Passion is everywhere today. Find your passion. Follow your passion. Fuel your passion. Whether you’re a new college graduate embarking on your first job or a veteran professional exploring new opportunities, you’re bound to hear about the importance of finding your passion—but what does that even mean?
What Is Passion?
Let’s start with the dictionary definition, of which passion has several according to Merriam-Webster. Notably, the definitions we’re most concerned with explain passion as an emotion, “an intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction,” and passion as love, “a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept.” Sounds…powerful.
Like so many other buzzwords and clichés today, passion tends to be an overused term. To get away from the watered-down viewpoint, I like to approach passion from another perspective: its relationship to joy. Your passions are simply the things in life—people, places, activities—that bring you joy.
We’ve all heard the saying “Some people work to live, and others live to work.” How does passion fit in? This quote is often interpreted as a right way to live and a wrong way to live, but I don’t see it that way. Passion and joy are different for everyone. Some people thrive when they find joy in how they earn a living, but others are at peace with less emotional connection to their work and instead relish the joy in their passions outside their nine-to-five. Understanding how your passions work for you is just as important as finding your passion.
How Do You Find Your Passion?
We can all probably agree that finding your passion is a worthwhile pursuit—albeit an overused phrase. Finding your passion is meaningful, whether you’re on a quest for spiritual fulfillment or you just want to have a good life.
So how do you find your passion? There’s plenty of advice out there, but not all of it is sound advice. Let’s debunk some of the myths around finding your passion and uncover best practices at the same time.
MYTH: YOU’RE DESTINED FOR A SPECIFIC PASSION.
All too often, you’re encouraged to find your one true passion. That sounds like a lifelong hunt for a needle in a haystack! And if you don’t find it? Well, better luck in your next life. The truth is that everyone has more than one passion. There are all kinds of different passions, interests, and pursuits that will bring you joy. Don’t lock yourself into a singular pursuit; instead, explore everything that sparks your interest.
MYTH: YOU’LL FIND YOUR PASSION WHEN YOU’RE YOUNG. AND THEN IT MIGHT CHANGE.
I just had a conversation with my 23-year-old son about this one. He was hesitant to pursue a new endeavor because he had recently changed jobs. He felt pressure to stay on a certain path. I reminded him that he doesn’t need to have his entire life figured out at 23—or 53 for that matter! Passions change and evolve over time. Be open to following different passions at different stages of life.
MYTH: YOU’LL BE SUCCESSFUL AND HAPPY ONCE YOU FIND YOUR PASSION.
Finding your passion helps add joy to your life, but it’s not the sole key to happiness. In fact, people may have something that they love to do, but as soon as it becomes part of their job, they lose their passion for it. It can be tricky to navigate. Don’t worry if your passion is reserved for recreation or downtime. Your passion doesn’t have to be your livelihood, and your livelihood doesn’t have to be your passion. Your job may only be loosely related to your passions—and there’s nothing wrong with that.
MYTH: ONLY YOU KNOW YOUR TRUE PASSION.
Self-reflection is a necessary part of discovering the things that bring you joy, but looking inward can only get you so far. Don’t try to figure it all out on your own. Seek input from friends, family, colleagues, a mentor, or an executive coach. Those who know you best can encourage your passions and even identify pursuits that you haven’t thought of on your own.
What Comes Next?
There’s no universal guidebook or step-by-step process to finding your passion because finding and pursuing your passion (or passions!) does not follow a linear path. You’ll uncover new passions throughout your life as long as you’re willing to try new experiences with an open mind. Along the way, you’ll also learn what is not your passion, which can be just as helpful as finding your passion.
Questions to Consider
What brings you the most joy right now?
How have your passions evolved over time?
If you’re not sure, what are you going to do today to figure it out?
I’d love to help you define and pursue your passions. Contact me to learn more about advising, coaching, and additional resources.