The Secret to Finding Your Passion (Hint: It’s Not What You Think)
Ever say to yourself, “If I could just figure out what I’m really passionate about, everything else will take off?”
If so, you’re not alone.
One of the most common stumbling blocks to launching a passion-based life is figuring out what you’re passionate about in the first place.
Sadly, many of us go about finding our passion in the wrong way. How? By thinking about it.
We’re habituated to use our minds to analyze, rationalize, and figure things out. It’s natural, yet oooooh so torturesome.
Common techniques to find passion include:
- Taking expensive psychological tests
- Recalling childhood interests
- Sitting at Starbucks watching your friend’s eyes glaze over after asking questions like “I don’t know…what do you think I should do?”
Here’s the problem: Passion can’t be found in your head because it lives in your heart.
And the flames of passion are fanned by engagement, not thought. Juicy, right?
Here’s what I mean: No matter how hard you try, you cannot figure out your passion by thinking about it. You need to take action and feel your way to your truth, from the inside out.
For example, for years, before I stepped foot in a dance studio, I often wondered about dancing hip-hop.
But most of my thoughts sounded like this: “Wow…dancing professionally would be awesome, but you’re too old to get started. Most pros start training when they’re five. You’ve had zero professional training, and you’re already in your twenties. Get real.”
Or, “It sounds exciting, but dance as a career is crazy and irresponsible. There’s no money in that. You studied business finance, so you should do something more stable and related to what you know.”
The endless and debilitating chatter in our minds often tries to talk us out of what our hearts are yearning to explore.
The first time I took a class in a professional dance setting, I started to cry (happy tears, of course) because actually doing it felt right.
No matter how much I wondered about it before, it wasn’t until I physically took action that my real passion (and gift) for dance fully emerged.
And from taking action rather than staying in my head, I was able to carve out a little niche for myself in the hybrid world of dance and fitness.
Rather than following traditional hip-hop dancer goals (like going on tour with major recording artists or auditioning for music videos), I was asked to become one of the world’s first Nike Elite Dance Athletes—a category Nike created after I got started.
Not to get too woo-woo on you, but magic really does start to happen when you follow your heart.
Embrace this key idea and it will change your life: Clarity comes from engagement, not thought.
But taking action on something you suspect to be your passion is just part of the story. There’s another important (and rarely discussed) piece to the passion puzzle.
And this, my friend, is the fastest, most powerful way to turn what you love into a business or career that can sustain you.
Proactively bring passion to everything you touch, to everything you do. No matter what task is in front of you, bring as much enthusiasm and energy to it as you possibly can. @marieforleo (Click to Tweet!)
Bring your full attention, your full presence, the Godlike quality that each of us has within, to every task in your day.
Whether you’re brushing your teeth, making love, or cleaning the kitty litter—do it like you want to do it.
When you make this shift, you’ll ignite business ideas and creative insights far beyond what your thinking mind alone is capable of.
And let’s face it. Passion is contagious. When you’re fully present and passionately engaged with your life, people around you take notice and want in on whatever you’re doing.
Another side benefit to proactive passion is kicking life-sucking habits like procrastination, resistance, and complaining straight to the curb.
Now that you’re armed with an understanding of passion, do the following four steps to unleash yours.
Four Steps to Find Your Passion
1. Love everything you do.
From this moment forward, if you don’t like something, you’ve got two choices: stop doing it (quit, delegate it, hire it out) OR love it with all your heart.
Anything else is madness.
When you commit to love everything you do, you strengthen your “passion muscles” from the inside out and open up a divine channel so that what you’re meant to do can be revealed.
Remember, we human beings are creatures of habit. You can’t be whiny, complainy, and miserable for eighty percent of your day and expect to be enthusiastic and passionate in the last twenty percent.
And if you’re feeling really stuck on this whole “finding your passion” thing, this is the fastest way to get your motor running.
Know this: Truly successful people are never the victim of their circumstances. They realize they have ultimate power in any situation and take responsibility for their experience.
Don’t forget: In any given moment, if you can’t change what you’re doing, you can always change how you’re doing it.
2. Look at your book collection, magazines, DVDs, CDs, and credit card statements. Notice any themes?
What subjects are you constantly gravitating toward? What are you already spending your time, money, and energy on?
What thread(s) have been recurring in your life again and again?
As best as you can, check in with your heart and physical body, not your head.
Anything “light you up” so to speak? Do you feel a sense of expansion in your body?
Do you feel excitement (or perhaps even a little fear) when you imagine a certain topic or possibility? Those are all good signs.
Remember, our passions are often irrational and war with logic and reason. That’s why it’s important to shift your attention into your heart and your physical body when exploring these questions.
Your heart and physical body contain wisdom far beyond the capacity of your mind.
3. What do you love to talk about, learn about, and/or teach others about?
This is a really useful question.
Don’t edit yourself here. With nearly seven billion people on the planet, chances are that there’s a market out there hungry for information, products, or resources on your topic.
Or there’s a company looking for someone with your unique set of gifts and interests to join their team.
If you’re having trouble coming up with ideas, ask close friends and family (the honest ones) what you never seem to shut up about.
Also, don’t underestimate the power of incorporating your passion into your already existing career or business.
You may not need a total overhaul in what you’re doing. Maybe you simply need to inject more of what you LOVE into your life right now.
For example, Nathalie, a raw-food expert, recently rediscovered her passion for growing trees. Now, she’s giving a portion of her revenue to not-for-profit tree organizations and is building this component into her existing brand.
With that tiny tweak, she just gave herself a competitive advantage over other raw-food experts who aren’t passionate about any cause (or brave enough to share it), and she is way more motivated to market and sell her products and services because they’re tied to making a bigger difference in the world.
4. Quit talking and start doing.
Now that you’ve gotten this far, the next step is to begin taking consistent passion-based action each day.
That could mean writing, making videos, recording audios, taking a class, or somehow engaging in an activity you love.
And here’s the best part. Taking action on your passion often requires little to no cash outlay.
Articles, videos, and writing take no money. Only time, effort, and focus. And beginner classes can often be inexpensive or, sometimes, even free.
Building your life around what you love is something you’ll never regret.
It’s your passion for what you do that will give you the drive, commitment, and energy necessary to create any amount of success and fulfillment you desire, and you’ll have an extraordinary time while you do it.
That’s everything you need to know about finding your passion and probably a little more because I just can’t help myself—I’m passionate about sharing this work with you. Now go ahead and get started and don’t forget to let me know how it goes!
One of the most common stumbling blocks to launching a passion-based life is figuring out what you’re passionate about in the first place. Here’s why you need to stop thinking about it today.
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Marie Forleo was interviewed by Oprah as a thought leader for the next generation. Her mission is to help you realize your greatest potential and use your unique talents to change the world. She’s the creator of the award-winning MarieTV, founder of B-School, and has been featured in Entrepreneur Magazine, Fast Company, and Forbes.com among others. Marie’s been interviewed by Tony Robbins as one of the world’s leading lifestyle and online marketing experts and mentored young business owners at Richard Branson’s Centre of Entrepreneurship. Through her Change Your Life, Change The World® initiative, each for profit training program is tied to a non-profit partner who supports women, the environment, and entrepreneurship.March 1, 2014