'What's my passion?' That's the question that always stumped me. ‘I’m just not that passionate about anything‘ I’d say, ‘I wish I had some actual hobbies’. I was in my early 30's and although I had a good job and great social life, I'd started thinking ‘Is this it?’. My coach at the time encouraged me to lean into what 'lit me up' and do more of it, to bring more overall joy to my life. On the surface it seemed like great advice, but the truth is I just didn't feel 'lit up' by anything, apart from going to the pub and dancing at festivals. And it turns out I wasn't alone.
A study by Pitman Training found that a staggering 84% of young people were not pursuing their passions, while research from Deloitte found that only 20% of people say they are truly passionate about their work. This makes for quite depressing reading.
Why do I need a passion anyway?
According to Mark Zuckerberg, having a hobby, side project or passion can show a prospective employer that you have dedication and drive (we've all had to answer that dreaded question in job interviews!). Being passionate about something outside work can also actually boost your confidence at work, and researchers at The Society of Behavioral Medicine found that people who engaged in hobbies were 34% less stressed and 18 %less sad, contributing to greater happiness overall.
OK I get it, so how do I find it?
Of course it turns out that I was actually passionate about things, I just didn’t realise it. I’d told myself the 'I have no passions' story for such a long time that I completely believed it. But once I started going through a period of ‘defrosting’ (a term coined by Marianne Cantwell in her book 'How to be a Free Range Human'), I started discovering (remembering) what I really loved doing.
Here’s how I did it:
1. Find out what your core values are
This doesn’t mean the 'value' you bring to a job or to people's lives, it means what you value in life. What drives and motivates you. This worksheet will help you.
2. Cast you mind back to your childhood and think about the activities you enjoyed then (or ask your family members).
What did you love to do or daydream about, no matter how silly or unimportant it might seem now? Do you feel like there's a part of you that still loves the things you loved as a child? What do you miss most? Did you have secret aspirations and fantasies that you never told anyone about? Is there anything in there that makes you feel that pang of regret that you don't do it anymore? What can you do today to reconnect with some of who you were as a kid?
3. What you are curious about and fascinated by today?
What are you obsessed with and why? What could you spend hours reading or talking about without a break?
4. Who are you jealous of?
Now this is often a touchy subject for some. We're scrolling through Instagram and bam, that pang of envy for no apparent reason hits us. Lean into it and really reflect on why it is you feel jealousy towards that person. Are they doing the thing you want to do? Perhaps you’re not jealous of their lifestyle, maybe you wish you could take photos as well as they do. Maybe you’re not jealous of their clothes, maybe you actually just want a dog like they have. Really listen to your gut. It’s usually trying to tell you something.
5. Compose a bucket-list. 10 things you’d love to do or experience before you die
These could be anything - Learn how to ski, swim with dolphins, get a tattoo, run a marathon, write a book, forgive someone, etc. Anything! Dream big and don’t hold back. This is a 'blue sky thinking' exercise, so don't allow any filter thoughts in like 'Oh but I couldn't' or 'I would if only I could afford it'.
As long as you're really honest with yourself, these 5 questions are sure to enlighten you. Grab a cuppa, settle in and start brainstorming. I promise it will be worth it.
Looking for someone to help you get clarity on your passions, whether its to bring more joy into your life or to make a career change? Get in touch to see how I can help.
Career Change & Business Coach and Side Hustle Queen
Hi, I'm Lauren. I burnt out, hit rock bottom and used the experience to manifest my dream life. I now help passionate and ambitious women change career, start side hustles and grow businesses. I'm living proof that you can - and deserve to - have it all.
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