I’m talking about the kind of passion that knows no time and lasts all night long. It then wakes you feeling refreshed even though you’ve only had a few hours of sleep and it’s ready to go again. And no, I’m not talking the sweaty kind.
I’m talking about the kind of passion that stems from inspiration and knowing that what you’re doing is part of your greater life purpose.
“Those who danced were thought to be quite insane by those who could not hear the music.” Angela Monet
The Wake Up Call
I remember feeling extremely lost in college. I was an economics and psychology major. Don’t ask me why I chose that combo, but at the time it sounded good.
Although I found my classes interesting when it got down to doing the actual assignments I wanted to be anywhere but at my desk figuring out statistics equations. At the time, I decided to bear it because I thought it was the right thing to do. I didn’t want to disappoint the people who loved and believed in me.
However, the lesson I came to learn was that in life when you choose to “bear it” because of not disappointing others it doesn’t work out too well.
By sophomore year I was miserable and getting less than stellar grades, which threatened my scholarship. When I finally landed in the hospital that was my wake up call.
It was while lying in that hospital bed that I made the decision that life’s too precious and too short to do anything but what I truly loved. I knew in my heart that I wanted to wake up every day feeling fulfilled, excited and filled with knowing that I was doing my part in making this world a better place.
At the time, it was easy to think those words from the hospital bed, it was much harder to live them. However, what was harder than living that promise was the thought of returning to that hospital.
At the time I had no idea what my passion was, but I was determined to find out.
So, I did the unthinkable I left school to figure out why I was in college, if I truly wanted to be there, and why? I admit most people didn’t understand. I got asked questions like, “Don’t you go to school to figure out what it is you want to do?” For some people yes, but for me it clearly wasn’t working.
During my time off I came up with my very own Personal Passion Discovery Plan. It involved asking myself powerful questions, doing exercises, and partaking in activities whose sole purpose was to uncover what my true passion was. Doing these steps allowed me to return to college and graduate and not only follow my dreams but turn them to a reality. I’ll admit it wasn’t always easy but I can’t imagine living any other way.
I truly believe in my heart that when you live your passion and align that passion with purpose it has the power to change the world.
Your Personal Passion Discovery Plan:
1. Know passion starts from within.
It’s easy to look for something outside of yourself to generate passion however true passion starts from within. Know that whatever gift you came here to share is already within you. You don’t need anything outside of yourself to be happy or feel fulfilled.
If you’re constantly looking outside of yourself for passion, love and fulfillment it creates a vicious cycle because the external world will never satisfy you.
People make mistakes and life doesn’t always go according to our plan. Sometimes we can’t see the bigger picture especially when we’re in the middle of some of life’s curve balls.
When you start thinking and knowing that your passion is already within the journey to living it fully doesn’t seem so far away. Not to mention your passion is supposed to be fun. And you never know, you may even start anticipating the balls life throws at you.
2. Set an intention.
There is so much power in setting an intention to find and live your passion now. By doing this you’re sending out a calling card to the universe to attract experiences, people, and circumstances designed to lift you to your higher purpose.
Set your intention simply by saying: “I am now fully living my passion every day in all areas of my life. My passion provides tremendous value and wealth to the world and to my life. For this I am grateful.”
Say this with all your heart several times a day. It can become a mantra for you. Whenever you start feeling off center you can say this to harness the power of intention.
3. What did you love doing as a child?
It’s the thing that you did as a child that when you did it you couldn’t hear your mother calling your name for dinner. You would spend hours immersed in this activity and time would seem to fly by.
Think back about what you did in grade school or even pre-school. Jot down all the things you loved to do even those that don’t make sense.
4. What does your inner child want to do today?
Part of finding and living your passion is allowing your inner child the freedom to express him/herself.
Since your inner child is very linked to your creativity, and discovering your passion is a creative process it is important to connect with him or her.
Take a moment and close your eyes. Take a few deep breaths and see yourself as a child. Observe yourself through your adult eyes and when the time is right ask him/her what he/she would like to do today.
What your inner child says to you will provide a clue about your passion. If it doesn’t make sense at first trust that it will. Make a commitment to do the activity your inner child wants you to do within a reasonable amount of time.
For a powerful inner child meditation read this post.
5. What have you secretly always wanted to do?
What have you always wanted to do? Go to the moon, travel the world, write a book?
Maybe for you it may not be quite a secret. Maybe at some point in your life you shared what it is you wanted to do with someone and they said it wasn’t possible or started bombarding you with questions that you didn’t have answers to.
Admitting to yourself what you’ve always secretly wanted to do is important in living a passion filled life. Even if you decide you don’t want to pursue this secret wish it is important to acknowledge it.
Take a moment and record everything you’ve secretly wanted to do no matter how far fetched it sounds.
I’ve always loved keeping a journal because it’s a great way to work out your emotions, ideas and it’s also great for clearing your mind.
An especially good time to journal is early in the morning, upon waking or right before you go to bed. Allow yourself the freedom to free write about whatever comes to mind. Don’t censor yourself or go back and edit. The point here is not to be grammatically correct, so put the spell checker away and allow your words to flow onto the paper.
I also recommend getting a smaller journal that fits easily in your purse or pocket. Use this to record thoughts ideas that come to you throughout the day.
7. Get Thankful.
Right now you may not be living your passion. You may actually be in a job or situation you hate but getting to a space of being thankful allows you to shift the energy of what is going on around you.
Start finding the reasons why you’re grateful for your current life. Write down the precious lessons you are learning in your present job or situation. Be thankful for how these lessons have allowed you to grow.
8. Seek to Express.
I’m sure you’ve heard of the phrase, “What’s in it for me?” Instead of focusing on what you get seek to express. Finding your passion is an expression of who you are. Don’t look for your passion to serve you but instead focus on serving your passion.
9. Do something new.
I am daring you to step completely outside the box. Better yet do something you’ve been told you’re bad at. Take a stand up comedy class especially if you’ve been told you don’t have a funny bone in your body. If you have two left feet learn to tango. Can’t sing to save your life record a song. Do something that would surprise even you. When you step out of your comfort zone you open yourself up to receive valuable gifts along the way.
10. What would you do for free?
If money did not exist in this world and the only currency that existed were your individual talents and gifts what would you do?
I have a few passions and one of them is my love of writing. I write this blog with the intention that it creates immense value in the lives of others. I love inspiring and giving to others and I gladly would do it for free.
Admitting that you would do something for free doesn’t mean you shouldn’t make a living using your gifts. On the contrary, it is completely okay to charge for your gifts.
The purpose of admitting to yourself what you would do for free gives you a clue into what you truly love doing.
11. Notice the clues.
Clues are all around you if you would just take notice. What do you enjoy reading? Where do you enjoy going? What makes you laugh? Look around your house with the intention of looking for clues as to what your passion is. Those clues may look like the items you collect, pictures etc.
Another great place to mine for clues is your online activity. What websites do you visit the most? What topics do you post the most about on social media? What posts do you comment on?
Exercise: There’s an exercise I love doing especially when I’m sitting in traffic and it’s fun too. For example you can either ask a question or make a statement. In this case, let’s pick a statement you can say: “I trust that along my drive I receive clear clues about my passion and purpose that I easily understand.” Repeat this to yourself periodically along your drive. Then notice the things that now come into your awareness. A billboard, a street sign, or even what’s playing on the radio can be a few of the various signs you receive. Try it and let me know what happens.
12. Spend time alone.
Our world is so busy that we often get swept up or plans that we forget to make time for ourselves.
Even when you have a family it’s important to spend time alone. I especially like going to the beach or a park. Have a picnic by yourself. Give yourself time to just be with yourself. Even if it’s a few hours it will center you and work wonders.
13. Do everything with passion.
I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “Work begets work.” Well how about, “Passion begets passion.”
Can you wash dishes with passion? How about taking out the trash? How about helping your kids with homework for a night of passion?
When you start approaching the most mundane tasks in your life with passion and gratitude you become present to the now moment. How can you do this? By approaching everything you do with love.
Turning a mundane task into a passionate one is about shifting your point of view.
Instead of seeing it as washing dishes, it becomes a cleansing of debris you no longer need, same with taking out the trash. Helping your child with homework becomes cultivating a young mind to reach it’s full potential. Once you start doing this with even the most mundane activities it will have a domino effect in your life.
I have done this process with cooking. I hated to cook at one point for years. There was nothing worse than being in the kitchen and laboring over a meal to me. One day that all shifted when I realized that I can cook with passion and love. A task I once loathed became a way for me to feed my body with the nutrients it needs to function.
14. Trust that you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.
If you’re worried that what you’re doing right now is not part of your life purpose, stop worrying because everything we do is part of our purpose. Find the gifts in your present situation. You are most likely learning the skills that you will need to fully step into your passion. Every life experience you have is teaching you a deeper lesson. Once you fully grasp that lesson you graduate to the next evolution of your life. So trust you are already on purpose and every decision and occurrence is part of fulfilling that purpose.
15. Honor yourself.
When you are true to your authentic self (who you really are), you are honoring yourself. When you are true to yourself you know this because you release joy.
If you are becoming a doctor or lawyer or artist because someone else wants you to be you may think that you’re making that individual happy but in actuality you are doing that person a disservice because their need for you to be a doctor, lawyer or artist is based on their own personal history or dream. By honoring your vision you give them permission to follow their vision.
Don’t worry about doing everything on the list. I have two rules:
1. Do what immediately appeals to you.
2. Do what you most resist.
Why? What appeals to you is your intuition speaking to you and what you resist is what you need to do for your self-growth.
You see, I was fortunate to land in that hospital bed because it forced me to realize three important things:
1. I wasn’t invincible.
2. My life’s a gift not to be wasted.
3. Life is a gift that’s only given once.
Finding my passion and aligning it with my purpose was one of the biggest risks I’ve taken in my life but when I look back on it I realize that I didn’t take a risk at all.
All I simply did was decide to live.
“Look and you will find it-what is unsought will go undetected.” -Sophocles
Please share with me your thoughts about this post. I’d love to hear about your experiences with these exercises and feel free to share your tips. What have you done that has been especially useful for you? We are all constantly growing and learning and I look forward to your thoughts, comments and questions.