This post was inspired by a question from a reader named Claire, here’s what she has to say:
“I was just let go from my job, and at first I was relieved, because I did not love it. I was really excited to find something new, and I had a months of severance to hold me over! I started applying for a bunch of stuff, but now I’ve fallen into this slump after not getting any offers from the few interviews I’ve been on. I seem to be obsessed with wanting to find my true passion and yet no matter what I do, I can’t seem to figure it out? Any insights you can give on this “finding your passion thing?” Thanks! – Claire
Thank you for this question! While I’m not 100% sure there is any ONE right answer, I do have a lot of experience with this particular topic, and here is what I can share with you:
What I learned from my own personal story about trying to find my passion
How you can get started and stop wasting time
How to become aware of B.S. on this topic
A great resource I recommend for this problem
The short version of my step-by-step way of working through it!
Boy, do I know how you feel! I was in the same spot a while back.
I had been let go after the company I worked for had shut down, and I fell into this deep realization that I needed to find what “my thing” was going to be. I watched video after video, trying to figure out “what’s my passion.” I watched TED Talk after TED Talk. I took personality test after personality test. I asked my friends, “What do you think I should do? What would I be good at?” I had a long list of things that interested me. I wanted the answer so bad, something that I could pour my heart and soul into that would let me just get on with my life. Not just another job, but something that was part of who I am.
Here are 5 juicy pieces of info I learned from my own experience that I think will really help get you moving.
NUMBER 1: THE MOST IMPORTANT THING LEARNED FROM MY OWN EXPERIENCE…
…was that in that time that I spent “looking for my passion,” I really accomplished NOTHING. I wasted months, agonized over finding the perfect thing that was right for me, and in the end accomplished nothing. It was pointless. I have nothing to show for it. I wasn’t any closer to finding my passion, because watching TED Talks, no matter how awesome they were, or taking personality tests, could never give me the answer I was seeking.
So, what is the answer to this burning question? How do you find your passion?
NUMBER 2: GET IN IT.
Start by doing something. Anything. Try something new. Do some stuff. Get busy.
If you’re waiting for the perfect horse on the carousel to come around, you’ve missed five that were all just as good. Just get on the ride. (That is something that my friend Seth Godin says, and I love him for saying it).
Let’s say, for example, you’re interested in wedding planning, professional photography, accounting, or catering. Did you know you can get into those environments without jumping in with both feet?
Explore that interest! You can volunteer your time or do other things to explore that interest. Take the first opportunity that comes up, and make sure you’re looking for more of them frequently. Take a photography class, go and intern or volunteer for a caterer, or host your own dinner party. Volunteer to plan a friend’s birthday party, or do the bookkeeping for your parent’s business. Opportunities are everywhere. You’ve just got to look and jump on one of those horses!
NUMBER 3: Beware of BAD B.S.
When I say B.S. I mean Belief Systems.
Don’t “wait to find your perfect passion” before you get started on anything. You don’t need to wait and, in fact, you shouldn’t. That is a BAD Belief system that many of us tend to have. As I mentioned earlier, I believed this for myself, but I realize now that it’s an old fashioned B.S.
Who says we even have stick to ONE passion? We could be happy doing many things.
Seth Godin says it perfectly:
“I’m not sure that anyone has a calling.
This whole calling/passion thing is complete nonsense. Take Van Gogh, for example. If he had been born 20 years later or 20 years earlier he wouldn’t have done what he did. It’s not like some angel came down when he was born out of the sky and told him that he was going to be an impressionistic painter.
He wanted to do a thing, but he didn’t know what the thing was.
If Steve Jobs had been born 20 years earlier, he would have done a different thing.
This isn’t about waiting for the right answer, because there is no right answer. What’s actually there are challenges we can take on and emotions we can experience.
You want to experience emotions, and you want to sign up for challenges. Those things will get you juiced.”
NUMBER 4: Try reading something a bit different or unexpected to get your mind out of the traditional thinking.
A great resource that I recommend you read a great book called The Desire Map by Danielle Laport. This book really helped me shift my perspective from “finding my passion” to finding the emotions I wanted to experience in whatever form they might come.
I mean, what is our end goal, really? To feel a certain way! To feel fulfilled in our lives, or to feel abundant, or to feel happy to feel joy in our work! It’s not always about “the thing we do,” even though it appears that way!
NUMBER 5: Is there an easier way?
You’re probably thinking, ‘This all sounds like a lot of work, Natalie. Is there an easier way?’
Let’s cut to it.
If you’re a bit more like me and you WISH there was a step-by-step process on how to find your passion, the good news for you is that there actually is one! It’s not super easy, but it’s a practical way to do it, and I’ve been working on really mastering it. If you’re the kind of person who really loves a step-by-step, I’ve got one for you!
I’ll give you the quick version of it:
Research some ideas first and pick your top 3
Test them out by talking to people or experts in the field
Ask yourself, “Am I still interested?” after doing those things
Repeat as needed until you actually find something that fits YOU.
And that brings us to the end of our 5 juicy tips. I hope they help you on your journey to finding your passion! Claire, I hope you are feeling more inspired.
Now I’d love to hear from you! What’s the first action you’re going to take today? Are you going to make your list of possible “passions,” or are you going to read the Desire Map? Are you going to jump right in and do something?
If this has resonated with you, join me over at Nataliefisher.ca and sign up for updates. You’ll be the first to hear about upcoming promotions, videos, and blog posts like this one.
Do you know one person who could benefit from the information I shared? If so, help someone out by paying it forward and spreading the love.
And remember: our society can be a bit wacky sometimes. The traditional ways in which we’ve somehow decided we should be searching for our next job is messed up. We use keywords to find people for crying out loud, come on! We’re humans!
I’m here to prove to you that you’ve got what it takes and I’ve got you covered.
I’ll see you next time.
In Work & Life