Finding Your Passion
Self-help gurus tell you all the time to follow your passion, do what you love, get in the zone. Do you ever wonder “what the heck are they talking about”? How do you find your passion? What do you love – that you can make money at? Where is this mysterious zone they keep referring to?
You’re probably the kind of person who works hard, with commitment and persistence. When you know what you’re doing, nothing will stop you. But before you can become unstoppable, you need to know what you’re starting. Before you can follow your passion, you have to find it.
This week we are going to find that passion, spark, mojo that sets you on fire. We are going to get quiet, go inward and be honest about what sparks joy within us—and then take action to actualize it. This week will be very, very powerful. Listening to your inner wisdom and being guided by it brings with it certain magic.
If you’re feeling stuck, here are seven questions to discover what you really want to do with your life. Take time to work through these questions and know that, no matter what, you’ll be getting closer to where you want to be.
1. What’s your perspective?
If you went into a movie with the strong opinion — “I hate stupid comedies. Why did I agree to come to this movie? What a waste of time and money this is going to be.”—the two to three hours you spend in the theater will be a complete waste of time. You won’t enjoy any of the funny scenes, you will nitpick the entire experience and even complain about the popcorn. It is very unlikely you’ll find anything fun about that movie. When you leave you will tell everyone how bad that movie was and they should not go to see it.
I do this often. I agree to something I don’t really want to do, then spend days telling myself what a bad time I am going to have. SURPRISE – I have a bad time. However, when I put my happy face on and tell myself that even though I don’t want to be here, I might as well enjoy myself magically I have a good time. Frequently, I have such a good time I am near the last to leave a party I didn’t want to attend in the first place.
What is the difference? Perspective. According to Meriam Webster perspective is a particular attitude or way of regarding something, a point of view.
What is your perspective about finding your passion? If you’re convinced that finding your passion is hard, or that it’s not going to happen for you, you’ll remain closed to possibilities. You’ll block the little nudges, pulls, and signals that guide us all. After all, how can you expect to find fulfilling work if you don’t believe it exists?
Choose to adopt the perspective that you can do what you love with your life. One of the best ways to strengthen this point of view is to surround yourself with people who are living examples. How many of your friends and family are following their passions? If it’s not many, it might be time to expand your circle; associate with—and be inspired by—men and women who are inspired by their work.
2. How do you spend your free time?
When you have some unexpected free time what do you do, or what to you want to do? I have always wanted to paint. I have entire collections of art exhibits in my head. I go to art galleries and imagine my work there. Barrier to this dream – I have no talent! But one day I am going to take lessons and create those images in my head.
My trainer is great at what she does. When she has free time or extra money she takes photographs. She took a photography class with her dad and spent a weekend taking pictures around Dallas. She follows only photographers on Instagram and reads photography blogs and articles online whenever possible. Right now, she uses her talent to take pictures of her children and friends. But one day she wants to make this a side business – and she has the talent to do it!
For many of us what we spend that idle time doing could be a great indicator for what our side hustle passion is. So, once you’ve decided that your passion is findable, it’s time to look for evidence of what you already love to do. If you scan the moments of your life, you’ll notice certain experiences bring you joy.
3. Who do you admire and want to be like?
Ok, you just rolled your eyes and said “what free time, what joy”? If your life is full of daily tasks that leave you absolutely no time for fun or idle activities what do you do to find you passion?
When my son was small, his father was terminally ill, and I had a full-time job to keep our insurance benefits, I had absolutely zero leisure time. I was boss, worker, mother, wife, nurse, housekeeper, cook, etc. My life was planned in 15 minute increments and none of those line items had the words “me time” on it. How did I find my bliss in those years?
Well, I did have “free time” when I was commuting to and from work. In that hour each way I listened to audio books. Most of those books were about improving myself or inspirational in some way. Well and the occasional mystery or vampire book.
What I discovered as I reviewed my listening history is that I admire Oprah for the inspirational work she does and how she did not give in to the pressure to create a talk show that was more like Jerry Springer than Joel Olsteen. I also admired Suze Orman. She has great advice and skills to teach us about money management. She has books, courses, television shows and other resources to reach and help masses of people.
When I took the time to find my own passion it was right there in my download history – I am passionate about helping people not only manage their finances, but also manage their relationship with money. I want to help others live rich in every aspect of the words.
What do you watch on television? What is in your browser history? What podcasts to you listen to? What books do you read? Who do you admire? Why do you admire them?
I also admire Richard Branson. He is stinking rich, has his own island, listens only to himself, has hundreds of companies and is a trailblazer. He lives on the edge – lives dangerously – thrives on the unexpected. Although I admire his accomplishments, I do not in any way want to be like him. I am a rule breaker, but I value safety. I have several companies, but the pressure of hundreds would crush me. At any one time Branson has 10 active lawsuits – that would make me crazy.
The point of this – examine why you admire someone. Is it just because they are rich and famous or is it because their values resonate with yours? Can you actually see yourself behaving in the same way as those you admire? Or, do you admire one aspect and can morph that into your own passion? Who we admire is a huge indicator of who we secretly would like to become. Review who you obsess over—it's a bright, shining clue.
4. Can I make money at that?
There is nothing like a consistent hobby to reveal an awesome hustle idea. The only difference between a hustle and a hobby is that a hustle pays—meaning it provides a service for others, not just for your own enjoyment. What do you love to do that you are really good at and can be paid for?
It might be that, through this exploration, you fall head over heels in love with an activity that engrosses you—something that lights you up and makes your heart sing. But now you have to ask yourself the next question: Who would benefit from - or pay for - this?
Well, if you want to contribute your passion to society and make an income from it, you need to get realistic about whether this could actually turn into a career—and what you would need to do to make that happen. Moreover, think about if you would even enjoy doing those things; for some people, a passion is just fun, and turning it into work changes it from a “love to do” to a “have to do.”
For example, my friend Al sells Mickey Mouse watches on ebay. He loves to scout around to find them at garage sales, online, pawn shops, really all over the place. He cleans them up, researches their history and crafts a story to sell online. He does this for the sheer joy of it and makes a decent amount of money on the side. But, when he attempted to turn this passion into a profitable business, he realized that the market for those who were hungry for his products was very niche and small. It was not enough to replace his day job.
But my friend Courtney loves, loves, loves to style people. She has a real talent for what looks good, how to bring out our best features and is a master for the perfect fit. She loves to walk into a closet and create a handful of perfect outfits for every occasion. She can take any body type – male or female – and make your closet sing. You will become a real fashionista from you own closet.
She used this talent to create a business that replaced her full-time job. Now she does what she loves and has trained other people on this skill - who now work for her. I have used her company and when I wear an outfit she styled for me I feel rich.
Be alert to who might need your newly emerging passion, and aim to have conversations with them to get you clearer on how, where, and when you can serve them.
5. What do you fear?
Human beings are funny. We are unreasonably hard on ourselves, quick to point out our flaws and slow to recognize our skills. I once coached a very high-achieving CEO, and getting her to share her leadership strengths with me was like pulling teeth! Her ongoing fear was that people would not like her.
If this sounds like you, instead of thinking which qualities you most value in yourself, ask, "What parts of me do I dislike the least?" Allow yourself to remember past accomplish- ments or times where you've really helped others. Let the parts of you that you might secretly feel proud of truly shine.
When you seek your passion, there’ll be parts of you that go into rebellion. I’d guess that this blog itself might be provoking some of those resistant parts! We all have a huge number of fears—around failure, success, visibility, and vulnerability—that speak in sensible voices, instructing us that we really can’t do what we love. We don’t deserve to enjoy our work. That’s why work is four letter word.
If you let these voices win, your passion will remain out of your grasp. Instead, look for the fear beneath each supposedly reasonable voice. Uncover the years of conditioning—from parents, school, partners, and colleagues—and reassure the scared parts of you that your ship is sailing in the right direction.
6. What can you talk about forever?
What subject brings on that "I could talk about this all day!" feeling? My brother in law, for example, loves talking about flying—if he had a second job, it would be as a pilot, he always says. He can go on for hours about planes, the art and science of flying. He can discuss every aircraft from the Wright brothers, to the early bi-wing planes, to the Red Baron of world war one, to the world war two P51 mustangs to the stealth bomber of today. When we go to an air and space museum he knows more than the docent.
It's important to ask yourself not only which topics energize you but which people can get excited about them with you. It's critical to nurture relationships where a common passion unites you. Which leads us to . . .
7. Who is your tribe?
Your tribe consists of people who get you. It might not be your colleagues, your college pals, or even your siblings. A close former coworker of mine found her tribe at a popular local Baptiste yoga class. When I see her around her tribe, she is the brightest and most energized version of herself. It's awesome!
If you don't have a "tribe" already, you can find one. Use all the clues from the answers above to pinpoint your interest and then locate a group that shares it. Join a book club. Take a cooking class. Learn social media marketing skills at a local college. Volunteer at an animal shelter. Opportunities and people are everywhere when you open your eyes and look. I found some remarkable tribal pals at my mastermind group with JB Glossinger, where I spent three weeks a year with people of all ages and professional backgrounds looking to be their best selves.
Now that you've asked yourself these questions, is a path clearer to you? Once you have some clarity, you must take action. Nothing, nothing, nothing changes without action.
Ask yourself: What are three things that I can do over the next seven days to bring my passion to life? Then do them. Set up that YouTube account so you can start posting your instructional videos. Tell your friends and colleagues you're available as a party planner in exchange for a testimonial. Ask the woman you look up to in marketing if you can buy her a latte for 20 minutes of her time. The options are endless.
On my own journey, I’ve mostly lived by the motto: “Leap and the net will appear.” I’ve noticed I couldn’t find the new until I’d said farewell to the old. With each step into the unknown—for example, quitting my high paid salaried job to go fully self-employed—my announcement to the universe has been: I’m available. I’m serious about this.
I’ve been called brave, but I don’t see it that way; I’ve simply been more committed to my happiness and freedom than to staying cozy with the status quo. Find your own version of brave. Discover what risks work for you. The path of passion is where you do things that scare you enough, without leaving you in a constant state of fear. Expand your comfort zone, rather than leaving it.
This week, answer three of these questions. Then answer three more. And then watch what happens. Keep doing this—never stop doing. The results will astound you once you get busy.
The world needs your passion, so decide right now that it’s possible to find it, and use this guidance to gain clarity. When you find your passion, be assured: it will always guide you to the right place for you.
Until next week
January 17, 2018
Join me every Wednesday on my podcast “Unlocking the Secret to Living Rich”.
If you have questions or comments you can find me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram @cindybbrown777 or contact me at my email firstname.lastname@example.org
Who is Cindy Brown? Cindy is a CPA, MBA, CFO, board member of public and private companies, business consultant, entrepreneur coach and a foremost expert in the field of financial and strategic
mastery. Cindy’s purpose is to motivate, educate and inspire people to live their richest life. She is the host of a weekly podcast, “Unlocking the Secret to Living Rich”.