Find Your Passion Fast with These Four Easy Steps
A lot of career and business advice starts by advising that you “find your passion” and go from there. But, despite a widely held idea that passions strike like a bolt of lightning, for most people, passions are uncovered through a process of self-discovery.
Whether you dream of launching a business, would like to find a job that aligns with your passions, or are thinking of expanding an existing business, a few simple exercises can provide the insight you need to identify your passions.
In this blog, we offer our best ideas and some easy-to-do exercises to guide your journey of self-discovery.
What is Passion?
In our experience, people often misunderstand the meaning of the word passion.
Many people associate passion with doing something for a greater purpose. Sometimes, passions do evolve out of a desire to solve a problem or accomplish a goal. But, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, passion is simply “a strong feeling or emotion” or a “strong liking or desire.”
As you start to go through the process of finding your passion, don’t be discouraged if the things you uncover feel mundane. Passions that spring from pure enjoyment are just as valid as passions aimed at solving a problem.
We think that’s a critical perspective to keep in mind when exploring your passions.
For all the romantic ideas associated with “finding your passion,” for most people, reflection and self-assessment pave the way to revealing passions. While this process may sound very serious, it’s usually fun and interesting.
Start by setting aside some quiet time to think about your life–as you’ve experienced it and how you hope to experience it. As you reflect, make a list that includes:
- Moments that stand out. Include everything from a fun party you planned to a charity race you participated in to advice a manager shared with you that shaped your career.
- Topics that interest you. You likely have a wide variety of interests that span several realms and could include everything from crafting to cooking to hiking. Write all of these interests down, no matter how obscure or ordinary they seem.
- Things you enjoy doing. Consider the type of professional work you enjoy and activities that bring you joy outside of work. For example, maybe you love to cook or organize closets. Perhaps creating the perfect PowerPoint deck brings you joy. Don’t edit out anything that brings you joy–jot it all down.
Check-in with Others
After you take inventory of your important moments, topics that interest you, and activities you enjoy, talk to people close to you to get their impressions of you. Ask:
- What do you see as my strengths?
- When do I seem most engaged?
- What topics/activities do I talk about most often with you?
The insights that come from others can yield important clues for you. To get the wisdom of others, ask three to five people the same questions, and look for themes in their answers.
- Write down the answers you hear.
- Compare what you hear to your list. For example, if your friend says you seem most engaged when discussing recipes and your list reflects cooking as an interest and something you enjoy, that’s a powerful clue about where your passion lies.
- Make a new list that reflects all the intersections uncovered and the themes you found.
This list is likely a good representation of the areas where you have passion.
Get Down to Business
Next, review the list of your interests and consider how those activities could translate to a business opportunity or a job.
Here are some examples of how you can use your list to generate potential business opportunities:
- If you identify that you enjoy organizing events and your friends say you seem happiest when pulling together parties, you may want to launch an event-planning business.
- Suppose you notice that managing a family calendar is something you enjoy and your friends note your skills in keeping things organized for others. In that case, you may want to pursue a Virtual Assistant business or look for a job that uses those skills.
- If you identify writing as something you enjoy and your friends point out that you produce stellar newsletters for the soccer team, blogging may be in your future.
Pay Attention to Your Journey
Regardless of what you find through this exercise, it’s essential to remember that your passions may change over time as your life changes. Those life changes can bring new passions.
For example, our founder, Lesley Pyle, found her passion through motherhood. Like many moms, she planned to return to work after her baby arrived. After her six-week maternity leave ended, she tried to return to work but found that she desperately missed her baby girl.
She loved her job but when her manager turned down her request for flexibility, she knew she had to leave.
Suspecting that she was not the only mom in this situation, she launched a website for moms working from home–or those who wanted to work from home–as a resource for networking, learning, and support. Her first site, Home-Based Working Moms, ran from 1996 to 2010.
In 2007, she launched HireMyMom.com, changing her website and business as the business world began to slowly embrace hiring off-site contractors and team members. More companies started seeing the benefits of hiring off-site workers, including choosing from a national pool of talent.
Through the process, she found her passion–connecting moms who want to work at home with businesses that need them. If her first boss had granted her the flexibility she asked for, her life would have taken a different path.
As your life changes, take stock of your interests, poignant moments, and the activities you enjoy. A new passion could be just around the corner.