Finding your passion is much like going down the rabbit-hole from the children’s book ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’.
After the initial leap, you’ll soon find yourself wandering along an unknown path that will take you deeper and deeper. You’ll lose track of time, it’ll change who you are, and eventually you’ll end up in a completely different world than the one you’re in right now.
‘Find your passion.’
It’s a phrase often used in self-growth and personal development seminars.
This doesn’t mean it’s overused.
If you want to thrive, if you want to become the best possible version of yourself… it’s almost impossible to pull it off without passion.
Passion is energy.
Passion gives you the energy to get out of bed when you have the option to snooze. Passion gives you a tremendous amount of focus in a world where it’s easy to find distraction. And passion gives you the motivation to be productive even when you’re having a bad day.
Passion is energy. And energy is the source of creation. The more you have it, the more likely you’ll be successful.
So let’s find it.
Looking for the Rabbit-Hole.
As stated at the beginning of this article, finding your passion will make you feel like Alice must have felt going down the rabbit-hole.
Problem is, most people who are compelling others to ‘find their passion’ were lucky enough to stumble upon it themselves. They never needed a map to find it.
This leaves the rest of us searching in the dark.
You’re not alone. There’s nothing wrong with you if you didn’t stumble upon your passion as of yet. It just means you’ll have to proactively look for it.
Here’s the map. Here’s how to find your rabbit-hole in five not so easy steps…
Five steps to finding your passion.
1. Explore with purpose.
When you’re late for an important meeting on the other side of town, but you lost your house keys, you’re not going to go on with your day until you stumble upon them by chance.
You look for them.
It’s the same with your passion. If you want to find the thing you’re passionate about, you’ll have to look for it – deliberately:
- Recall what you were fascinated by in childhood. What activities did you enjoy when you were a kid?
- Find the common theme among the books, podcasts, films and series you like. What topics are you already interested in? And can you learn more about it?
- Have a look at what you spend your money on. Anything that stands out? Anything you could make better, or start selling yourself?
- Talk with friends and family about their hobbies. What do they like to do in their free time? What do they like about it and why?
- Who are the people you admire? What are they passionate about?
If you haven’t discovered a potential passion project yet, plan to experience something new every other weekend. Subscribe to a workshop, go somewhere you’ve never been before, plan an activity you’ve never participated in before, volunteer for a good cause.
In the weekends you haven’t planned to experience anything new, take a good hour to learn something new about the things you’re already interested in.
Find the curiosity you had in you when you were a kid, and explore the world with a new set of eyes.
You can’t expect to find something if you don’t look for it.
2. Find something that resonates with you.
Don’t stop exploring until you found a doorway that leads to something that intrigues you. Until you’ve found something that resonates with you on a deeper level, something you’d like to contribute to or simply be part of.
Working on a passion project should make you lose track of time. Learning more about it, shouldn’t be a drag – it should be interesting!
You think you’ve found what you were looking for? Let’s step through that door and advance to the next step.
Multiple doorways. It’s entirely possible you’ll find more than one potential passion project. Make sure to limit yourself following one or two (maximum 3) of these paths at the same time, you don’t want to dilute your focus too much.
3. Adopt a vision.
Now you’ve found something that peaks your interest, it’s time to learn all the ins and outs. Adopt a vision from a thought leader in the field that resonates with you. Don’t steal this vision, borrow it – there’s a big difference.
Now make it your purpose to make this vision come alive.
This vision can be big (fighting climate change), or small (helping kids become a better football player). As long as you can lose yourself in it, it’s the right thing for you.
We don’t all have to be revolutionaries. As a matter of fact, the world would be very chaotic if everyone was.
Your passion doesn’t have to be meaningful. It helps if that what you’re interested in, contributes to shaping the world as you’d like to see it. A ‘higher cause’ can be a great source of motivation. But a passion doesn’t have to be meaningful.
For example, one of the things I am passionate about is marketing and advertising – not necessarily great contributors to improving the world we live in. But I love it, because I am fascinated by human behaviour and that what influences it.
4. Develop and apply your talents.
Find a way to use your personal talents to contribute to your new-found purpose.
If you don’t seem to have any particularly helpful talents, develop them. Learn to do the things that’ll help bring your (adopted) vision come to life.
Often, the most effective way to achieve this, is to work for someone who is knowledgeable in the field you’re interested in. You’ll be able to dedicate a lot more time to your passion if you get paid to do it.
With the right support, and a lot of patience and persistence you’ll learn to make a valuable contribution – one step at the time.
Over the years, recognition for your work will follow suit, which will deepen your passion even further.
Further down the rabbit-hole we go.
5. Create your own vision.
A real passion changes your priorities, it changes you.
Over time, your passion project should make you feel more and more confident in your capabilities. And when you pair capability with confidence, you’ll naturally grow into a leadership position.
This won’t happen overnight, but when it happens the time has come to broadcast your own vision.
You’ll have gone full circle. From student to teacher, from follower to leader.
The long-winded road to Wonderland.
Finding and developing your passion takes time. The path that leads to Wonderland is long-winded and can often be difficult to see.
Whenever you feel like giving up, remember why you started to look for your passion in the first place: to create a better and more meaningful life for yourself. It’ll be worth your time.
Now stop dreaming. Find your rabbit-hole and take the leap.
Start with step 1.
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