Whenever you read a self help book or watch an inspirational speaker, one of the first things that they tell you is to find something that you’re passionate about. They tell you that if you want to be REALLY successful you have to find something that sets your heart on fire and will keep you interested. But what happens if you’ve taken a few knocks in life and you don’t know where your passion lies? What happens if you feel completely lost and can’t even begin to think about what you like and what you want to do? There are so many of us out there that have this worry but there are ways to deal with it.
If you are anything like me then you will feel the panic rising in your stomach every time you hear someone tell you to do something that you feel passionate about. But instead of panicking about it and then drinking yourself into a stupor or falling into the deepest darkest depths of depression, why not try some of these exercises and see what they pull up.
- Try reframing the question “what are you passionate about?” It’s so easy to hear the word ‘passionate’ and worry that you don’t care enough about where you are going in life. These words are highly emotive and designed to fire up certain personality types. People who are naturally a bit more introverted would probably be best asking questions like “what are your hobbies?” or “what do you find enjoyable?” This is far less in your face but also far less intimidating for us quieter types.
- Try to keep in mind that not everyone has a cause that they would fight to the death for. It’s OK to just bob along with the flow. This is especially the case if you are recovering from addiction or mental illness. You need to be gentle with yourself and giving yourself some lofty goal isn’t always the best way forward.
- If you do want to look more closely at what floats your boat, then write a list of all the things you enjoy and take the money making element out of it. Don’t worry if you enjoy crochet while carp fishing. Do that for fun and you never know, the better you get at it the more likely you are to find a community and that could lead to a money making enterprise further down the road.
- Think about what you enjoyed when you were six. Often, as we get older we start to think that the things we wanted to do when we were really small are stupid. I wanted to be a clown when I was six and now people would think I was nuts if I told them that was my life goal. BUT, if you look at how much children’s entertainers charge for one hour on a Saturday afternoon you start to think that actually six year old me was probably a bit more savvy than I first thought. The things we wanted to do when we were children are normally really closely aligned with our personality types (and would therefore be something we could potentially become passionate about). So go back to that wacky list of jobs and just see if anything comes out of it.
- Get out and try new things. When your confidence is low or your really sensitive this can be so hard but you will never get anywhere without pushing yourself. I always dread going to new social things, but people are nearly always welcoming, especially if you look a bit lost and nervous. Trying out these new things then leads to doors being opened. You never know who you’re going to be sitting next to and what they could offer you in the future. Just try chatting to these people. Let them know you’re nervous. There’s nothing shameful in letting people know that!
Most importantly, have fun finding what your ‘passion’ is. There shouldn’t be a tonne of pressure on you to find out what you enjoy. Life is supposed to be a journey and there aren’t many journeys that go in a straight line. Enjoy the process of wandering up some dead ends, finding out that some things just don’t work for you. Nobody is laughing at you if you ‘pick wrong’ on your first go. You can always go back and pick up on the road that you left off.