Are you trying to figure out how to find and pursue your passion? At first blush it may seem finding your passion is obvious. I mean, aren't we all born with a sense of passion: what we want, what we love, and what we want to pursue? Nope! Not all of us. If you are not sure of what your passion is, you are not alone! With a little work you can figure out your passion and pursue it with vigor. Finding your passion is a great reward and pursing it is a gift to yourself! You may not have been born with an exact idea but you can learn how to find and pursue your passion. I have a few tips and exercises for you if you need help getting started.
1. Mine Your Mind! AKA: Brainstorm!
A great first step forward in learning how to find and pursue your passion is to begin with an assessment of your memories. Think of this as a sort of mining expedition of your memories: your likes and dislikes, thoughts and desires, and things that make you very happy and excited. Take a moment, a day or two to really think about moments that made you alive and happy. What were you doing? Once you start this journey, your mind might bubble with ideas to pursue.
2. Go a New Route
Sometimes it happens that what we like is not as exciting or fulfilling as we thought it might be. If this happens, consider trying something new. When you start with a fresh idea it can take a little longer to find your stride and achieve your goal, but the journey and end results could be well worth it. Grab a book, watch a show, see a movie, or talk with a friend. Inspiration is all around you. Following this route may introduce you to an interesting idea or two you may never have thought of before. The trick is to keep it fun and challenging.
3. List Your Ideas
Your brainstorming session(s) may produce many ideas. Grab a pen and paper, tablet, laptop, voice recorder...whatever you like best and capture them. Organize your ideas by degree of interest, tick each idea for which you already have a knowledge base (no matter how big or small), circle the ideas that you want to learn even more about! This isn’t a list of hard and fast rules but more like “guidelines” – to quote Captain Jack’s father. This exercise will help you see your wide range of interests and pinpoint one to pursue as a passion.
4. Testing, Testing...
This part may seem a little odd but it is quite helpful. Once you have your list narrowed down a bit give each item a try. Schedule some time to engage your ideas with a trial run. Test your potential new passion before diving or proceeding to the next step: outside input.
5. A Little Perspective
Sometimes we are a little too close to an idea to be objective enough. This absolutely includes the things we think we are passionate about. Once you have your list in hand and a good idea of what your passion is, ask a friend. Grab someone you trust and solicit his or her opinion. Sometimes our friends see what we cannot or do not want to see. Treat the feedback as useful information for the larger picture. The input isn't a game changer for you but is certainly helpful for shaping things up.
6. Research and Focus
Now, it is time focus with a little more research. As we discussed earlier, you may already have a knowledge base about your passion. This foundation is a great starting point from which to move forward. Add to your knowledge base by visiting a library, taking a class, reading a few books, or joining a discussion group. You do not need to be a professional to pursue your passion. However, I cannot underestimate the importance of being familiar with your field and any associated risks that may be present.
7. Develop an a-Team
Do you know what an A-Team is? No, I am not referring to a certain television show of the 1980s. Ha! No, I am talking about a group of people whose opinions you respect and support you value. Your A-team will serve as vocal supporters who provide honest feedback and encouragement. You should be able to trust this group completely. Your A-Team will also serve as your sounding board when you need it and will also support your growth and development.
8. Find a Mentor
Sometimes solitary research and A-Team support is not enough. When you reach this point, it is time to consider a mentor. A mentor can be a stranger, family member, or long-time friend. The point here is to pair up with someone who has experience in your area of interest. Interview them, ask loads of questions, and pick their brain - so to speak. Your mentor should be able to answer any questions you have and some you likely have not thought about. They should also be able to help you find the information they cannot provide and guide you along your journey of learning and implementation.
9. Use Social Media
Many of us participate in some sort of social media platform. Outlets like AWS (lots to learn here!), Twitter and Facebook can provide the knowledge, connections, and encouragement you need! Use sites like these to connect with other people who share your passion. Joining these platforms will cost nothing more than your time. Trust me, it is well worth every minute. Develop a network, learn about tools of your passion, and receive feedback. We must note that you may encounter naysayers. Do not let that deter you. Take that negative energy and turn it into fuel for your energy to engage your passion.
10. Set the Financial Stage
Does your passion require a financial investment? If the answer is yes then it is a good idea to address this concern as soon as possible. Now, this does not mean you should wait until you have every cent saved before you pursue your passion. While that is ideal it may not be easy to know exactly how much you will need as costs continue and change over time. However, it is best practice to start a little passion project nest egg. Set a budget and save a little money towards your goal - regularly. When passion project expenses arise you will be very happy to have that set-aside fund!
11. Get to It!
At some point you have to stop setting the stage and get to work pursuing your passion. Let go and get on with implementation. Put everything you have learned, practiced, and discussed into motion. Yep...yep...I'm going to say it...: "just do it!" ;)
Now, get to work! In order to truly know what your passion is you have to put your preparation in motion! Get moving, observe, research, take notes, and feel something! A passion pushes you to know more, learn more, and grow...and eventually, share! Are you following your passion? How did you do it? Are you trying to figure out your passion and how to pursue it? Please, share with us in the comments.