How Do I Find My Passion? Two Easy Answers to Your Question.
“How do I find my passion?” Many frustrated clients have asked me this question over the years.
If you find yourself asking yourself the same question, I strongly empathize with the pain and anxiety that not having the answer to this question creates.
The process of finding your passion is often frustrating since no one else can ever answer this for you.
Your Authentic Passion
Finding your passion requires that you connect with your authentic self.
If a part of you feels a little disconnected from your authenticity, please know how understandable this is. When you have a lot of demands of your time and attention, including a steady stream of notifications, it can be challenging to go within.
Luckily, since authentic simply means “genuine” or “real,” your authentic self already lives inside of you. This is the version of you that exists innately outside of who you believe you need to be to be accepted.
Discovering your passions is about uncovering your authentic self rather than developing the self. You will find your passion when you allow yourself time and space to reconnect with yourself.
There are many strategies to connect with your authentic self which includes your passions. These, of course, include therapy, coaching, and journaling.
What Did You Love Doing as a Child?
One strategy to connect with your authentic passions is to remember what brought you joy as a child.
What could you spend hours doing? What did you love doing just because it was fun?
Maybe it’s dancing, singing, painting, writing, baking, or playing with animals just to name a few ideas! Remembering what brought you true joy as a child is one of the secrets to discovering your true passion.
Unfortunately, a lot of us received messages growing up that are true dreams aren’t practical. This can create wounding which makes us hesitant to honor our true passions. We may be afraid of being judged by our families or disappointing them if we follow our heart rather than what others have deemed a secure path. This is incredibly painful and disconnects us from our passions.
Growing up, whenever I told my parents I wanted to be a writer they explained to me it wasn’t a “real job.” When it became time to pick a career, writing didn’t seem like a viable option because of what I’d been told as a child. I chose the path of being a therapist because I am genuinely passionate about the human capacity to heal. Yet, over the last two years, I started to become burnt out in my career. I realized that it’s because I wasn’t honoring my first love which is writing. Returning to my love for writing (which I’m doing here!) has allowed me to live more greatly into my authenticity.
Reconnecting with Your Passions
Reconnecting with your younger self, sometimes, called inner child work is powerful for reconnecting you with your passions. As Cathryn Taylor who is known as the “mother of inner child work” states, the inner child is the “truly alive quality of being within us.” If you want to go deeper into discovering your authentic self and passions, I encourage you to complete her book, The Inner Child Workbook: What to do with your past when it just won’t go away.
Admittedly, early in my career as a therapist, I mocked inner child work. It just seemed so cheesy and dated. Over time, I came to realize the real reason I hated this work was precisely because I was ignoring my own inner child self.
If you feel similarly, please know that doing this work can be incredibly powerful in laying the ground work to the authentic life of your dreams. And you can go slowly.
If you are resisting your true passions because you’re afraid of judgment or disappointing the people in your life, I want to honor that fear. It can be so scary to go against what we’ve been told we “should” do to make others proud (or have financial security). However, I want to also highlight that the fear of upsetting the people in your life is a different concern than not knowing your authentic passions. You may, deep down, already know what you really want to do with your life.
Related: Overcoming What You’ve Been Told You “Should” Do to be Authentic
To help manage the anxiety related to disappointing the people in your life, I encourage you to ensure you have strong boundaries. Having good boundaries allows you to live with confidence while accepting you can’t always make others happy if you want to listen to your true self.
If you want to go deeper and develop strong boundaries for life, I encourage you to take my course, Confidently Authentic: Stop People Pleasing and Start Being True to Yourself which provides over 60 lessons to support you in developing healthy boundaries.
Related: Setting Boundaries is Hard: A Simple Exercise to Help
Visualizing Your Authentic Dream Life
Visualization is the skill of using your imagination to envision yourself in the future or completing a certain task. It’s another skill which sometimes sound cheesy. Yet, it’s a popular tactic used by Olympic athletes to help them succeed in their sport including Michael Phelps’ coach who has worked with him since he was a teenager.
Research shows visualization provides greater success and even changes our body! In one study, they asked some participants to do exercises on their little finger while others just visualized these strength training exercises. Those who actually did the exercises increased the strength in their finger by 53% while the group who just visualized the exercises increased by 35%! Just thinking about the exercises literally made the participants stronger!
For this exercise, you simply want to give yourself permission to connect with your authentic self which reveals your true passions.
When you visualize your authentic dream life, you are then provided a roadmap to where you genuinely want to go in life instead of just doing “what makes sense.” When you see your dream destination, you then can make conscious decisions guiding you in that direction. This is powerful because just like you need a destination in mind to be effective when you drive, the same is true of your life.
I’ve created a visualization to help you imagine your authentic best life which I’ve included below.
Please find a quiet spot and give yourself 10 minutes for the following exercise. As you go through this exercise, please allow yourself to dream rather than worrying about how you will accomplish this of what you envision.
Whatever you notice during this exercise is perfect for you at this time. There is no right or wrong visualization here.
Action Step to Discover How to Live Your Passion
It takes courage to be willing to envision your authentic dream life. After all, you may be afraid of disappointing others by honoring what truly lights you up. Or, you may be afraid that you may see your current life and your authentic dream life are quite different.
If this is the case, please know that this practice is simply providing you a roadmap. You do not have to get to your final dream destination in a week, a month, a year or even 5 years from now.
Instead, this visualization allows you to see what next step you want to take. I encourage you to contemplate or journal about one small change you can make to your current schedule to move a step closer to your dream life.
Personally, when I last completed this visualization a few months ago, I saw that I rode my bike to a local, independent coffee shop to blog. Yet, at this time, I didn’t know how to ride a bike since I never learned growing up. I realized to get closer to my dream life then I needed to practice riding a bike. I’m so excited to write that as of yesterday I was able to ride around my whole neighborhood on a bike two times! I’m closer to my dream life than before.
So, what’s one small change you can make to take a step towards your authentic passions and dream life? I’d love if you would share!