Find Your Purpose, Follow Your Passion

How often do you hear the phrase “follow your passion”? Does
answering that one question give you the meaning of life?
Doubtful. Having passion is great; it’s determining what to do
with your passion and matching it with your purpose in life that
will get you to where you want to be. By doing so, you’re going to
meet some great people along the way.

But how do you even start this process? I wish there was a simple
formula to determine someone’s purpose in life. I don’t know about
you, but I’ve asked myself these questions many times: Why am I
here? What am I doing with my life? Where is my life going?
Do these questions have easy answers? Heck no! If they were easy
to answer then we’d all be living in bliss, and there wouldn’t be half
as many problems in the world. It took me more than thirty years
to figure out my “why.” Maybe you’re lucky and it won’t take you as
long as it took me, or maybe you won’t figure it out until you’re fifty.
In the end, it doesn’t really matter; as long as you’re looking for a
deeper purpose in life, you’ll get there. Just be patient.

The main factor is to keep asking “why?” Everywhere you go,
every person you meet — ask why. Why did I meet this person?
Why should I go to that event? Why did this happen to me? Think
back to when you were a little kid. How many times did you ask
“why?” You probably drove your parents nuts just like any other
kid. There is no reason to stop being curious. The older we get,
the more curious you should become because you’re going to
have much more knowledge at hand. Question everything and
critically consider why things are happening. We’re all “so busy”
living our lives that we forget to ask “why” and therefore we
overlook certain aspects of our life that have real meaning.

You never know when your “why” will come to you. My “why” came
to me after trying many unsatisfying jobs back in Indianapolis
and finally just packing up my bags and moving 1,000 miles
to the south, where I knew one person. I asked myself why
am I here? Why the hell did I pack up my bags at thirty years
old and move to Florida? Am I retiring? Am I supposed to be
playing golf three days a week? Am I supposed to sign up for the
shuffleboard league?

Eventually, I came to my real “why”: I was here to start a business — 
something that wasn’t even on my mind when I first moved to
Florida. That’s the brilliant thing in life. You have to keep the
faith that things will work themselves out and that you’re moving
forward in life because that is the only direction to go.

Why are you here? What is your mission in life? How do you
want to be remembered? When you’re eighty-five years old
looking back on your life, what is going to be your legacy? These
are the questions I want you to think about long and hard. I want you to get out there and LIVE!

I’m not telling you to quit your job or take any drastic steps….
yet. But do seriously consider, what are you doing with your
life? Everyone can go through life, work a job, do the “same
ol’, same ol’.” But are you everyone? Be someone who makes
a difference. Touch somebody’s life in a way that they’ll never
forget. Live a purposeful life.

Now is the time. If the place you’re at isn’t where you want to be,
move! If now is not the right time, when is the right time going to
be? There never is a “right” time. If there was, it would be easy
to figure out when to make a move. You have to find the courage
to make some tough decisions now.

Are you passionate about animals? A sports team? Helping
people? Working out? Traveling? These are all great things
you can definitely be passion about, but in the larger picture
of life, what does it really matter? If I’m passionate about
helping people, how can I turn that into a viable business? If I’m
passionate about animals, what career path can I take if I have
zero desire to be a veterinarian?

We can all be passionate about a variety of items, but the odds
of me quitting my job to follow my passion are probably pretty
slim because it’s tough to make a living solely based on what
I’m passionate about. I’m passionate about tennis — it’s one
of the main reasons I moved to Florida, so I could play year round.
But I’m not good enough to be a tennis pro, so I knew my
purpose had to be something else.

I prefer to trade the word “passionate” for “enjoy.” I really enjoy
playing tennis. I really enjoy spending time with my dog. I really
enjoy volunteering. Doesn’t that sound better? I think the term
passion has become too much of a cliché and that it’s used out
of context way too often.

So if the word “passion” trips you up, just ask yourself, what do
you enjoy? What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?
When you figure that question out, you’ll be on the right path to
where you need to go. If you have a hard time getting out of bed
in the morning, then it’s probably time to reevaluate your life
and start making those tough decisions we talked about.

When you do find your purpose, you’re going to uncover a
treasure trove of other people who most likely will have similar
interests as you. When you’re in the same field, it’s much
easier to bounce ideas of other like-minded people. So brace
yourself — because the day you figure this out will be the day your
life changes forever, in a good way! The light bulb will go off and
you’ll have that moment of clarity as to why you are here and
what your mission in life is. You’ll stop worrying about money
and focus on your purpose because that’s what matters above
all else.

And in regards to money — if you’re focusing on money, then you
didn’t find your purpose. Your purpose is above money. Money
cannot sustain your drive over time and it certainly won’t get
you to wherever you want to go in life. Life is about chasing your
dreams. Taking a stab at the unknown. Taking risks. If you want
something to happen, you have to make it happen. It’s up to
you and no one else. You have to hold yourself accountable and
if you can’t, find a friend or family member to hold your feet to
the fire.

Originally published in “Friend Request Accepted — Connecting in a Disconnected World” — available on Amazon: