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“If I were a wild animal, I’d have gnawed my leg off by now.”
This is how I began my journal entry in March of 2007, feeling trapped in a job that had promised wonderful opportunities but now felt like a straitjacket. The trick was to begin finding a way out, but before I could start I had to set a strong foundation for myself. I floundered around for a while, but in retrospect I think the following areas were key in giving me the strength I needed to break out of a life that didn’t fit me anymore.
Accept where you are on the passion path
If you are struggling with finding your passion, accept that you are in the beginning stages. There will be a lot of trial and error, a lot of starting and stopping, a lot of swirl. It might make those close to you (especially those dependent on you) a little crazy.
When I started my own journey, I desperately wanted to find something that would excite me, create meaning in my life, and give me a sense of purpose. I leaped at several opportunities, thinking “That’s it!” and jumping in with both feet. It felt great until I got a little more involved and realized that not only was the activity not “IT”, it wasn’t even something I enjoyed. Being an extravert, I talked excitedly to family and friends about every new thing on my radar. A month later, they saw me dropping the thing I had been so excited about. I really began to feel like a flake, a failure, someone who didn’t stick to anything.
If you are just starting out, realize that you are going to go through a lot of churn at the beginning. Allow yourself to experience it. Don’t try to avoid it, even if it makes you feel very uncomfortable.
Commit to the Homework
If you are trying to find your passion, realize that it’s going to take some time to figure it out. Commit to putting in that time. Introspection isn’t sexy. It isn’t something that your casual friends will want to hear about, and it isn’t usually something you would talk to them about anyway.
If you have spent months or years burying your feelings, it’s going to take some time to rediscover yourself again. Go in with the expectation that you will try things, you will take small steps, and you will NOT rush yourself. Set yourself up for success by realizing this is a process, not a miracle moment. You’ll have more fun along the way.
Find Your Tribe
The blogging community might have initiated use of the word “tribe” in everyday language, but it applies to finding your passion too. Do you know the #1 reason most people fail in making changes that stick? They try to do it alone. If you have a supportive significant other, friends that cheer you on, or motivational family members, this might not be a problem for you. If not, here are some ideas:
- Read blogs about others making the same change
- Get on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or other services and find a group that wants to make the same change you do
- Listen to audiobooks that motivate and inspire you
- Go to MeetUp.com and find others who share your interests
Where are you on the passion path? Have you handled the basics yet? Tell us in the comments below.