The Short Guide to Finding Your Passion

“The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play.” – Arnold Toynbee

I came across the above quote while reading a blog post by Leo Babauta, journalist and author. I’ve taken his list and added some of my own commentary.

I’m on a mission to be a better, happier and healthier person. I’m dedicated to finding and doing what I’m passionate about every single day. My goal for the next year is to literally leap out of bed every morning because I’m so excited about the life I’m living.

Of course, I’ll need to break that down into smaller chunks… but I think I’m off to a strong start!

The Short Guide to Finding Your Passion

1. What are you good at?
Sometimes the most obvious isn’t always the answer. As years pass, it can be easy to forget what you were good at 5, or even 10 years ago. Was it writing? Drawing? Organizing? Dancing? Teaching? Spend at least 30 minutes thinking back on old jobs and hobbies. Create a list of possibilities.

2. What excites you?
This can be anything. A small part of your job, something you do on the side. Do you volunteer and enjoy spending your time there? Do you like cooking for your family or thinking of fun activities for your friends? Again, this could be something you haven’t done in awhile so THINK! Don’t shortchange yourself. Keep adding to your list…

3. What do you read about?
If you spend time reading it, chances are it interests you. What do you read online? What’s the first website you visit? What blogs do you follow? What types of books do you read? Again- add them to your list!

4. What have you secretly dreamed of?
I know there are several ridiculous dream jobs I’ve always imagined myself doing. Think of a job you’ve always wanted but thought impossible. A novelist, an artist, a designer, an architect? For me, it was usually fear and self-doubt holding me back, causing me to dismiss the idea. Even if it’s unrealistic, continue with the list.

5. Learn, ask, take notes
Look over your list and choose what excites you the most. Read about it and contact those who have been successful in the field. Most likely someone has found a way to capitalize on it. Connect with them through their blog or send them a quick email. Make a list of notes of things you need to learn and improve on to take the next step.

6. Experiment, try
Here’s where the learning really takes place. Start to do the thing you’ve chosen. JUST DO IT. Make it public however you can. This motivates you to improve and gets you feedback. As you continue on this path, your reputation will improve. Blog about the experience. Pay attention to how you feel doing it and ask yourself if it’s something you look forward to and want to share.

7. Narrow things down
Pick three things from your list and do steps 5 and 6 with them. Which one gets you the most excited and produces something people will pay for and get excited about with you? Which one can you see yourself doing for years? Don’t necessarily go with the most traditional career path. Make it into a career if possible. If that doesn’t work out, try the next thing on your list. Failure teaches valuable lessons that will drive your success in the next attempt.

8. Banish your fears
This is definitely my biggest problem: getting rid of self-doubt and fear of failure. It helps to acknowledge it rather than ignore or deny it. Feel it and be okay with it. Even if the worst possible scenario happens, know that it won’t be the end of the world. Prepare yourself and then do it. And my favorite part: celebrate your successes, no matter how small!

9. Find the time
If you think you don’t have time, you’re wrong. Make the time, darn it! If it’s a priority, you’ll rearrange your life until you do. This might mean waking up earlier, canceling commitments, simplifying your work routine or doing a lot of work in advance. Whatever it takes, do it.

10. How to make a living doing it
This doesn’t happen overnight. It requires doing something, succeeding at it and being passionate about it. Having fun with it is the most important part. It’s at this point where you are so invested and so great at what you’re doing that others are willing to pay you for it.

It won’t necessarily be easy. It will require a lot of reflection and soul-searching. And after, that a lot of courage, learning and experimentation. Lastly, but most importantly, it will take a lot of commitment.

But it’s all worth it. Every second, every ounce of courage and every bit effort. In the end, you’ll have something that will transform your life, giving you that reason to jump out of bed. 

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