Finding your passion isn’t as easy as it sounds… or at least not as easy as we are lead to believe as children. As a teenager I thought it would just land in my lap, as if my passion were something external just waiting for the right time to land. Then, as got a little older and time got a little more crowded with obligations, panic began to set in and slowly but surely I began to feel like I had missed the boat. Queue feelings of inadequacy, regret, and a lost sense of self.
Finding my passion, my reason, my calling had become a job. I began thinking of it as something I needed in order to fit in with other people rather than something to make my life feel more fulfilled. This didn’t end well, as you can imagine. A downward spiral of confusion, frustration, and loneliness began to form. Why was I the only person who hadn’t found their ‘thing’? Everyone I knew was pursuing careers in areas they seemed to have set their hearts on since middle school and were now well on their way to achieving ‘the perfect life’ – you see where this is going, don’t you? A big case of the grass is greener. So here’s what’s really going on:
Nobody has it all figured out.
We’re all wading through life trying to make the best of it. Some of us are lucky enough to recognise our passions early on, some of us need a little more time to discover it, and we will all change our minds at least once in lifetime. Knowing this makes working on my own life path a whole lot less stressful and I can finally breathe and take a moment (or a billion) to figure figure it out. Here’re some things to think about when pursuing your path:
Stillness is a gateway to yourself. Close your eyes, take a few deep breaths, and let your mind wonder for a little while. Try to block out the white noise of other people and focus inwardly. Connecting and checking in with yourself lets your authenticity be heard where it is usually drowned out by technology, gossip, and worry. Be with yourself.
what makes you tick?
Think of the things that make you excited and energetic, exhilarated and giddy, or frustrated and determined for change. Whatever it is that makes you feel the oomph... that's your quiet voice telling you something. For me writing has always been a passion, but what to write about has been a point of contention many times. I've also long been a supporter and campaigner for ethical and holistic living and yet it has only recently dawned on me to use my writing to help promote health, compassion, and wellbeing to a wider audience (not just friends and family). I've combined two of my passions into the one making it a whole lot more meaningful, exciting, and fun for me. It may not be immediately obvious (although you'll likely kick yourself later for not thinking of it sooner), but taking a deeper look at what makes you you will help you on your way to finding your passion and perhaps even your mission.
what comes naturally?
Often the things that come naturally to us are the things we take for granted. You may secretly excel at writing, mathematics, geography, music, design, economics. Or maybe your strengths are less academic – dancing, listening, inventing, cooking, decorating, photography. Whatever it is, there's something you've already got down and you just don't know it yet. Take a little time to write down what you enjoy doing – thinking holistically – and chances are you'll find you're already mastering at least one thing on the list. It's also helpful to ask the people who know you well to help you with your list. Ask them what they think you're good at (not just in terms of academics) and you may just find you get similar responses.
We're not all lucky enough to find our calling first time round. It's healthy to dip in and out of things and experiment with ideas to find what really makes you happy in the long run. There's no sense sticking with an idea just because it was the first one you had. So get stuck in and don't forget that if it doesn't stick, it's one more thing you can knock off the list – you're one step closer to finding your thing.