9 revealing ways to discover your passion

Are you just going through the motions? Do you feel there must be more out there but have no idea where to start? There’s no time to waste!

Including today, there are 95 days left in 2017. NINETY-FIVE! Just think how much we can get done in that time… Even if you hate your job but you’re on 3 months notice, you could still have a new job or a different focus in your current company by 2018… So why delay? You need to work out want you want, and how to get it…FAST!

Take the time to be honest with yourself, however difficult that is:

Are you happy and fulfilled doing what you’re doing..?

It’s not about ‘being motivated’ to succeed, and as I wrote in this article, working hard is awesome if you know what you’re working for, and when you love it.

It’s about respecting yourself enough to put in the time and work out what you really love. Ask yourself some challenging questions and find your personal purpose and passion. I don’t mean ‘Is my job title right?’ or ‘I should be on a higher salary’. It’s deeper than that. I mean do you love what you do? Do you love it so much that your friends and family tease you because you’re always banging on about this or that project? Does it fascinate you so much that you lose track of time?

It’s unrealistic to imagine that you’re going to love 100% of any job you do. But the less-fun times have to be worth it for the joy you get from all of the other stuff.

People say, “I need to find my passion”. Rubbish. You already know your passion, but for some reason, you’re just ignoring it. There is some topic or idea that keeps cropping up in your free time, your web browsing and your debates with friends and family. And it dominates them without you consciously pursuing it or looking for it.

But for some reason, you’re avoiding it. You have conversations with yourself like, “Well, of course, I love mucking around in the garden/dissecting every frame in the latest film/painstakingly colouring my adult colouring book, but that doesn’t count. I can’t make money from gardening/film direction/design…” See…? You could make money from all of these, you just need to want it enough.

The problem isn’t that you don’t have a passion. The problem is that you’ve not spent time thinking, really thinking, and exploring to find out what it is. You don’t yet respect yourself enough to make it a priority.

I’ve spent a lot of time over the last year both trying to work out my own passion, and talking through things with friends to explore their own loves and hates and fascinations. There are lots of suggestions out there about ‘how to explore your dreams and your passion. Frankly, some are pretty useless (what did you want to be when you were 4? …The ice cream lady. Brilliant.). But these are the questions that have helped me and those I’ve spoken to.

So block out some ‘you’ time (you might need to give it several goes and do a bit of soul-searching to find the answers). Grab a fresh notepad or piece of paper, and answer these:

  1. When was the last time you massively over-delivered on something? What was it and why did you work so flipping hard?
  2. What do you do that makes you feel invincible?
  3. What do people thank you for? What do you love helping people with? What do you love teaching others about?
  4. What do your friends think you’re great at (i.e. “he’d make a great…)? If you don’t know, then ask five of them.
  5. Who do you envy most in your company/ or in your friendship group? Why? What do they do?
  6. We’re on Medium, so when you look at your feed, which posts fascinate you? What do you pause to read, even if it’s way outside your current industry? What do you get geeky about?
  7. When do you hate to be interrupted? When was the last time you were in a total state of flow? ‘Flow’ means ‘being so focused that you’re lost in your own little world’. It means suddenly realising that time has flown and being a bit surprised when you’re jolted back to the real world. This was the real kicker for me. Back in December when I was trying to work my life out, I wrote ‘When I’m writing job adverts’, so I assumed that recruitment was where I was destined to stay. That felt restrictive and claustrophobic. It turns out, I love ALL SORTS of communication, including writing (can you tell..?!).
  8. If money didn’t matter, what would you spend all your time doing?
  9. What subject could you read 500 books about without getting bored?
Stop being restricted by your degree and your CV. Stop being pressured by the expectations of your parents, peers or anyone else. Of course, take advice and talk to others, but your future is up to YOU.

We change throughout our lives as we learn and experience new things. Just because you’ve focused on one profession until now, are you locked into doing that until you retire? As Emilie Wapnick says in this great TED Talk, but consider that you might be a ‘multipotentialite’, and experience many different industries and types of jobs.

Because we can.

It doesn’t matter whether your boss says ‘you could have a really long and great career here’… Are you hand on heart doing what you want to do?

Find your own goal and create your OWN path for success, which is only framed by the companies you work in, rather than slavishly working for. You’re CEO of your own career — take it seriously. Treat it with the same thought, strategy, respect, and dedication you’d give to running your own company. Don’t tread water!

Your time is precious — spend it with people who fascinate you, make you think, and constantly question your ideas — only that way will you grow and develop!

You decide when to make the time to focus on these questions.

You’re in control.

What are you waiting for?

Have a look at these too, if you’re still feeling stuck…

Keep searching until you find your passion.