Have you found your passion yet? I know from working with thousands of people, that finding our passion, is a driving AND frustrating force in our lives. But I’m starting to think, that maybe we’ve been looking for it in all the wrong places.
I used to work in a college and for a good many years, part of my job was to go into the classroom and teach a career decision class that I had developed. The college later gave me credit for reducing the number of people with undecided majors by 30%. So, it must have been helpful. In addition, I worked daily with people who were trying to figure out what to do with their lives.
So I know that finding one’s passion is one of the great conundrums of life. We have this desire to do something meaningful and on purpose but we have to balance that with making a living. While there are some people that seem to have achieved that place of loving what they do, most of us are still struggling with this to some extent.
Why Finding Your Passion Can Be So Difficult
Passion is sometimes confused with other things. Because of the name, I think passion is confused with happiness, joy, or even romantic love. We think that in finding our passion, it will be like falling madly in love. Finally, we’ve found our one true love!
I used to think that and I would often confuse passion for things I liked doing. Over the years, I’ve loved doing many things:
- Collecting glass
- Raising kids
- Making art
- Writing resumes
- Being a vegetarian
At times I would think something was my PASSION and get all excited about it. However, there would always be a time when I realized that the high was gone and I was ready to move on even though I had enjoyed them thoroughly.
The Search for Passion
But it was frustrating! I am a pretty determined person and I was determined to discover my passion! It seemed like I couldn’t stick to anything.
Over the course of 20 years, I read hundreds of books about finding your passion. I was passionate about discovering how people figured out what they were supposed to be doing with their life! (Including me)
This came in quite handy when I actually began to teach people about deciding on a major or a career. In fact, as I helped people decide on these kinds of things, I decided that maybe there wasn’t some grand passion. Maybe it was just about finding the right fit for you at the right time.
Maybe finding a passion was just a dream—something that wasn’t really possible to find. And I kind of let go of the idea and settled into the idea that it wasn’t very practical to even want a passion.
How Passion Stays Hidden
And oddly or not so oddly, when I quit trying to find it, I finally realized what it was. And now that I know what it is, I am amazed that I could have been so blind to it. It has been a constant in my life for as long as I can remember. And maybe that’s why it was so hard to discover. It was just there running in the background.
I did have a passion but I just didn’t realize what it was or what it was supposed to feel like. Crazy right. Shouldn’t your passion announce itself out loud? Shouldn’t there be fireworks and a 10-piece band? Shouldn’t it be obvious?????
Here’s the thing. I’m not sure passions are all that fun and or joyous. They aren’t bad feeling by any means but they are more like your operating system. They are a powerful force, yet because they run steadily in the background, it isn’t obvious.
The thing was, my passion wasn’t about any of the subjects that I studied, learned about, experimented with. It wasn’t about any particular job. But it was something within each of those things.
Finding My Passion
My passion is exploring and learning about new things and putting them into practice. When I got a job many years ago that came with a staff; I began reading everything I could on managing people. It never occurred to me to not go home after working all day and read up on how to be a supervisor. Then I would put the things that made sense into practice, then go read some more.
When part of my job at a college involved teaching people how to write resumes; it never occurred to me to not read everything possible on the subject and get training on my own time, with the determination to be the best resume writer in Texas.
Now that I understand my own passion in life better; I understand why no one job field feels like my passion. There are many things I can do or learn to do. I understand why once I master something, I get restless and want to try something else.
I have used my passion in many different jobs or careers. That’s why it had been so confusing. I would jump in with enthusiasm and the bigger the challenge the more I enjoyed it. And that’s why I missed what my passion was. I would confuse the new subject/project/job/hobby with the act of learning and mastering it.
I was never meant to find one thing and one thing only as a passion. My passion was in doing many things. I also think I have secondary passions in organizing and teaching. I loved the process of taking subject matter and making it easier to understand by breaking it into teachable parts.
Have You Found Your Passion Yet?
Perhaps like many people, you haven’t identified a true PASSION yet. And that’s okay. From my experience, that in no way means you aren’t using it. Or that it isn’t leaving clues for you.
Your passion may be a thin thread weaving through your life. Over the years, you will pick up other threads and with luck, these threads will weave into a tapestry that you can’t completely ignore.
Finding my PASSION hasn’t been like falling madly and passionately in love. It’s not like the infatuation of a mad hot love affair. It’s like having a friend for many many years and then one day waking up and realizing that this isn’t just a friend, it’s like your best friend, and then you realize that it’s really the love of your life.
Finding Your Passion
Twenty-Five years ago, I sat in my first counseling class, sure I had discovered my true passion. In fact, though, it set off a 25-year search for my passion. I read so many books on the subject and took so many quizzes!
Many sources recommend following your bliss or your curiosity. Doing that is totally cool and can lead to many fun experiences. However, I didn’t find that it ever led to me having the feeling of finding my passion.
So, I’m encouraging you to look into the HOW of how you are living your life. How do you do things? How have you always UNIQUELY approached situations and experiences. Look deep into your personal operating system.
How do I know I’ve found my PASSION? I feel it bone-deep as the one true thing that has been with me all along. I feel empowered because I know that my passion isn’t just a one-night stand, it’s the true love I can totally count on.
In fact, knowing my PASSION, kind of makes me feel fearless. Because I now know what it is and what it’s done for me all these years, I know I can go into any new situation and probably do well. Not only that, but I can probably do it really well!
One last thing. Because of the nature of my passion, I often felt like a loser because I didn’t fit the American mold of success by picking something and sticking with it for years.
I remember a conversation with my then-husband in the car. I can’t remember anything about it but one statement he made. “Sara, I just don’t understand you. In my experience, people pick a career and just keep doing it.” I felt a lot of shame about not being able to do that.
I think if I had had the insight into my passion earlier, I could have been much kinder to myself. So, this is just a thought, but maybe your passion is something that makes you feel different in some way.
This topic is so dear to me that I’d love to hear your comments and experiences. Feel free to comment below or send me an email. Mythinkbiglife (at) gmail (dot) com.
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I'm a former counselor, career services leader, and college advisor. Now I coach and write at My Think Big Life promoting health and personal growth.
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