Are you feeling stuck? Searching out answers on how to find your passion in life? It’s not an easy task and you are so brave for taking this challenge on! I mean, can you imagine what it was like for our grandparents or parents who rarely had the opportunity to ask themselves, what am I passionate about, and worked at the same company for their whole career? I have no idea how that’s possible. To me, that seems like a nightmare. It’s one thing if the company, the environment, and the work are all positive. However, I’ve rarely observed this. It usually amounts to frequent bouts of frustration, anger, and anxiety.
A MILLENNIAL MINDSET
People naturally want more or maybe that’s just one of the characteristics of being a millennial. The US was built on the backbone of laborers and immigrants who had to take on work in less than ideal situations to make something of themselves and their families.
Now, it’s safe to say that millennials reap all of the benefits. I didn’t grow up in war, poverty, or famine. I was lucky because my grandparents laid the foundation for a comfortable lifestyle and my parents built upon that.
I was never the kid who heard, “You have to be a doctor or lawyer or accountant.” Instead, my parents told me, “What do you want to do? Do whatever makes you happy. Go find your passion in life.” I assume this parenting style was passed down by my grandparents who raised my parents to work hard so that their kids could go after their dreams. In my world, happiness and fulfillment were more important than financial stability.
THE WORLD IS YOUR OYSTER
With that door open, endless possibilities are at your feet and the choices can be overwhelming. For a little backstory, in my case, I always knew that I wanted to be a filmmaker. Or, so I thought. I took classes in acting and filmmaking throughout my primary and secondary education. I majored in film at the University of Miami in Florida. Go Canes!
But, in my final year, it came crashing to a halt.
Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, I took a summer internship at a talent agency in Beverly Hills. I was going to impress them with my charm, my knowledge, my work ethic, and set myself up for a full-time position after graduation. Man, I was wrong.
I knew that I’d be working hard and that the industry would be cut-throat. I, mentally, prepared for it. My body had other plans. The stress of constantly worrying about someone yelling at you for making a mistake, not being fast enough, not being good enough took a toll on my health and I was in pain. I tried working out more. I stuck to a gluten-free diet and avoided all of my known food sensitivities. Nothing worked and that became my first light-bulb moment.
I couldn’t make it in the career that I had always dreamt about, that I worked so hard for, and that my parents poured so much money into.
After graduation, I didn’t know what to do. I was in limbo. I didn’t know what questions to ask myself. I didn’t know who to turn to, even when there were guidance counselors available at school. At some point, I just wanted someone to tell me what to do!
So, here I am after years of soul-searching and I have a few helpful questions that you may want to ask yourself if you’re in a similar situation and are looking to find your passion in life to unlock your full potential.
HOW TO FIND YOUR PASSION IN LIFE
1. What motivates you to get out of bed every day?
Let’s start with the bigger picture questions first and the biggest question of all is, ‘What motivates you?‘ Is it a person? Is it a task? Is it a short-term or long-term goal that you are reaching for? Is it a desire? How do those things make you feel when you think about them? Why do they make you feel that way? Understanding what drives you is the foundation of everything that you do in life. It is what pushes you and supports you every single day to work harder, be stronger, and be successful.
2. How do you want to bring value to people’s lives?
Okay, so if you’re not ready to tackle such a doozy of a question containing even more questions, start by thinking about how you want to bring value to someone else’s life. It can be emotional. I like to think the value that I bring to others around me is a childlike wonder, joy, but also patience and understanding. It could also be through physical action like volunteering at the local animal shelter or helping your parents out with decluttering their house. Once you start to answer this question, then you can begin to think about your why and uncover your deepest motivation.
3. What do you want to accomplish in life?
Let’s narrow the bigger questions down even further. How to find your passion in life can easily begin with goal-setting. What do you want to accomplish in life or even just today? This could be major life events such as marriage and children. Your goals could also relate to finances, career, or health. Clarifying your goals and having a purpose each day is a useful stepping stone to discovering and fueling your passion.
4. What are your top 3 favorite hobbies?
Bigger questions aside, let’s get into the questions which have answers that may be more easily attainable. Think about 3 hobbies that you absolutely love and get excited about. These are usually things that you just can’t stop learning about and talking about with other people. You always manage to bring it up in conversation. They may also be hobbies that you enjoy teaching others about. Having the ability to slip in little tutorials here and there when you have no intention of doing so IS PASSION!
5. What would you do if money didn’t matter?
Sometimes, a hobby is truly just a hobby and a job is just a job that, for some reason, we just go through the motions. However, let’s take money out of the picture. What would you do then? I like to think that I could travel the world and eat at all of the random food stalls and hole in the wall restaurants that my stomach could reach. If you had all of the money in the world or none of it at all, take a moment and create a picture of where you’d be and what you’d be doing. Visualization is a powerful tool for self-exploration and discovery.
6. What are your strengths?
No matter who you are and what you’ve been through, there is something unique and wonderful about you. Consider a personality trait. Are you always laughing and smiling? Are you outgoing? Do you have a calmness and patience about you that others seek out? Your strength could also be a more concrete ability. Are you good with your hands and build Ikea furniture with ease? Can you look at a data set and quickly identify trends using expert Excel skills? Identifying strengths that draw others to you or put you ahead of the pack is a great tool for finding a true passion in life.
7. Is there something that you’ve always wanted to learn?
If you truly don’t have something that gets you excited every day, don’t worry! You can DEVELOP a passion! Start by loving everything that you do. Seriously! When we commit like this, we start to strengthen our passion muscles which will grow with time and reveal the best paths in life. You are allowing yourself the gift of exploring your full potential and who doesn’t want that?
8. What situations are you most comfortable in?
Discovering your passion in life can be as simple as looking at what situations you are most comfortable with. Take into consideration your ideal environment, demographic, skills, and why you’re willing to try one thing over another. If you notice that you enjoy conversation with your grandparents more than playing with your little nieces and nephews, try volunteering at a senior citizen’s center. Knowing what situations you are comfortable with will allow you to feel confident to test your limits and thrive.
9. What is in high demand right now?
Let’s take a more practical approach here for a moment. Some say that finding your passion is dead and you should find something that will benefit you realistically. I’m an optimist and a dreamer so I would never go so far as to say that. HOWEVER, there is value in this statement. If your whole reason for being and your goal is to support your family, I would definitely suggest that you identify needs in the market and develop your skills for a high demand position. Passion will grow as you witness the progress you make towards accomplishing your goal.
10. What isn’t working for you in your current life or career?
Contemplating these hypothetical questions and situations can be challenging. They can also take time. If you’re feeling like this is all a bit much, start by thinking about what you definitely don’t like. It’s often easier to identify what isn’t working for you because you’ve actually LIVED it and ARE living through it. What specific tasks or situations stress you out? What gives you anxiety? When do you feel like you’re wasting your time? Sometimes you need to dive into the negative to find the positive and that’s okay!
Above all else, remember that passion is fluid. It changes as we age and gain more knowledge and experience. Don’t worry if you can’t answer all of these questions! If you find yourself spending days and weeks on this, STOP. Just go out and do something that makes you smile and spend time with people who make your heart warm.