Passion is a big word that suggests something overpowering, uncontrollable and visceral. When we say we want to discover our passion, the word asks us to connect to our deepest selves. Many people are able to say what their passion is. Their deepest interests, their hobbies, their careers and the people that are around them.
A significant number of people that come to see me, have far less clarity about what their passion and want me to help them discover their passion for themselves.
Is your passion under your nose?
When you are asked what is your passion, you can sometimes flounder, because you have an assumption around what a passion is. You may be thinking that it has to be something that will change the world. Or you may assume that there has to be a deep moral driver.
Some passions are like that, but you just might have a passion that is deeply personal. You may be fulfilling your passion every day, without really recognising it. Perhaps you have a hobby or an interest that you consistently explore. Perhaps you are pouring your passion into your children, your family, your spouse. Perhaps you love your job, or just a small part of your job.
Passion is a big word, so try replacing it with ‘thing’! What is your ‘thing’?
Whether or not you discover your talents and passions is partly a matter of opportunity. If you’ve never been sailing, or picked up an instrument, or tried to teach or to write fiction, how would you know if you had a talent for these things?Ken Robinson
Discover your passion through your values
Before passion come values. When you are unsure of what you really want, you may find it very empowering to go through a process of discovering your core values in life. These are the principles by which you live, like ‘truth’, ‘freedom’, ‘integrity’ or ‘nurturing’. Whether you know your values or not, they exist.
Even more important than what we do, then, is who we are.James Green Somerville
Many of my clients have benefited hugely from discovering their core values. There are plenty of tools and literature on the subject too.
Remember and revisit to discover your passion
What were you into when you were young? As children we believe, for a short time, that everything is possible. At that stage in life, discovering a passion is easy. Many people continue to follow these passions into adult life, but parents, teachers and society can sometimes dampen our ardor. They say things like ‘oh there are already far too many artists in the world’, or ‘you’ll never amount to anything as a writer’, or ‘everybody wants to be a footballer’.
We take these things to heart and allow the passion to die. But whether we are the best at something or not, whether it becomes a lifelong career, is a separate issue from the pure joy of following your passion.
Follow your passion, be prepared to work hard and sacrifice, and, above all, don’t let anyone limit your dreams.Donovan Bailey
So think back to your childhood. Remember what you loved then, and revisit it. Try it out for a little while and see if it inspires you. If it doesn’t, think about what about that childhood passion, got you fired up? What is it an example of?
Go ahead and reflect
Sometimes, in order to discover our present selves, we need to look at our future. Looking out at your future self, you can sometimes have a clearer sense of what has fulfilled you. The 80th birthday exercise (see my article) is a great one for this. Imagine what your loved ones, and those people who are important to you might say at your 80th birthday, if you had lived your life to your passion and values.
Don’t forget to Pass i(t) on!
These are just three ways that you can discover, or re-discover your passion.
Whatever your passion, one of the best ways to follow it, to live it, to develop it, and to keep it alive for the future is to ‘pass i(t) on’. Share, teach, show your passion to others. Passion spreads better than the common cold. When you inspire others, you spread yourself a little wider and your legacy is greater.