So many of us spend our lives trying to find our “passion,” but how many of us actually find the ONE thing we’re passionate about? How many of us have just one passion we stick to for our whole lives? And if we do have a passion, how many of us turn it into a linear career path?
All this pressure to find our passion can be really stressful and actually get in the way of living a passionate life. If we’re trying so hard to find our passion, we can stay stuck and miss opportunities right in front of us!
Stop Searching for Your Passion
In this month’s culture topic, Terri Trespicio explains why it’s okay if you haven’t found your passion and why you should stop trying too hard to find it.
Our Take on Passion
At Redmond, one of our core values is Passion for Contribution, which isn’t quite the same as garden-variety passion.
Passion for Contribution is being passionate about making other people’s lives better, even in small or indirect ways. It’s wanting to do meaningful work that matters.
This isn’t tied to a specific activity, task, or job title. It’s simply about being helpful in a way you enjoy and that’s unique to you (which isn’t as intimidating as it sounds. No one does what you do in the way you do it, so everything you do will have your own special sparkle).
This can take a LOT of different forms over a lifetime.
You might find passion in all kinds of different things in your life, and it may change, but passion for contribution and helping others doesn’t change. This lets passion evolve with you as you get to know yourself better and learn more about your interests, your talents, and where you can be helpful!
Here are a few different things you can focus on to live a passionate life instead of searching for that ONE burning passion.
Get to Know Yourself
At Redmond, we use lots of different tools to learn more about ourselves, what we’re good at, and what we like to do because this all adds up to how we can contribute in a unique way.
We use a lot of personality tests like the Color Code and the 5 Love Languages.
Another tool we use around here to discover our path is the 3 Circles. This is a lifelong journey of discovering what you have to contribute, though there is no “arriving.”
There’s no one right answer here. This is just a path you take and something you can explore and refine for the rest of your life. No pressure here, just exploration!
Here’s a peek at what the 3 Circles look like:
As you can see, this path is the overlap of what fills your cup, what you’re wired for, and what’s helpful for others. Each of those circles is a journey in itself!
We even wrote a book about this concept, which you can get on Amazon!
Another great way to get to know yourself (no personality tests required) is to talk to other people who know you well. So often, other people provide insights that we’re just too close to see.
Here are a few things you can ask them:
- What do I do that’s really helpful?
- What do you think I’m good at?
- When do I seem happiest?
The more you learn about yourself and how you contribute, the more passionate you’ll feel and the more momentum you’ll build.
Solve Your Favorite Problems
What kind of problems do you love to solve?
Do you love to help resolve problems between people? Connect people with solutions to everyday problems? Fix tech issues? Organize the supply closet?
What kind of problems are really satisfying for you to solve? What kinds of problems do people come to you for help with?
Also, what bugs you? What kinds of problems get you fired up? You might be able to do something about them!
Set out to contribute to these solutions, and you’ll find plenty of passion along the way.
Follow Your Curiosity
In her book, Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert suggests following curiosity rather than passion, because, with curiosity, the stakes are WAY lower.
So what’s piquing your curiosity these days? Do you want to know why that machine keeps breaking down, how to reduce paper waste in your office, or why customers keep calling in with the same questions? Do you wonder how your office’s floor plan might affect everyone’s mood?
Even if it makes no sense, indulge your curiosity. You never know where it might lead!
Where can you contribute and be helpful?
This is a great question to ask yourself on a regular basis because helping feels GOOD, and there’s always something you can do, even if it doesn’t feel helpful right away. Tidy up the break room, take a stray grocery cart back to the cart corral, and do your job well even if it’s not your “passion.”
If there’s one thing that’s definitely NOT conducive to living a passionate life, it’s stagnation.
We can easily fall into the trap of analysis paralysis because we’re afraid to make the WRONG choice, just like Terri Trespicio did when she kept turning down jobs because she didn’t want to “board the wrong train to the wrong future.”
But as her mother told her, “You create your life by living it, not agonizing about it.”
We can be so afraid of becoming stuck that we actually get and stay stuck in our indecision.
So, if you aren’t sure which way to go, make a choice. Any choice. Sure, it’s important to do your research, weigh the pros and cons, listen to your gut, consult your trusty Magic 8 ball if necessary…as long as you make a choice in a reasonable amount of time.
Remember, you don’t have to make the perfect choice. You just need to stay in motion so you can continue to learn, grow, change, and discover yourself and where you can contribute.
Take the Pressure Out of Passion
A passionate life doesn’t mean that you pick one focus and stick to it until you finally kick the bucket. It means that you get to know yourself, your gifts, and what you enjoy, then you apply that to whatever is in front of you.
After all, to get that fire, you’ve got to start rubbing sticks together.
You don't have to do the same thing forever. A passionate life means letting yourself evolve, change, and keep growing!
Try these tips to build momentum and find passion in your life, no matter what’s right in front of you.
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