I recently responded to a question asking,
“How do you know if you’ve discovered your passion?”
This is a common question among many of my new clients.
Many people have a desire to pursue their passions but they aren’t real clear on what those passions might be. Therefore, they question if perhaps they’ve missed the signs of something that’s been there all along.
And this does happen for many people. For me, it was always there, but it wasn’t until later in my career that I figured out I needed to pursue my passion with a different perspective and a different approach.
Sometimes you find your passion, and sometimes your passion finds you. But in either case, you’ll be able to hear it knocking by listening for these eight clues:
1. If you’re so engaged in it you lose track of time.
How many times have you been working on something and looked up and saw two hours had passed before you realized it?
What were you doing in those two hours?
2. If you’re energized by it, as opposed to being emotionally and/or physically drained by it.
Now, of course there will be times when you’re tired from working in your passion. But usually it’s a good kind of tired.
Be sure to get your rest though. While hustle is good, you need to make time to re-energize so you don’t burn out.
3. If you’re at peace with it instead of stressed out by it.
This doesn’t mean you won’t ever get stressed while working in your passion. But if there’s far more peace than stress, you’ve probably found your passion.
4. If you’re willing to do it for free.
Don’t misunderstand me. If your passion is something you’re hoping to make a career out of, you definitely need to get paid what you’re worth.
While in the beginning you may need to do some free work to build up your portfolio, you eventually need to start charging for your expertise when there becomes a demand for it.
5. If you forget to eat.
This one is an easy clue for me personally. If I find myself skipping or delaying a meal for something, I know I must really be really passionate about it!
But just like you need enough sleep to be healthy, you also need to maintain a balanced diet to keep your passion productive.
6. If you wake up in the morning looking forward to it.
Since I started working for myself in pursuit of my own passion, I no longer dread Monday mornings.
In fact, I actually look forward to them!
7. When it doesn’t feel like work.
I’m very passionate about my work, but it often doesn’t feel like work. When that happens, sometimes it’s hard for me to take a break from my work.
But again, balance and moderation in everything is what keeps me productive and helps me avoid burn-out.
Being a workaholic is not healthy, nor is it necessary. We all need to stop falling for the glorification of workaholism and busyness.
8. OR, when at times it does feel like work.
Even if it does feel like work but you’re willing to persevere and push through the tough times instead of just giving up or quitting when it gets hard, you’ve probably found your passion.
There have been numerous times of challenge in pursuing my own passions, but I never had a desire to give up no matter what the challenge was.
This is the true definition of passion.
Designing Your Life
In addition to (and in overlap of) the above, the authors of Designing Your Life (Bill Burnett and Dave Evans) pose the question,
“What things in your daily routine make you feel all (or most) of the following?”
- Complete involvement in an activity.
- A clear idea of exactly what to do and how to do it.
- Calmness and peace.
- Time is gone before you know it.
Burnett and Evans refer to this as “flow,” or in other words, total engagement. Flow feels more like play than work, and it includes not being concerned about the outcomes of what you’re engaged in.
Fear of Failure
I consider a lack of concern about the outcomes to be a willingness to fail and to learn from that failure.
But there are some people who allow their fear of failure to put a damper on their passions and they never end up pursuing those passions.
Let’s cut to the chase. The fear of failure will always be there. You just have to decide if your fear of never knowing what would’ve happened is greater than your fear of failure.
I hope it is, because if you let fear of failure win, you’re not only missing out, but so are all the people who could benefit from your passion.
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