Follow your bliss and doors will open where there were no doors before. – Joseph Campbell
Don’t really know what you want? Stuck in your job? Thirty-something dilemma? Midlife crisis? Now what?
The popularity of the self-help industry bears testament to our disconnection with our innate passions and our desire to live to our full potential. In truth, few people know what they really want, let alone have the will and courage to follow through. I should know. I’ve been there, where the idea of jumping out of bed to embrace the day with passionate work was just a distant concept, reserved for a lucky few.
The pursuit and application of my talents was not a concept that my parents instilled in me. Rather, my father reasoned that a job at a bank or corporate company, with a steady income, was the vocation I should seek. His opinion, which I valued deeply, that security bought happiness seemed perfectly logical to me at the time. I was 14 years old, it was 1984 and ‘I was living in a material world.’
The fact is, my upbringing had primed me for a future of professional pen pushing. The appeal of Carl the office manager was as realistic as it was attainable. Conforming to this cultural ideal was made evermore enticing by the promise of an easy paycheck and parental approval. Jackpot!
The problem is that remuneration and approval alone do not ensure our happiness. There are consequences to subordinating our dreams and talents to salary and support. If we misalign our work with our soul, we effectively forfeit on authenticity and choose practicality above fulfillment. Though practicality gives us a roof above our head, it can curb contentment and deny the world of our innate gifts.
The soul seeks full expression. In it’s calling, it is relentless.
Fortunately for me, I’ve learned to listen to the whispers of my soul. You’re reading a few of them now. But only recently have I acknowledged and acted upon those whispers, as you can too.
Here are a few ways to eavesdrop on your soul and find your passion:
6 tips to find your passion:
#1. Discover the desires that drive you
Find a quiet space, close you eyes and recall a favorite childhood memory. Where were you? Who were you with? What were you doing? What did you feel? Reflect upon the answers. Your past desires may rekindle your passion and reveal a direction in which to seek inspiration. Repeat with a second memory.
#2. Make a mission statement
Note your desires from the memories in the previous exercise and include them in a mission statement that serves you and others. Here’s mine for illustration purposes:
I expand in belonging (my #1 feeling) and connection (my #2 feeling) as I inspire others to do the same.
Review your mission statement regularly or recite it covertly during meditation.
#3. Discover your core values and align them with your actions
Make a list of your core values:
e.g. A healthy body & mind are important.
From your values, derive your beliefs:
e.g. I believe in taking care of my body and vitality.
From your beliefs, derive your attitudes:
e.g. I am a healthy person.
From your attitudes, derive your expectations:
e.g. I make healthy food choices.
From your expectations, derive your actions.
e.g. I eat fresh products and drink 1.5 liters of water every day.
#4. Consider how you like to use your brain cognitively
Are you a good communicator? Are you artistic and creative? Do you like to study or are you analytical? Which activities do you enjoy so much that time seems to fly by when you do them? Let your answers point you to the direction of your passion.
#5. Illumination by elimination
Discovering our passions is not always evident. Often, it is a case of trial an error. Try out different things. Take that course you’ve always wanted to do, visit that country you’re fascinated about or start writing that book you’ve been contemplating. See what works for you and eliminate what doesn’t to find patterns in the things that spark your interest.
#6. Make a list of the successes in your life
Ask yourself: What have you achieved? What have you overcome? Who did you help? What have you learned? Note all your answers, however big or small. Don’t limit yourself. Try to find at least twenty successes. Review them a few days later and try to add ten more. Refer to your list regularly, adding any new successes that come to mind.
Business Growth Coach
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(Cover image credit: an untrained eye)