The idea that finding your passion is the best way to advance in your career is finally catching on. Here are 7 ways to find your passion that will bring home this often-elusive concept.
Maybe you’re just starting your professional career and keen on finding your passion and purpose. Maybe you are in your 40s or 50s and increasingly interested in finding your next passion because you know it’s the way to heightened engagement in your job. Regardless of how you arrived to this blog post, you’re obviously looking to add meaning to your life.
How do you find your passion and make it work?
This is a question I hear repeatedly during my conferences, webinars and coaching sessions. You will have to do some serious work to figure out what your passion is. There is no way around it. The good news is that there are fun ways to assist you in the process.
7 Ways to Find Your Passion With the Help of 7 Easy Questions
1. What did you like to do when you were 8-12 years old?
Chances are that you still enjoy the same kinds of activities that you did when you were a kid. You have likely forgotten about them or you stopped practicing them because life got in the way.
I recently met a senior executive who is a scientist and a professional juggler. Yes, you read it correctly. I was thrilled to see a video of her and her husband at a juggling festival, enjoying themselves like little kids. So, ask yourself, what would you be doing if you had kept up some of your childhood interests?
Since I was 9 years old I created books from scratch. Cut the pages, stitched them together, designed the cover… Writing remains one of my biggest passions.
2. What are you doing when time seems to fly?
Whenever I’m writing, time flies. Two hours seem like ten minutes. What are you doing when this happens to you? The more specific you are when answering this question (what are you doing, where, with whom, and so on,) the easier it will be to find your passion.
3. If you could create an award that recognizes YOU, what would it be for?
This will help you visualize what’s important to you. Every time I ask this question as part of a Red Shoe Movement event, the specificity of the answers blow my mind. I could publish an inspiring book about people’s passions just by compiling those statements. Write down what you’d like to be recognized for and see what comes up.
4. What topics do you gravitate towards?
What kinds of books do you love reading? What articles catch your attention? What topics have you set up on Google alerts? What movies can’t you miss?
Sometimes finding your next passion means you have to review your Pinterest board to realize that you’ve been collecting fashion-related pictures for years. When you dig a bit deeper, it becomes evident that you’ve had a passion for fashion since you sewed clothes for your Barbie dolls. You may have had a successful career in Advertising and are now ready for a 180 degree change to honor your newly re-discovered passion.
5. What is your tennis ball?
This question comes from a terrific blog on the topic of innovation. The author refers to a commencement speech given by Drew Houston, founder of Dropbox. He said: “The most successful people are obsessed with solving an important problem, something that matters to them. They remind me of a dog chasing a tennis ball.” Houston suggested that you must “find your tennis ball — the thing that pulls you.”
You may be obsessed with teaching people how to reduce their environmental footprint. Or with correcting everyone’s grammar. Or with finding the perfect vacation for all your friends. These are all obsessions worth exploring as potential passions that can be turned into a career.
You may enjoy this post too: Finding your passion: the true door to success.
6. What if time or money were not a problem?
Time and money are two of the most common obstacles that get in the way of finding your passion and purpose. People who complain that they are unhappy at work and who even get sick as a result, are quick to say: “I can’t afford quitting my job.” Or “I don’t have the time to figure out my passion right now.”
So let’s take money and time off the table. Consider for a moment that they are not a problem. (After all, whenever you really, really want to buy something you find the money to do it, right? And when you really, really want to go some place, see someone, do something, you find the time to do that too.) What would you be doing if time and money weren’t a concern?
7. What would the three people who know you best identify as your passion?
Sometimes it can be hard to see in yourself what others see clearly. So why not ask them the question. Your siblings, your childhood friends, and the soul mates you met along the way are all great candidates to provide feedback. Make it an open-ended question with no right or wrong answers so they feel comfortable to say the most outrageous or unexpected things. If nothing else, they’ll get you thinking.
The obvious question after you find your passion is how to turn it into a career. Well, that’s the subject of a future article for this blog, my friend. But you have some work to do first. In the meantime, get some inspiration from this amazing woman who is the perfect example of how finding your passion changes everything!