Embrace your passions is the second part of the blog’s tagline. This is my attempt at articulating what it is I mean. It all starts with…
Embracing passion starts with knowing oneself. That’s why I put “Live your values” first in the tag line. To live your values, you have to know your values. And to know your values, you have to dig deep and know yourself. Values come before passion because they are pervasive in our lives (or at least I aspire to having pervasive values). The same principle applies to passion. Embracing your passion starts with having a conversation with your soul. That’s what it took for me, and I can’t imagine just miraculously being hit across the head with an idea that I was all of a sudden passionate about. But please do let me know if that ends up happening for you. Maybe I’ll incorporate it into my unconventional curriculum – it would fit right in. Ok, back to passion…
Digging deep takes time. It can’t be done at work. It can’t be done while you’re watching t.v. It can be done alone or it can be done through conversation with someone you trust. But regardless of whether you are alone or with someone, you have to be ready to be brutally honest with yourself. Why? Well, the beautiful truth is that what you love may not be what the world tells you to love. It may not match up with your college major or the sport your parents made you play forever. It may not immediately result in a huge paycheck. It might… But it might not.
So, ready to be brutally honest?
Understanding what you love
Think back about the last three to six months. How have you spent your time? (If possible, grab a napkin or the back of a business card – start writing.) Again, how have you spent your time? Go ahead and exclude the necessities of life… eating, sleeping, brushing your teeth. Hopefully we all experience those things to some degree. Having a difficult time? Me too.
Let’s start at a higher level. Categories. For me, this would be work, reading, exercising, relationships, writing… Alright, now under each category list specific activities.
IMPORTANT: as you right down certain activities, notice the emotion they bring out in you. Which ones get you excited? Which ones are necessary but not always enjoyable (is that ever really true)? Which ones just downright annoy you?
Alright, now looking at your list, is there anything missing that you WISH you had been spending your time doing? Add in those activities. These might be the most important on the entire napkin.
We’re almost done. But this is crucial. Give each activity a ranking between 1 and 10. 1 = If you never had to experience the activity again, the world would be a better place. 10 = If you could do this every day, all day, your life would be complete.
What does the picture look like? How have you been spending your time? Are the activities you have actually taken part in ranked high or low? How about those you wish you had had more time to take part in… you know, the ones you added to the list last? Do any trends pop out?
Set it aside – put it in your book bag, briefcase, pocket… Anywhere to keep it safe. Come back to it in two days and make any necessary changes now that you’ve had time to think.
The difference between a hobby and a passion
I enjoy playing softball. I aspire to be a fly-fisherman.
I am absolutely passionate about learning and then transferring what I learn into digestible, useful pieces of information to inspire and encourage others.
Do you see a difference? It took me a long time to figure out exactly what it is that gets me going. I have always loved sports. I have always loved being outside and seeing animals. But those are hobbies. They are things I do for enjoyment in my free time, and I don’t think I would get much satisfaction from them if I did them professionally.
Now my passion… Learning and transferring knowledge in useful, inspirational ways… That is something I could hang my hat on. I could get up every day, learn incessantly, create great products based on my new knowledge, get those products into the hands of the people that need them, and I would feel really REALLY good about myself. That, for me, is changing the world. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Here is the point: Your hobbies are not the same thing as your passions. We all have things we love to do. We have places we love to go and things that make us happy. But deep down, there are very few things that we could get up and do every single day and feel truly fulfilled as a result.
How does that thought line up with your napkin/business card activity list?
If you don’t know what you love, how can you expect to pursue it?
I say all this to make a larger point, which I have stated quite simply above. If you don’t know what you love, how can you expect to pursue it? I’ve outlined a simple process to dig a little deeper, but there is plenty more where that came from. Common amongst every activity, no matter how involved is you. Only you know what gives you such a sense of fulfillment that it would feel like a crime to get paid for it. What is that thing?
Lets find a way to put our passions to work every day
Once we figure out passion out, it is like the stars align in our name. It might feel like a crime to get paid to do what we love, but I’ve got news: it’s not. That’s the kicker. There’s nothing else to it.
Let’s challenge ourselves to dig deep and settle for nothing less than what we are passionate about. It may not be what the world ‘expects’ of you, but it is what the world needs. Don’t be afraid to embrace your passions.