What is passion? The dictionary definition includes strong feelings and emotions, a powerful and compelling desire. As an intense, sweeping force, passion can be advantageous. But is “Follow your passion” bad advice?
Should I Pursue My Passion?
When most people ask “What is my passion?”, they’re usually looking for some guidance as to what kind of career they want to pursue in life or how to make the best use of their time. It seems like a smart question. Passion can be the energy that keeps us engaged with something even when we debate its worthiness. We can discover the things we’d really like to do in life when we consider what gets us all riled up. Who doesn’t want to build a business off of their dreams? But in order to successfully utilize passions, you need a plan to keep those passions in line. You can’t build a plan or career off of passion itself.
A marriage, for example, cannot be based on passion. You might feel a passionate connection to your spouse that initially encouraged you to marry them. And you likely enjoy their company quite often. But there will be times where you feel quite passionate about them — and not in a good way. It’s during those times that you need some basic principles and ideals to fall back on. Why did you get married? What do you believe about marriage? What are your goals for your marriage? Remembering those things can help you get through the hard times, and it’s important to decide those things before you’re hitting bumps and not in the middle of them.
Finding My Passion and Following My Plan
Instead of waiting for a magical cricket to croon to us about wishing on a star, we need to come up with a logical plan and let that be the cornerstone of our passion pursuits. Sometimes the facts are all we have to fall back on when our passions have taken us up and down an emotional roller coaster ride.
For example, you may want to be a famous actor someday, and that’s great! But if you drop everything to jump at the first commercial part offered to you, you’re not going to have anything to fall back on when you’re done. You need a steady job to support you and any family you have in the meantime, plus a detailed plan on how to make it to the top, step by step. A basic way of doing this is by looking at your goal and working backward: I want to be a famous actor, but I need to score a big part. Before I can do that, I need to get some smaller roles. Before I can do that, I need to join some casting calls. Before that, get an agent, take lessons, practice, practice, practice….
Finding your passion will help you discover what kinds of goals you want to set for your life. But your passion cannot guide you. Set a plan to reach those goals, and let passion be your traveling companion instead of your leader.
How Do I Find My Passion?
Now if you’re still wondering how to discover your passion, there are many things you can try, but you need to realize that not everyone will discover their “dream come true” after doing a few simple self-examinations. For some people it can take years or even decades to find a fulfilling pursuit. And you know what? That’s okay. Sometimes you have to try a few things — or a lot of things — before you uncover the thing that makes your heart sing. To realize your passion, consider these questions:
- What do you feel strongly about?
- What would you like to start a business in?
- What are your strengths and weaknesses?
- What do you spend all your free time on?
- What sounds fun to do in the future?
- What kind of stuff do you collect?
- What are you interested in?
- What do you like to dream about?
- What do you want to buy that you can never find?
- What problem do you have that needs to be fixed?
- What do you wish people would stop telling you that you can’t do?
- Think about any new friends you’d want to make — what do they like?
- What kind of club, no matter how crazy it sounds, do you wish you could join?
You may notice a recurring theme in your answers to those questions. However, even if you’re still unsure of what you love, just pay attention to the things in your life that keep popping up again. Maybe you don’t think it’s practical to have a career in a certain field, but what if….? There are plenty of people out there who have concocted some crazy-sounding dreams, but the reality of those dreams didn’t just fall into their laps. They came up with a plan, and they pursued that plan. Start planning today and see what you come up with. Ask yourself, “What is my passion?”, but don’t forget to ask, “What is my plan?”