Do You Really Know What Your Passion Is?

Imagine a life orchestrated to complement your natural rhythms. A life where your work is your play and your play is your life. You ought to have to be happy, healthy and wealthy. You are authorized to create your life on your terms. Instead of putting up with mediocrity, waiting for a knock on the door or an invitation to change, take your life’s adventure to heart. The process begins here, now, today. It is time to get moving, wake up, lift the veil of the status quo, and embrace the richness of Art of Mindful Living.

Living mindfully entails a passion for life. If you are locked in a windowless room, passion would be the key that opens the door. When you are in the presence of a passionate person, the world falls away, and you are suddenly swept up in a tidal wave of possibility. The world is a playground for people who have the courage to follow their bliss and shun bias. What are you passionate about?

Personal awareness is another important factor. Awareness allows you to look for opportunities in your surroundings and also to understand how your mind perceives opportunity. Be bold and direct in your awareness. Bumping around from one mindless task to the next is not acceptable. You are here to make something of your life, and your conscious choices will guide you with fulfilling your dreams.

Passion combined with awareness leads to opportunity, and the courage to take action with passion must be nourished from loving support of friends, family, coaches and mentors. You are who you surround yourself with. To boldly go where no one else has gone before is a sexy idea. Sexier still is discovering mentors, explorers and visionaries who are willing to share the bold steps they have already taken along with the lessons they learned along the way. Often times, all we ever have to do are exploring our curiosity; comforted by the knowledge that we are no alone. What kind of people do you share your time with?

Trust is the third magical key. Trust in God, the Universe, your Higher Power, your intuition. While having faith is not always an easy proposition, you simply must find the courage to believe in yourself. What do you believe in? Act on your instincts and understand it is your personal responsibility for creating your life on your terms. Give yourself permission to have the audacity to discover several ideas and find the perfect fit. When you know and you honor who you are, you will be happy and free.

It is never too soon, nor too late to follow your passion, but do you really know what your passion is? We assume that we really know what our passions are upfront. Can you tell just by thinking about it? The way it really works is that you have to get good at something, and then you become passionate about it. When I studied people who love what they do for a living, I found that in most cases their passion developed slowly, often over unexpected and complicated paths. It’s rare, for example, to find someone who loves their career before they’ve become very good at it — expertise generates many different engaging traits, such as respect, impact, autonomy — and the process of becoming good can be frustrating and take years.

It may not be realistic to follow your passion. We don’t consider the barriers like what if your passion won’t pay? Or what if you don’t actually want to turn your hobby or passion into a full-time career? What if your passion leads you down a road that means you’ll actually make less of an impact?

If follow your passion is bad advice, then why do people follow it? There are two reasons people keep trying to follow their passion. One reason is that we hear this advice everywhere! We are told this is the way that people succeed. Just follow your passion and the money will follow. Our culture celebrates dreamers who stick with it and overcome all odds. But that is just a story, it is not how the vast majority of people succeed or become passionate about their work. Another reason is that it makes us feel good. People don’t like to put in the hard work upfront to become excellent and indispensable. They would rather play around with things they love and just hope that the world rewards them for it. So how do you find a job you love at least most of the time?

The real way to find a job you love is to set up a system. A system lets you focus with strategic tunnel vision on what you need to be focused on right now. When you have a system for finding a dream job, you can stop trying to figure it all out in your head. Instead, you can get specific about what you want and then go out and test your ideas. Find out what the job is really like.

Using a system can save you a lot of frustration and weeks or even years, of effort. Many people want to turn a hobby into a career, only to find out that the professionals in that category often spend more time on business development than doing their hobbies. Other people find their passions are not realistic careers, but find similar or related careers that also support the lifestyle they want. Are you ready to ditch the passion-based job search and set up a career search system? How to search for specific jobs you can be passionate about? Setting up a system is easy, and shouldn’t take much time at all. That is because all your time should really be spent talking to people. First, get extremely specific about what you want and when you think you’ve gotten specific enough, dig even deeper. We often hear goals like “I want to work with innovative, growing companies that add value by leveraging my unique management skills.” What does that even mean? Do you know the actual job you want?

Start by spending a few minutes writing down 10 specific job titles that interest you. An important caveat is to not disqualify a job simply because it has a single aspect you don’t absolutely love. For instance, an average financial adviser may not be able to negotiate a flexible schedule; however, don’t be too picky at this step. Second, choose one job title to pursue. Pick one and just go down the rabbit hole. You’ll learn 10 times more from picking one and executing than sitting in a room and trying to come up with your dream position on your own.

Finally, list 10 companies you’re interested in that have the exact job title you’re looking for, and schedule informational interviews with people actually doing the job you’re pursuing. It is more effective to spend a few minutes writing some options, then go out and take people to coffee and test your ideas. If you run into a dead-end or decide it’s not the career for you, “great,” “you have nine other options to pursue.”

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