When the famous marketing guru Guy Kawasaki got his first job at Apple, he unknowingly discovered his career passion. He had wanted to work in Silicon Valley but didn’t yet know in what capacity. That is until he became a “software evangelist” for the first line of Macintosh computers in 1983. Despite having no previous experience, Guy Kawasaki took a chance and followed his instincts, and today, he is one of the most successful marketers in the world.
This is what finding your passion sometimes looks like. We all want our passion to be evident to us and to “present itself” right away. We also want it to be something we can easily make money doing. The reality is that your passion is most often right under your nose, and realizing it requires branching out of your comfort zone and taking risks. It may also require years of work and doing things you’re not passionate about first. For instance, Guy Kawasaki didn’t know brand evangelism was his destiny (first for Apple and today for Canva). He stumbled upon it after years of work and study on his way to Silicon Valley.
Finding your passion—and pursuing it—is entirely possible with the right strategies and mindset. In this article, we’ll explore how to find your passion and apply it personally and professionally for an abundant life. Discover:
- Why so many people struggle with finding their passion
- Three questions to ask yourself to find your passion
- How to align your passion for a fulfilling career and life
Why People Struggle With Finding Their Passion
Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.howard thurman
The pursuit of finding your passion sometimes arises out of a need for a new job, a new career, a healthier lifestyle, or other reasons. Maybe you’re miserable in your industry and craving more growth and advancement. Or maybe something in your life just feels “off,” and the status quo is no longer serving you. These are common scenarios. Yet, so many decide to play it safe and continue their jobs, even if it means doing something they don’t love.
One reason many struggle to find and live their passions is due to prospect theory. Prospect theory is the behavioral theory that links with loss aversion to explain how people weigh the potential risk with certainty. Prospect theory suggests a mindset of “losses loom larger than gains,” and this is why many choose not to find or pursue their passion.
For some, the idea of any potential losses (real or imagined) that they could incur by doing what may be required to follow their passion is greater than any of the potential benefits. For example, an accountant may love flowers and gardening. Perhaps she spends all her free time tending to her plants and researching horticulture. Becoming a florist or working in an agricultural role may secretly be her passion. But she decides to remain an accountant because she doesn’t want to lose her stable salary. For her, the loss of a good salary is greater than the loss of doing what she loves.
In these cases, committing to personal growth can be helpful with shifting your mindset and channeling positivity. By breaking any negative thought patterns, you can start reducing your fears and anxieties. As such, you’ll begin paving the way to form new thoughts and beliefs. For instance, instead of thinking, “If I do something else, I’ll have difficulty finding a job,” replace this mindset with, “Establishing myself in a new field that I love will be fun and exciting!”
Fear of Failure
While some may fear the perceived losses, others may simply have a fear of failure. Failure is another reason why people struggle with finding their passion. In this case, consider redefining your definition of failure and success. What does failure really look like? Is it trying something new and not succeeding, or is it failing to try at all?
Finding your passion and choosing to pursue it requires careful thought and consideration. You want to be sure to examine it from all angles with a clear and positive mindset. Risks and sacrifices will be inevitable, but following your passion boils down to one question: What’s worse, the pain of discipline or the pain of regret?
3 Questions to Ask to Find Your Passion
There is no greatness without a passion to be great, whether it’s the aspiration of an athlete or an artist, a scientist, a parent, or a businessperson.Tony robbins
There are three simple questions you can ask yourself to help find your passion. Once you’ve worked through each, spend time reflecting on your answers. You may have several responses to each question, and that’s okay. The key is to find where the questions overlap.
1. What am I uniquely gifted and skilled at?
Write down your skills with a pen and piece of paper. Then, examine each one closely. What are some skills you have that are unique? Or that you can do easily? Is there something you’ve done since you were a child that you don’t even realize? Many professional writers, for example, admit to having kept a journal or diary as a kid. Spend time thinking about your unique talents, from childhood to adulthood.
2. What am I passionate about?
If there are certain things you spend a good amount of free time doing, and you even tend to lose track of time while doing it, these are good indicators of activities or causes you’re passionate about. For example, do you volunteer every weekend at a soup kitchen? Or maybe you make it a point to host a dinner party every week? While this may not mean that you’re passionate about soup kitchens or dinner parties, per se, these are certainly clues. Maybe you are passionate about helping others. Or about food and cooking. That rewarding feeling you get when you do something you enjoy, or that intrinsic motivation, also points toward a potential passion. Pay attention to that.
3. What could I be paid for?
Unless you’re passionate about something that doesn’t yet exist or is off-beat, odds are there is a way you can make money doing it. Of course, if abstract painting is your passion, simply the act of painting may not generate cash. However, if you make your finished paintings available at local art markets and on Etsy, then you can get paid doing what you love. When you find your passion and choose to pursue it, it may mean making some adjustments so that it’s feasible, achievable, and profitable long-term.
Steps for Finding Your Passion
Sometimes, the questions above elicit multiple possible answers and options. Knowing which to follow and nurture can be confusing in these cases. Narrow down your answers and get a clearer picture with these steps.
- Write your mission statement: What do you ultimately want to be remembered for? What’s most important to you? Use these prompts to get clear on your mission statement. This will serve as your passion’s basis.
- Ask for advice: What do others think of your skills and passions? Do you know anyone else who discovered their passion and is living it out? How did they do it? Leaning on others for advice and feedback is a great way to gain clarity.
- Research the options: Always do research. How viable is your passion? Are others living it out successfully? Will people pay for it? Weigh the details and insights of what living out your passion might look like.
- Give it a test try: If you’re still uncertain, give it a test try. For example, if you want to bake wedding cakes for a living, make up some business cards and try and get your first client. If it goes well and they’re happy, keep going! If it didn’t go smoothly, learn from that and improve. Trial and error is always a good method for trying something new.
- Network with others: Connecting with like-minded people around a certain interest is huge. By networking with others, you’ll glean valuable insights that you can apply to your pursuits and possibly make important business connections that can help further your plan.
Aligning Your Passion for Living Abundantly
A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.john c. maxwell
Everything else improves when you live with patience, passion, and connection. Living with purpose motivates you to do your best work, spread positive energy, lift others up, and elevate yourself to the next level in business and life. For example, if you’re a leader, it inspires and encourages those who follow you, fosters “buy-in,” boosts team morale, and helps raise others to pursue their passions. For a company, this results in greater productivity, profits, and longevity.
This is what living with abundance is all about. The small daily challenges can sometimes cause us to lose sight of the bigger picture, but when you find your passion, everything falls in alignment.
For more insight on personal growth, continue reading “How to Create a Vision for Your Life: A Must for Leaders.“