There are endless articles and videos about finding your passion. Magazine covers are adamant that your life will be magically transformed, and that you’ll be happier, more successful, make boatloads of money…
There’s only one problem — they don’t tell you how to do it. So, while you’d love to be able to find it, the damn thing is like a super stealthy ninja. And you’ve got a lot going on, so it’s not like you have the time to go traipsing all over the place looking for this elusive thing people keep talking about. You’re working, and some days you barely have time to cook a pizza, nevermind find your passion. I mean, who has the time to search for a tiny needle in a humongous haystack?
Sound like you? Stick around to find out where to start looking, how to know when you’ve finally found it, and how to monetise it (if that’s your goal).
How to find your true passion
It’s true, doing something you love makes your life a whole lot easier. And if that passion can provide a decent income for you and keep a roof over your head, all the better. Once you find it, waking up in the morning suddenly doesn’t seem so agonising. You no longer fear the alarm clock, and Sunday evenings aren’t filled with dread. So it makes sense that you should try searching for it, yeah?
But here’s something most media outlets won’t tell you — it’s not an “it”. You don’t have just one true passion. Of all the infinite amount of things in the world, the notion that only one of them could make you happy is, frankly, laughable. There are several things out there that will set your soul on fire. Once you understand that, the task doesn’t seem so insurmountable.
OK, so how do you find one of them?
You go look for it.
“Oh, ha ha, Laura, very funny.”
I’m being serious.
If you’re honest with yourself, you’ve probably been sitting around waiting for passion to fall into your lap. You’ve been spending too much time fretting about not having it instead of saddling up and riding out to meet it.
Think about your favourite food. You wouldn’t have know about it if you’d never eaten it. And your favourite place in the world? You wouldn’t have found it if you’d never ventured there.
You don’t discover favourites by never trying anything new.
But what if you don’t have any free time?
Cut the crap.
You and I both know that you’ve spent plenty of time procrastinating on other things — watching TV when you should have been working, scrolling through social media when you should have been sleeping… The average American watches 5 hours of TV every day. That may not be you, but you still have some time you could be spending in pursuit of a passion. Carve it out whenever you can.
In the search for your passion, where do you start?
Wherever you please. Devote as much time as you can to its discovery.
Do a little digging. What are the topics you could talk about for hours? What did you love to do as a child? (When our characters are forming and we’re still in that carefree phase, we often indulge in things just for the pure joy of doing them. When we get older and a little more conscious of public perception, and the weight of responsibility bears down on us, we can forget the simple pleasures we once knew. It’s time to re-discover them!)
If there’s something that interests you, go try it out. Even if there’s something out there that doesn’t seem all that appealing, give it a fair go before you completely dismiss it. You may very well surprise yourself! (I wouldn’t have my beautiful daughter if I hadn’t decided to face my fear of childbirth!) Make it a point to learn something new every day, to join a new group, to explore your surroundings, to make something from scratch…
If you never try new things, you’ll never find new favourites.
How will you know you’ve found your passion?
Quite simply, by paying attention.
How many times a day do you switch into autopilot mode? Our brains are busy, and any chance they get they’ll switch into energy-saving mode. Have you ever been driving and realised that you’ve arrived at your destination without any recollection of getting there? Or sat down to do something and then wondered where the last 3 hours went?
Instead, kick your brain into high gear and notice how it feels when you’re trying new things. Do you feel drained, or energised? Does time drag, or does it whizz by in the blink of an eye? Do you feel frazzled and frustrated, or interested and engaged?
If you’re still struggling after you’ve tried a few things, compare two of the activities and decide which one you like best. Then keep going until about three things emerge on top. Those are your favourite things to do. Those are your passions. Keep doing them as often as possible, but feel free to keep your eyes peeled for something you’ll like even more.
Remember, there’s more than one passion out there for you, and finding one doesn’t mean it won’t grow and evolve with you, or that you won’t find another you like even better. That’s the beauty of life.
How do you make money from your passion?
I want to be very clear that there’s no requirement that you monetise your passion. Unlike what some sources would have you believe, passions don’t have to provide anything other than immense happiness. You’re perfectly entitled to keep it as a hobby, and to avoid the added pressure that turning it into a business entails.
BUT if you are considering it, there are really only two ways to go about it: turn your passion into either a product or a service (or both!). Is there something you can make (or buy) and then sell to others, or is there a related service you could provide to others for a fee?
For example, if you love to drive more than almost anything else, is there a product related to cars or the driving experience that you could sell? Maybe you could sell cars themselves, or their parts. Maybe you could hand-make driving gloves, or design maps of beautiful driving routes. You could write a book on classic cars, or produce helpful or entertaining videos on the topic. You could become a taxi driver, chauffeur, courier, mechanic, etc. You could even become a driving instructor. (Never underestimate the value of teaching others what you know.)
If you love to read, think of all the products related to reading. Obviously you’re not just limited to books — you could sell eReaders, personalised bookmarks, book lights, etc. You could work for yourself or in a bookstore or in a library. You could teach literacy skills. You could even write your own book!
The possibilities when it comes to passions are endless. Just like you have to taste all the flavours of ice-cream before you can settle on favourites, so too do you have to try a whole range of new things before you can decide which ones float your boat.
And just like you can enjoy more than one flavour, you can have more than one passion that fuels you.
So go taste a few flavours, try a few things, and when it comes time to fill up your cup, you’ll know exactly what to choose, or what combination of things to choose, to hit the sweet spot of your soul. You may even have enough left over to add a few sprinkles on top.
What do you most love to do?