Passion..How do I find it?
This is such a popular topic and has been for quite some time, especially as entrepreneurship becomes more glamorized and everyone has their own “channel” (equivalent to that of a self produced reality series via their phone and social media accounts). Often times, these high status, celebrated-individuals, will allude to their “secret to success” as finding your passion. This phrasing and input is everywhere, we even get advice from others claiming “ do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life”. Beyond career and vocational directives, passion is a popular topic for one to find their “true joy” and “purpose”. “Find your passion and you’ll be fulfilled.” Ok, great!! I’m all in.. Now what?
I submit that we first evaluate passion. What is it, and can you, in fact, find it?
And how do we know for certain it is our own passion? These, among other questions can help you “Find your Passion”.
Before diving in, I am only speaking from a place of personal experience and the information I’ve been fortunate enough to encounter, I encourage you to explore this to a greater depth if you so desire.
What is it?
Let’s start with what passion really is. Some would define as “strong and barely controllable emotion, or a state of outburst.” As it pertains to someone’s career or endeavors, I would say we often suppress this to meaning “something you enjoy”. I would even add that most times we deem something a passion based solely on personal experience (up to that moment), of any given subject, task, career, etc. So it’s safe to say we may overuse the word passion, and we certainly dull it’s actual intended meaning. The word was originally used to describe Christ’s sacrificial atonement, creating the imagery of something for which you are willing to suffer a great deal. When we put this into proper perspective, I feel most “passionate” pursuits are truly nothing more than a casual interest or hobby. For those things that do truly root themselves so deeply within our being, we can more accurately refer to them as something of a passion.
Now, when it comes to forming our lives around this illusive passion, it would be incredibly beneficial to first determine what said passion would look like. I like to consider a few things when making my determining judgment.
1.) Would I still do *insert passion here*, if there was no financial gain or compensation. (assuming my lifestyle and needs were funded or accounted for)
2.) Is this *passion* something I find myself thinking about most of the day, most days of the week, most weeks of the month, most.. ok, you get the picture.. (borderline obsession)
3.) Does this *passion* drain me or fuel me? I know this is a bit of an obscure metric, as it is 100% subjective as it is relative (time of day, situation/circumstance, extent of demands, etc), however, I find that something I am passionate about, does provide an intense level of energy.
Can you find it?
This may be a wildly unpopular stance to take on a topic so vast and varied. For the record, I do not view this topic as absolute, as I feel this is significantly impacted by perception, which obviously is entirely relative to the individual. Now that I’ve let myself off the hook before submitting an unpopular opinion.. Here it is… I don’t believe we can find our passion. I don’t believe it belongs in the same category as misplaced keys or a friend in a crowd. We don’t have to “search” we have to “apply and try”. I believe a passion to be a skill or set of skills we develop, over time, into a high level. This ability (or even mastery) creates within us a deep desire to share, leverage, or apply said skills to fit a need. Take, for example, a businessman who is passionate about mergers, finds great joy in joining two entities or ideas as one to make an even greater entity or idea. Did he at the tender age of 11, begin an epic quest to find his passion, and stumble into the world of mergers? Highly unlikely.. Rather, he most certainly began working at whatever interested him at the time, or whatever opportunities were presented. Over time, developing skills, acquiring knowledge, and filtering through the areas he was (or would be) able to excel. This, in short, is what I believe to be the formula for developing, (not finding) a passion. I was a fat kid growing up, struggled with confidence, and had a terrible relationship with food; I would have NEVER assumed I would be passionate about health and wellness. I enjoyed some components and didn’t care much for most when first beginning a career in health/fitness. Over time, I have developed a set of skills and amassed enough knowledge to be of value and service to those in need of these. The more I hone my skills, the more I become passionate about my work.
Is it MINE?
This is very much an extension of the previous (unpopular) topic. If a passion is not something to be found, rather must be developed and adopted, it MUST be yours. YOU spend time developing the skills that grow into a passion, therefore they are yours and yours alone. It is very easy to adopt the allure of someone else’s passion as your own. The results and outcomes of someone’s hard work, diligence and commitment can most certainly possess a high level of appeal. If we aren’t critical of what we consider our own passion, it’s likely you’ll attach to someone else’s success as your passion.
The big takeaway is the passion, the thing you’re willing to suffer for and the thing that occupies a majority of the real estate in your mind, should be deeply rooted within you. I personally have to be extra cautious of this, as I can easily find myself being drawn to someone else’s achievements and impact, unknowingly blending it into my own. If I am not careful, this can overtime, detract me from my own. I find it beneficial to take time to reflect on my own “why” and the intent behind my actions, this will pretty clearly determine if the efforts at that time are aligned with my overall passion, ensuring they are purposeful. I like to assess the big picture of anything requiring more than a moderate amount of time and energy with the lens of “is this congruent with my goals and''passion ``?
It WILL FAIL!
I probably won’t gain much approval and inspire with this statement, but make no mistake, it (your passion), will fail. Your ventures, pursuits, endeavors, call them what you will, they are going to fail. This is an inevitable fact that must be understood. Understanding this fact doesn’t mean dwelling and proceeding with fear or anxiousness, rather, laying the appropriate foundation that states, no matter how challenging it WILL be to continue, I’ve determined this passion is worth the effort. The juice must be worth the squeeze!! Every motivational speech, book, quote or video will in some way reference to “persistence” ,“resiliency” or some form of deep determination to “get up after getting knocked down”. While I do very much believe this to be impactful, I believe a true passion, has these qualities built in. However, due diligence for “vetting your passion” would require the realization that failure is inevitable, causing a true gut check to determine if this passion is worth pursuit. If you can definitively say, you will overcome difficulties and embark on this journey in spite of the known challenges, you can truly label this your passion.