Do you ever find yourself asking or saying:
“I’m frustrated and feeling stuck in my business/career.”
“WTF am I supposed to be doing with my life?”
We all have those moments in life when we feel stuck, frustrated and confused. The sad part is, so many don’t even realize something is missing. They just go through life, living day-to-day in their routines. They aren’t clear on what they want, what they love, or where they’re headed. Most people drift through life without devoting much thought to figuring out what their passion is or how to develop it.
The word passion derives from Latin root pati, which means ‘to suffer’. Passion is what pushes you to pursue something despite any pain, fear, or doubt.
People assume they will just find their passion, like they will turn the corner and passion will be standing right there in front of them asking: “Where have you been all my life?”
Passion isn’t some fully formed thing that just lands in your lap. It starts as an interest or curiosity, something that ignites a spark. To develop it, you have to fan the flame. You have to take action.
Have you ever met someone and when you ask what they do, they talk about it with an overwhelming sense of alacrity and enthusiasm? They don’t shut up about it. That, my friend, is fully developed passion. They put in the work for it. They took action; they pursued it. They never gave up on it no matter how difficult or frustrating it got.
One of my passions is animal rescue. I’ve always been an animal lover, but that was about it. Then I adopted my first dog and became friends with her foster on Facebook. I started seeing pictures of all of the animals in our shelters. Cue the spark. As I began to see more and more of this, I became more and more interested. I started donating, networking, fostering. I took some serious ass action and co-founded a 501c3 nonprofit animal rescue.
Here’s the thing, I knew jack shit about starting a nonprofit, but I had developed a passion for animal rescue over the years, and I was resourceful enough to figure it out and execute on it. Nothing was going to stop me- not my lack of experience in the nonprofit world; not lack of funds; not knowing tax laws and regulations as they apply to a public charity; not having any volunteers or donors. Nothing. I was going to save lives, damn it, come hell or high water.
Another passion of mine is inspiring people to achieve the things they never thought were possible and helping them use their own passions and expertise to make a difference in the world. This not only developed into a passion; it has become my life’s mission.
So how do you develop your passion?
- Wake up. Awareness is key. Pay attention to your life and surroundings. Be mindful of opportunities that present themselves. Notice the spark. It will likely come from an unexpected place, person, or situation.
- Act. Follow and explore the things that pique your interest. If you were invited by a friend to play Pickleball and you enjoyed the experience, play more Pickleball. Join a league. Coach a Pickleball team. Live, breathe, and die by Pickleball no matter what anyone thinks about it.
- Alignment. Your passion is that part of you that responds to people, events, or things that resonate with your being. It aligns with your core values and goals. The more your passion is in alignment with your values and who you are, the more it will naturally develop.
- Persistence. It’s not always roses and daffodils when it comes to pursuing and developing your passion. Remember, the word means “to suffer”. If you just kind of enjoy doing something, but you’re not willing to suffer for it, then that’s a nice hobby. The things you are passionate about are not simply the things that are amusing and make you feel good. They are the things you’re willing to fight or even die for. There will be bumps in the road. You may not love it every single day. It’s not about loving every second about it. It’s about the whole of it and suffering through the tough times so you can eventually reap the rewards.
- Invest. Invest in your passion. Spend time with it; learn about it; study it; talk about it, get involved with others who share a similar passion; meditate on it; journal and write about it; hire a mentor or coach; practice it; fail; try it again; practice it more; get better at it. Never give up on it. See #4 above.
It’s not easy to develop a passion. It can be quite elusive, but it’s not unattainable. It’s uncovered through inspiration and developed by action. You have to be willing to put in the work. You find what you like, and if you keep at it, it becomes what you love, what you crave; what you obsess about; what you’ll fight for; what gives you meaning.