Do you ever feel like you’re stuck in a rut? Or you’re not really living your life, but just going through the motions? Is the life you’re living now the one you always envisioned for yourself, or do you groan when the alarm goes off, drag yourself out of bed, and then spend the day making other people happy?
Today I want to give you some simple tips for finding your passion and then some ideas on earning a living once you figure out what it is that you love. Now, they’re not easy tips. This is going to take work! But, in the end, if you’ve uncovered your passion and you’re moving toward living a more fulfilled life, it will all be worth it – trust me.
Discover your passion by asking yourself these questions
What am I good at?
What are your talents? What are the things you know you do well? Are you a good organizer? Do you write well? Do you have a gift when it comes to explaining complicated concepts in simple terms? Take an hour and look back on your entire life (I said this wasn’t going to be easy!). Even from the time you were a little kid. Did you like to bake with your mom? Did you prefer time alone to read? Were you the one who organized all the neighborhood kids for a kickball game?
Think over your teen years, your college years, and your whole adult life until now. Think about what you accomplished, and what skills you have that lent themselves well to those accomplishments.
Now make a detailed list of all the things you know you do well. As a kid, I know I was good at making friends, and I also played piano well. In college I was surprised to learn that I was pretty good at time management, balancing a full load of credits with work to pay my way through school (not to mention lots of social time). After law school, I worried I wouldn’t have much self-discipline studying for the bar exam without my study partners from school, but it turned out I was really good at making a study schedule and sticking to it.
You get the idea. This list of skills, ideas and talents is your starting point to finding your passion.
What excites me?
Are there small parts of your day that really excite you? Maybe there’s a certain part of your job that’s always “the fun part” to you. Or maybe it’s that small window of time after dinner that you get to go outside and go for a long walk. Or is it the time you spend learning about something, engaging in a hobby, or planning a trip?
Think about the typical course of your day, both during the week and on weekends. Write down the parts that are the highlights to you, as well as the ones that are truly exciting to you. Add them to the list of things you are good at.
In my job as a legal recruiter, I get pretty excited when I land a new client. That’s not even the part of my job that earns me any money, but it’s the most exciting part as I strategize ways to complete the job for the client and envision the fun part of talking to candidates and finding the perfect fit for both the employer and the employee.
Another thing that excites me is taking on a big project that I have no idea how to handle. I don’t know why – I think I just really enjoy the whole process of learning something completely new.
You can see that when you make your list of what excites you, it doesn’t have to be anything groundbreaking – or even anything that makes sense! Just try to really drill down to figure out what the little things are in your day that get you excited, and those are the things you want to add to your list.
How can I learn more?
Go through your list of things you do well and things that excite you, and pick the five that most appeal to you. Make a new list for each of those five items with details about what you know about those things, and what you’d like to know.
For instance, maybe one thing that excites you is learning about how cars work. Make a list of what you know about how cars work, and then make another about what you’d like to know. If it’s specifically the engine that interests you, learn more about how engines work, different types of engines, engine components, and how race car engines are different from the typical family car.
Or maybe you’re really good at managing the family calendar. Make a list of the things you do that really help your family run smoothly, and then make another list of the things that don’t work as well. If you’re good at keeping track of everyone’s appointments and your son’s choir rehearsal schedule and your daughter’s basketball practice time, but you have a hard time getting everyone to be ready to go when it’s time to leave – research that. Look into ideas on getting your kids as invested in the schedule, ways to keep everyone updated on where they need to be, and how to plan rewards for your family when everything goes smoothly.
This next step might take a few weeks depending on your schedule, and that’s okay. Go through that same exercise with the five things you chose from your primary list. The idea here is that once you start learning more about the different things you didn’t already know about your favorite things, you will see which ones you most enjoy learning more about. This will give you an even clearer idea of which thing is the most exciting to you.
Based on this exercise, narrow down your five interests and potential passions to just two things.
What do I want to try?
Okay, you’ve done the toughest work now, and you have an idea or two about what your passion might be. The next step is to experience something totally new to you that is based on your two main interests.
You know the old saying, if you keep doing the same thing, you’ll keep getting the same result. Now is your chance to make different choices, look for new opportunities, and try different approaches.
If you love cars and learning how they are built, plan a trip to an auto assembly plant and see it up close. If you love baking and trying new recipes, register for a cake decorating class or plan a bake sale as a fundraiser for your favorite non-profit organization. If you are passionate about politics, go to your state capitol and see it in action!
The more you experience your passion in different and new ways, the better understanding you will have of the thing that interests you the most, and you will also be able to further define what particular aspect of your passion really excites you.
After you try some new experiences with your two main interests, narrow it down. Pick the one that really gets you the most excited, and get a clear understanding of what it is that most intrigues you about that subject.
Start doing what you love
Whatever it is that you discovered to be your passion, start doing it. Immerse yourself in it, learn all you can, and experience it in new and exciting ways. Do this even if you don’t yet have any idea how you might monetize your passion.
This accomplishes a couple of things. One, you start building a network in your chosen interest. You will meet a lot of people with similar interests, and you can learn from people who are actually earning a living doing it or doing something related to it. Second, it gets you out of a place of complacency. Where you previously just had a vague inkling of something that interests you, now you have a clear and precise picture of your passion. This is the time to keep learning and growing and building your expertise in the area that you love the most!
Schedule these activities into your day or into your weekends, and make it a priority. Once it becomes an integral part of your life, start thinking about how you might turn it into a way to make money. When you’re already doing something you’re passionate about, it’s not such a huge leap to find a way to make a living from it. Maybe with all the things you’ve learned and tried, you might already see where there is a need you can fill.
There are countless ways you can turn your passion into an income stream. Think about:
- Making a website about it (earn money through advertisements and affiliate links)
- Starting a consulting service
- Doing freelance work
- Writing a blog you can monetize
- Authoring a book or an e-book and self-publishing on Amazon
The more you immerse yourself in your passion, the more you will become an expert on it. Turn your expertise into an income stream, and you will soon be living your dream!
If you have uncovered your passion or have an idea what yours might be, why not share it with us? Tell us about your passions in the comments, and we can learn from each other.