This article was last updated on September 5, 2017
Transforming everything is as easy as “A,B,C”
Do you remember the last time you had the feeling of excitement and energy buzz inside you? Perhaps it was at work, as a result of landing that promotion, or securing a new client. If you are a parent, it might have happened when you saw your child for the first time. These same feelings arise when we allow ourselves to uncover, nurture, and pursue our passion.
Many people go through their entire life with a stifled passion sitting on the back shelf of their mind. We enter the world like a colorful painting. Over time, outside influences such as our parents, society, and culture cover this canvas with different strokes of gray. Our mental “painting” of the world is slowly covered through these outside influences until it is narrowed down into this little circular point with only one spot of color left. This usually represents our family life or career. Our passion is typically something on this canvas that gets covered and repressed. This repression often leads to something called depression. Over time, when we go long enough living in this pattern, our life becomes less meaningful.
Hobby or Stifled Passion?
Keep in mind that some people’s hobbies are actually passions that were never pursued. I knew of someone who always wanted to be a pilot, but convinced himself that it would never happen and that he should become engineer instead. He is now over 70 years old and building model airplanes rather than flying real ones! Chances are high that in his spare time, he’s fantasizing about how he could have or should have become a pilot. Just another example of a stifled passion trying to rise to the surface. It’s important to remember that we all have passions of many kinds. The passion that I’m specifically talking about is something that is both productive and one that brings you joy and happiness. I can’t tell you what yours is, but I can give you some advice on how to uncover it.
Uncover your passion
Your passion is currently inside of you, waiting to be uncovered right now. In order to bring to light exactly what it is, you must go through this little discovery process.
- Find yourself some quiet time, completely undisturbed and focused. Turn your phone off. Grab a sheet of paper and a pen (no digital devices please!). Now I want you to think about the things that you got excited about within the past six months. More specifically, can you pinpoint an experience you had within that time frame where you were so excited about something that caused you to research it more either online or by asking others? Picture that one thing that consumes your thoughts. It’s OK if you can uncover more than one. Make yourself a list. Once the list is made, stop. Give your mind a break and come back to it the next day.
Test the waters
- When you come back to it, try engaging in the first activity you wrote down and put a note next to it rating how excited you feel on a scale of 1-10. For example, if one of your activities was cooking, make a nice dinner from scratch. After dinner, rate your experience. If you really found yourself getting lost in the moment and enjoying yourself, chances are high that this is a passion of yours! Try going down the list, engaging in one or several of the activities during the day and just jot down next to each one your score. Give yourself a week with this exercise trying them all, going through a couple each day. Don’t be surprised if it takes longer than a week. Give it time, as finding your passion is something you need to be sensitive and open to.
It’s strictly individual
- Remember, I can’t tell you what to choose or what your passion is. Nobody can do it for you. This is more of a gut feeling than anything else. You should end up narrowing it down to a collection of the top three or less. This process should help you clarify what your passion is (or what your passions are). Also, if you’ve discovered more than one, that’s OK! The people who have the richest lives are those who have discovered a way to combine their passions and fuse it into a business! Note: Native Americans would go on “Vision Quests” by traveling up to the mountains and essentially performing their own version of a fasting meditation. After coming back from their journey, difficult questions would be answered and problems were usually solved. This all came about because they gave themselves permission to let their mind to be free.
Nurture your passion
After this exercise in self discovery, what’s next? Your passion is like a child you have to constantly nurture.
–Nurture: “To care for and encourage the growth or development of”
It’s important to be aware that if any of your passions are at all artistic (like mine were), some people will attempt to discourage you from, “wasting your time.” I experienced this challenge first hand as I was growing up around my stepfather. From discovering the art of magic at the age of 12 until the day I moved out, my passion was continuously discredited and looked down upon. Fortunately, I had the support of my mother and a ton of persistence! It was actually my mother who allowed me to express my passion through my work which then fueled my desire to succeed.
Nurturing your passion can easily be done on your own by simply giving yourself permission to express your passion on a daily basis. If you have a 9-to-5 job completely unrelated to your passion, give yourself some time at the end of the day to express it in the form of one of the activities chosen in the earlier exercise. Who knows, after doing this for some time, you may have built a strong enough desire to shift your career toward your passion and eventually quit that 9-to-5! Follow your passion and transform your life! Remember, “What you focus on expands.”
Surround yourself with people of a similar mindset
Another way to easily nurture your passion is to start making conscious choices about who you socialize with. Do these people support you and your passion? The motivational speaker Jim Rohn made popular the idea that, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” Some advised to take this even further by advocating that you should purposefully end relationships with people who don’t support your passion or are extremely negative. This is easier said than done, especially if one of your family members that you live with on a regular basis falls into this category.
If you are living with these circumstances, I recommend that you simply add to your network more supportive people which will help outweigh the bad effects of the negative ones. This will tip the scale to your favor and lean you more in the right direction without having to abruptly end a relationship with someone else. I would also recommend that you avoid talking about your passion when around these negative/non-supportive people as it will only lead to more jealousy and unproductive conversations.
Pursue your passion
Uncover exactly what passions excite you and nurture it over time. Then go for it and pursue that dream! Think about it this way: to survive in this world, money is a necessity. Sure, it can buy us memorable experiences, help pay off student debt, and keep our heat on during the winter. However, there is something that many people in today’s society are lacking – soul satisfaction.
It’s a feeling deep down inside of you that cannot easily be described, but you know when you have it. This feeling tells us when we are fully aligned with what we were meant to do in life. It is so powerful and important, but yet we cannot assign it an exact dollar amount. Soul satisfaction is worth so much more than money alone. If we can align with our true purpose, everything else will fall into place and the money will follow. This is why I urge you to follow your passion and transform your life!
Make it about more than yourself
In order to pursue your passion, you must figure out how your passion can solve a problem in this world. After doing that, learn as much about marketing as you can. Finally, develop a way to serve others with your passion(s) and use that marketing knowledge to position yourself in front of the people you can serve. Sounds like a lot of work? That’s because it is! If you are following your passion, it no longer becomes work. It becomes the driving purpose behind everything that you do in life. By the way, remember the engineer I mentioned earlier who had the dream of becoming a pilot. That was my stepfather. Although he had a wonderful career as an engineer, I still sense that somewhere deep down inside he’s still dreaming about taking off the runway. Follow your passion and transform your life before it flashes before your eyes.