Sunday, September 11, 2016

Six Ways to Find Your Passion

Photo: Shayera Dark
For some, identifying their passion is a walk in the park. They don’t need the help of a guardian counselor to point them to the rainbow’s end because they already know where it is. This category of people know what drives them—an awareness they discovered in utero or accidentally stumbled upon early on in life. Either way, they’ve been spared the trouble of having to find where their heart lies.

The rest of us, however, are stuck with hours of self-reflection, countless meetings with a career coach and general cluelessness. The very question: ‘what are you passionate about?’ elicits the same level of dread as having one’s tooth pulled without anesthesia, because society expects us to know what it is.

If you fall in the latter category, fear not, kiddo, for these six commandments have got you covered.

Thou shall quit your job
Staying on a job you hate and griping about how much you hate isn’t going to lead to a light bulb moment. Trust me, it won’t. But quitting will. Transitioning from employed to unemployed will likely make finding your passion more urgent… and, yes, uncomfortable considering the scary economy and unemployment statistics. But with the new extra time, you can channel your energy into discovering the gritty stuff you’re made of by following the next commandment.

Thou shall experiment
Breaking out of a routine is one way to find your passion. Grab at new opportunities wherever you find them. This could mean helping a colleague complete a task at work, volunteering in the accounting department in your local church, or watching a play, even if it’s not your thing. You’d be surprised at what tickles your interest, and in return your passion could be unlocked.

Thou shall ask questions
Self-reflection and asking questions offer illuminating insightWhat would you be doing with your time if you were filthy rich with no worries in the world? What would you do if failure wasn’t an option or didn’t give a damn about social approval? What are willing to suffer for or readily do for free for the next six months with a smile on your face?

Be truthful with your answers (even those you think might cause your friends and family to give you the stink eye), then write them all down, evaluating each candidly. 

Pay attention to what you enjoy talking about, your favorite novels, songs and movies. How do you spend your days off? A common theme should connect them all. If so, find a way of incorporating it into your current job or converting it into a business.

For example, if you love travelling (both physically and through art), you could start a culture blog featuring photography, book reviews and travel articles—and possibly make money from it.

Photo: Shayera Dark

Thou shall consult other human beings
No (wo)man is born an island, and that’s why you need to reach out to those living out their passion for help. Search the web for articles about how they found their passion. Read memoirs of successful business people and those you admire for inspiration. Ask a mentor, co-workers or friends who are likely to support you to highlight your best qualities or talents, and use the information to clue you in on what makes you tick.

Thou shall take a trip down memory lane
As a kid, what were the things you did for hours on end that never grew tiring or boring? What classes were a delight before momma and dada forced you to become a doctor, lawyer or an engineer? Your passion may lie in those lousy poems you wrote in junior secondary that no one read, the games you enjoyed playing, or in that book with dog-eared pages and a cracked spine. Making a list of all the things that brought you joy at age 7 would help resurrect forgotten passions to life.

And if all fails…

Thou shall write an obit 
That's right, an obituary. No, I dont wish death upon you. For a minute or two, drop your superstitions and write what you would like it to read. Not only would you be amazed at the things you come up with, the exercise will take you a step closer to the things youre enthusiastic about.