What is passion?
There’s a lot of talk about passion. “Follow your passion and the money will follow,” is a refrain I’ve heard time and again.
Is this absolutely true? Actually, it is.
But the key element here is to discover your passion. I have a few ideas about what passion is and how to find it.
#1: Passion makes you feel good.
When you do the thing that makes you feel good, you would do it even if no one paid you or otherwise motivated you. Your passion is what you do without prompting. For some, passion is cleaning. It could be caring for others. Maybe it’s learning about things you’re curious about. Or it’s creating something beautiful, like music or art. Or maybe it’s using your body, like running, rock-climbing, or dancing.
#2: Passion is when time stands still.
We have heard about this thing called “flow.” Flow is when you’re doing something you’re passionate about and you have no concept of time passing. You’re so involved with what you’re doing, that if you didn’t pay attention, hours could pass. As I learned myself, when I’m in the flow, my whole being says: I want to be doing this and nothing else right now.
#3: Passion shows up when you are doing something that connects you with your purpose.
Purpose is one of those words that means a lot of things to lots of people. I recently heard another definition of it that feels more true. Jonathan Fields says that your truest purpose is actually part of your DNA. Purpose is made up of all the ingredients that make you who you are and are baked into your special mold. I believe this, because we can have lots of passions and interests, but we have just ONE purpose.
For instance, I love animals and would never want to ever live my life without a pet. I have a deep love and passion for animals. This is part of how I’m wired. However, that is a passion that many people have and so it doesn’t make me different from others. What makes me different are all the other things I am called to and am attracted to and how those things have been molded within me that make me Monique.
My purpose is not to take care of animals, it’s simply what I do naturally. So to find my purpose, I have to look at other examples of things I love, and ask: what is the underlying commonality between these things? It’s that underlying thing that connects all these things together that make up my purpose.
I discovered recently that my purpose in life, my essential DNA and how I’m wired, is that I collect and disseminate knowledge and love massaging all this knowledge into a package that is easy to distill and process.
Life is chaotic and information overload is a common problem. What I love doing is sorting through all this stuff and finding ways to organize it, and as a result, making it easier to consume and then use it to its best purpose.
I do this with every opportunity I have. Whenever there’s something new to learn, I absorb as much knowledge as I can and then turn it into something I can use and refer to again. You would understand if you saw my Evernote system and my digital filing system. It’s all done so that information can be repurposed and processed. I hate throwing any of it away, because I never know when I’ll need it at some point.
So in my example, since my purpose is distilling information, I can get lost doing hours and hours of genealogy and collecting the data and information I discover to turn it into a book I’m currently writing. For the first time in my life, I decided to listen to what my passion and periods of being in flow were telling me. Last May I accepted that if this is who I am, I will embrace it. So I began writing this book and now, almost 12 months later, I’m still writing and working on it. I have yet to grow bored or lose my passion for it. I have never had this kind of dedication to a project in my life and it makes me so happy to be doing what makes my heart sing.
I also know that if this is something I want to keep doing, taking information that’s scattered and turning it into a book or something else, I’ll find a way to do it. Because I can’t not do it. In time, it may even turn into something I do full-time and make a living from.
Now that we know what passion is, how do we find it, if we’re confused about what ours is?
If you don’t know what your passion or purpose is, you’re not alone.
The thing is, having JUST passion isn’t enough. You can have all the passion in the world, but if it doesn’t somehow connect to your purpose, you’re going to keep trying to stay passionate and you’ll get burned out. I believe that purpose is more important than passion.
Passion is what shows up when you’re living your purpose. So listen to those moments when you’re feeling energy and excited and passionate about something, but GO DEEPER. Why does this thing bring up the passion? What is it about this activity that makes you feel that tingling sense of excitement, like you can’t sit still, like you have to share it or do something about it?
I mentioned finding the underlying connection between all your passions or areas of interest. What do they all have in common? Is it when you’re working with a small team? Is it when you’re leading? Is it when you’re learning something new? Is it when you have a final product or outcome you can actually see? When you see that connection, you will know what your purpose is. When you know what your purpose is, you’ll ignite your passions more frequently because you’ll understand the actual DNA elements of what makes you so uniquely you.
Incidentally, I have collected a ton of tools a person can use to find that underlying commonality between interests. These tools also help to discover the things that drive you, that make you get up in the morning, that others admire about you. If interested in learning more, let me know. Email me.
Photo by Cullan Smith on Unsplash