conversation, way back and know your comments reflect your journey. Thanks for sharing your insights.
Love the paradox principle. I think passion is the mix of joy and pain… content and discontent… Realizing it is helps us adjust our expectations. The problem with the journey is it’s a journey not a destination.
Thank you Dan!
I really needed this I’m in the process of changing careers due to the lack of passion (or too much). My passion is to be involved and at this moment i’m sitting at a desk inputting information. When I am doing what I love to do people say to me, You Really Love your Job. This is now 25% of what I do not the 75% of what I used to do. This has brought me to resigning my position to find my passion again and explore me. Folks remember that passion in your position can get you in trouble too especially if you are so involved that it backs you into a corner. Then the real “passion” comes out and ops you stepped over the boundries of passion to bitch.
Thank you Nancy. I appreciate you pointing out the disadvantage of focusing on our position. Back to, Being before doing. Cheers!
Nancy raises a good point here when she says “passion in your position can get you in trouble too especially if you are so involved that it backs you into a corner”. I remember once being criticised for over-achieving on an objective that I had been assigned and that I felt passionate about. It was felt that I had neglected my other objectives, even though for the most part they were also achieved. Of course I agree that passion is a great driving force for getting things done. What I didn’t realise in those days was that other people can feel overcome by your passion when they don’t share it as strongly. So, we need to maintain awareness of our impact upon others as we follow our passions.
I always enjoy reading your posts. It’s interesting, I starting writing my blog for very similar reasons. I was feeling very discontent and needed an outlet to focus on the positive things that I wanted to embrace. Recently I wrote a blog, Passion! It’s Empowerment! discussing that how to harness and focus your efforts for success.
Thanks again for your wonderful blog!
For career guidance we use the same assessment that our 50,000 clients use for hiring successful employees. If we can help employers hire the right people, we thought it seemed reasonable to help career seekers find their own path to career success.
Hi Robert, that makes perfect sense! As a Diest logic and nature are my hot buttons! Thank you for using reason and I hope your success shows others its benefit! Horray logic!
Great topic Dan. And what a coincedence, I just recently spoke with a ‘very nice’ gentleman who appears to have found his passion. (I think you may know him!) Our conversation only confirmed, and bolstered, the passion I presently feel. To those whom feel it’s ‘to late’ to pursue your passion. It is NEVER to late. Stepping out of your comfort zone is challenging, exciting, and a little bit scary. Walking the road less traveled is filled with surprises and obstacles. It’s at those time I do as you have suggested and suround myself with like-minded people who will keep me focused, motivate me, and share thier insights that ultimatley help keep me on course. Change is coming in my life, “I am ready for the challenge”. Thanks Dan
It’s always a pleasure to read the personal story of contributors. I’m excited for you. Life without passion is dull. In a way, passion pulls us into the future if we listen. I’m glad we talked. Cheers!
“Opps forgot to add my name Dan”. I am (anonymous say’s) Once again, I can’t thank you enough. You left me with good direction as well several questions I must ask of myself that need to be answered… I AM SO-O EXCITED “My futures so bright, I gota wear shades”!!! LOL Steve
I thought that was you. There were two or three candidates…My keyboard is on fire! 🙂
You know, Dan, this is all true. It’s probably clear through my comments here on LF and my comments on my own blog that I’m still struggling to find mine. And hopefully in the seeds of that struggle is enough discontent to push me ….. in the direction I need to go. In fact I chose “direction” as my word of the year and yesterday when I was writing to the prompt “trust” it became clear that the main person creating trust issues for me is …… me. Here’s the post: http://biggreenpen.com/2013/01/17/trust-a-mama-kat-writing-prompt/
Thank you for your great post!
Have did you find your passion? For me, it was a lot of trial and error. I don’t want to focus where I went off my path, so to speak. Instead, I use my mistakes to help my clients not make the same ones. I always knew I wanted to teach, to help others, and I’m doing that now. I’ve also expanded that by using my writing skills. I’ve been finding a lot of people who need help with writing and editing work. My work is not painful when I’m tutoring or writing. It brings out my best.
How do you help others find their passion? The best answer to this is just sitting and talking with and listening to people. Getting people to open up is the hardest part but once that awkwardness is scaled and common connections are made, people really want to share about themselves. A lot of times talking something out helps bring out details that otherwise may have been missed and another person hearing them brings out another point-of-view. That’s the way I finally said out loud: I want to teach.
Have an awesome day!
There is always some thing to learn from every one & every thing
One of my favorite quotes and I hope a guiding principal in my own life – Never sacrifice the permanent on the alter of the immediate.
The pursuit of purpose is an everyday activity isnt it? You can find it and then without focus,you will feel-fear-and believe you have lost it. The tyranny of the urgent is alive and well.
Really good meat here. Thanks for pursuing your passion.
You’ve given me a lot to think about. 🙂
I like the idea of playing to strengths instead of just moaning about the world. That’s honestly what’s gotten me inspired to get serious about writing fiction. It can be a pain in the NECK to accomplish, but I suspect there is some joy to be found in the pain! 🙂
Reblogged this on The Written Nerd and commented:
A different outlook on how to find one’s passion can be quite helpful!
I help others find their passion by taking them through a series of coaching conversations where we focus on the “Who.” It’s really that simple. Though many are afraid to go there.
Thank you Steve. Taping into passion is the result of finding the real person. I’ve seen it over and over. Great add.
I sometimes wonder if your “brain type” plays into your ability to find your passion. I am blessed/cursed with a highly analytic brain – and I’ll be damned if I can figure out what my passion is.
I decided on a career at about age 10. And I pursued it doggedly from that day on. When I finally got there, I at least had the self-awareness to recognize the reality of the career (vs the idealized notion) wasn’t at all for me, and had the sense to get out.
Since then (and it’s been at least 15 yrs since I’ve been in the workforce), I haven’t been able to find work that I can honestly say I’m passionate about. But part of me has also accepted that that’s ok. Sometimes I feel like “be passionate about what you do” is another one of those 3 million checklist items that the modern working mom is supposed to achieve, and, well, sometimes I think just doing the best you can with where you are at is bloody well good enough.
My approach to still finding my passion is simply to say “yes” to whatever comes my way. I have done some interesting work and met some good people following that route. I still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up, but I figure that will eventually take care of itself, or perhaps I’ll get to a place in my life where I’ll have more options (eg more financial freedom and less family responsibility) and I can look at things that just aren’t realistic today. (And I know the passion encouragers are all “don’t worry about realistic!!” and the analytics are all “that’s nice, but yes I do have to worry about realistic”).
I do have things outside of work that I care deeply about, but I have no interest in making those things my career. Because I truly believe it will wreck them. For example, I love hatha yoga, but I sure don’t want to become a yoga teacher. Yoga is my one time to not worry about a single other soul in the world but my own – if I taught it, I would lose that essential part of it. See … there’s that analytical thing … !
Interesting to read the experiences of others.
Passion is viral. Follow your bliss said Robert Bly in an empty church we passed the hat to pay him. Passion must be a Mythical Journey, one foot outside conventional norms where you will be subject to whispers marginalizing your Normalness. This is a good sign. Inside you will be scared and excited. Passion as any good lover knows cannot be contained. So it is with pursuit of a dream your vision sees it alive in the world of commerce. At least to the extent you are satisfied with the remuneration or it will burn bright enough to take you into Entrepreneurial land. It did for me. Passion is viral. Other people catch it and follow you (if you meet the criteria for entrepreneurial leadership). You want to know how to find it? 1] Follow the pain of being the person in immaturity you wish you had not been, you thought it kept you from being POPULAR. 2] Speak out any and all ideas or opinions of “the better way” an awesome idea especially when you know it might cause others to CRINGE. If you cannot accept REJECTION, you will never have the sea legs to walk around the deck on what will be rough seas. (my sales career taught me this) Teach yourself to shine through embarrassment at your own crazy ideas for new services new products new careers, If you do an EVOLUTION will occur of self-trust. Look for people who respond well and don’t snicker at your garbled nervous utterances. Forge alliances, even if you don’t know or even care much for the peeps on this idea alone do it, just don’t betray your VALUES. Values are the QUALITATIVE element of our personality you MUST articulate via real feelings, as this is the Core of being a leader. Only leaders transform passion into a business. If you can articulate yow you feel, you speak of the Value that Grounds you and the vision. People find that charming and exciting and will follow you into Hell. There is more but this is already to long. Good Luck.
An entrepreneur, teacher, ancientist, futurist
I am the gadfly in somebody’s soup.
This resonates – I work in internet marketing, and when I really found my passion, it was discovering the part of marketing that I find really distasteful, as in “I Hate Marketing Too”! That spurred an entire dimension of what I love about marketing … anyway, great take on this!