You’ve probably heard the advice that goes along the lines“do what you love” or “just follow your passion!“. You hear it everywhere.
Do you know what your passion is? And what if you’re not clear what it really is?
You may find lots of advice (often conflicting) about how to discover your passion or ‘finding your calling’ as some might say.
If there is such a thing as a ‘passion’, I think it’s more likely to come to us through understanding ourselves better and trying out different things and seeing how we feel about it.
One thing is for sure, if you don’t know what you’d love to do for a living, the keyword is “exploration” and you could be about to start a new chapter in your career.
I believe that you have the answers within you and often it’s a case of uncovering what you already know through trying out new things and experimenting.
Sometimes even recalling times from your childhood can help discover all kinds of passions.
If you need a source of inspiration, one fun place to start is by downloading the One-Page Dream Job Description Template.
(It’s based on coaching techniques that ask what you want to be, do and have in your ideal work situation.)
So if finding your passion is about understanding yourself better, how do you go about it?
Here are some of my tips to find your calling.
I recommend scheduling 30 – 60 minutes of important ‘me’ time into your calendar.
Switch off all your digital distractions, take a notepad or some fresh sheets of paper to write down some answers that come to mind to these questions:
Step 1: Passion Exploration Questions:
- Imagine you had unlimited financial resources, what would you do with your time?
- Look around your current home and working environment. What books, courses and blogs do you currently spend most of your time and money on? Is there any clue in that?
- What gets you most fired up? Is there a problem in the world that you’d love to help solve?
- What results in your current work bring you the most amount of satisfaction?
- What things do friends, family or colleagues usually ask your input for?
Spend time to ponder on your answers. Think about any recurring answers that you might find to these questions.
Step 2: Walk Down Memory Lane
Make a list of all the things you remember doing as a kid. Just thinking back to my childhood, I used to love riding my bike, and playing games on my computer and creating art.
Does anything stand out as being most enjoyable? Spend a little time dwelling on this.
What are some of the activities you really loved doing and why?
What are some of the things you really wanted to try but didn’t think you’d were able to back then?
Make a note of these things, no matter how crazy they may sound at first.
If you spend a little more time and go deeper, you may think of some new activities you used to love doing which you may completely have forgotten about.
Step 3: Explore Your Present Work
It may sound obvious and perhaps not as thrilling as exploring your childhood. Make a separate list of anything in your current job that you already love doing.
Perhaps you could even take a note of these ideas when you’re actually at your day job too, so you could fully explore your daily tasks and activities.
Think about even the most ordinary tasks that you do. How do you feel about it?
As an example, I remember being on a skype call with a client training them on how a specific piece of software worked, and I remember how rewarding it felt.
It could only have happened if I was aware of how I was feeling during the work itself. This could be another clue to finding my passion.
Step 4: Explore Through Stillness
Sometimes we can discover our livelihood by letting go of all the preconceptions and ideas we’ve held about ourselves and when we’re completely honest to ourselves and all the possibilities.
There are many benefits of sitting in stillness or meditation.
But you’d don’t have to sit in meditation, doing anything that you enjoy that helps you calm your mind down can be highly beneficial to exploring your inner self.
Challenge yourself for the next 30 days, spend 10 – 15 minutes everyday to sit in stillness without any expectation or judgement to see what happens.
Step 5: What’s Really Important – The Last Year on Earth
Steve Jobs famously said at his speech at Stanford University that everyday for many many years he would wake up in the morning and look in the mirror and ask himself “If today was my last day, would I do what I’m about to do?”.
And if the answer was “No” for too many days in a row, he knew something needed to change in his life.
This can be another incredibly revealing question to yourself if you’re doing what is really important to you in life.
Ask yourself, what if it was your last year on earth, would you do what you’re currently doing? If not, what would you do?
Step 6: Take Action
You’ve probably heard the saying ‘if you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always got.’
It’s true though, right? Well, if you’ve never taken any action to discover what you’d love to do, now’s the time to take a few steps or leaps forward.
You may by now have taken some notes and have at least a few ideas jotted down.
Here are a few things that you could do next:
- Take A Course
If you find yourself interested in a particular topic and want to explore it further, sign up for a course or a class of some kind.
For instance, if you found that you enjoyed creating art and graphics on computers as a kid, why not try taking a graphic design course?
It could be online course or even a class you could attend locally.
For instance, as I’m based in London, I’d search Google for: ‘Graphic Design Courses London’ and see what comes up.
2. Speaking to the right people
One shortcut you could take if you have some clarity on what want to do, is to find people who are actually already doing it and ask them what steps they took to get there.
Find and join a group on Meetup.com which has all kinds of groups for all kinds of interests or perhaps attend a local event to you from Eventbrite.
Ask them what they love about their work, how did they get the opportunity and if they can provide you with any advice.
If you find someone whom you shared an interesting conversation with at an event, offer to buy them lunch. I’m sure they would appreciate that.
3. Get Support from a Coach/Mentor
Sometimes it really helps to have someone to discuss your options with. I’ve personally found it worthwhile investing in a good coach or mentor for support.
If you’re serious and want to gain more clarity on what you really want, having a coach is also a great way to have someone hold you accountable and make sure you take the actions necessary.
Step 7: Develop Skills For Your Passion
If you now have a clearer idea of the kind of work you’d love to do, there’s a good chance that you’ll need to build new skills.
This is especially true if you want to turn your passion into your livelihood, and need to build all kinds of new skills.
However, if you have no intention of doing anything in particular with your passion, and you’d just like to do it for the pure pleasure of it, that’s fantastic too.
Some passions are also pretty marketable skills. For instance, if you have a passion for building websites, that’s a pretty marketable skill that many people will pay for.
But what if you have a passion for writing. I remember a colleague from work once had a dream of writing Children’s story books.
Let’s take that as an example:
Writing Children’s Stories
There’s lots of people out there who’d secretly love to be a writer. So here are some of the first actions you might take on your path to becoming a pro:
- Think about how writers actually create their work. There’s nothing stopping you jumping right into writing your first story. Let’s look at what a writer does:
- Brainstorming intriguing scenarios for your story
- Plan where and how you will publish your work
- Find a focus for your story
- Outline the setting for your story
- Create the characters
- Choose an interesting story title
- Break down the project with a timeline for finishing your story.
2. Go to writers networking meetups and events in your city.
I’ve been to quite a few events like this before. It’s a great shortcut to getting the advice about what’s the next step for you to take to get your work published.
3. Research the skills needed to become a writer.
Look at the job descriptions of writers, by doing a google search on “writer job description”.
4. Start your own blog.
This can help in two ways. Firstly, you’ll start to build an audience of potential fans for your work as you share your content.
Secondly, you’ll begin to get used to the whole writing process, so you can start developing your craft. I’ve written a free ebook about how to build your audience. Get your free ebook about how to build your audience here.
Finding what you’d love to do is a bit like being a detective. You look at the clues and build up a picture up of the ‘suspect’.
Not only is it about being aware of how you feel about doing certain activities, it’s also about knowing how they relate to what’s personally important to you.
Some of the key ways include; asking yourself the passion exploration questions (step 1), exploring your childhood activities, your present work, getting still, and finally understanding what’s really important to you by asking the what you’d do if it were your last year on earth.
You might not have just one big passion, it’s possible that you have multiple passions.
Once you have a few ideas about what you’d want to do, then take action and start developing your skillset.