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The secret to finding your passion isn't looking, it's doing

February 2, 2022 - 17 min read

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What are passions?

How to find your passion

Passions versus hobbies — What’s the difference?

The power of Inner Work®

I’ve found my passion — now what?

How many times have you been told to find your passion? How often have you been asked what you are passionate about?

Unfortunately, a Deloitte study found that only 13% of the US workforce is passionate about their jobs.

We are often told to pursue our passions in our professional and personal lives. We've all heard the saying "Find a job you love, and you'll never work a day in your life."  But that’s easier said than done.

Passion doesn't really work that way. Before you can pursue your passions, you need to discover what your passions are. You'll likely have to work many days, in many ways, to discover the work that taps into your passion.

Here is some guidance on how to discover and develop your passion so you can live a more fulfilling life.

What are passions?

According to Merriam Webster, “passion” refers to a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement either for something or about doing something. Passions are often something you would love to do constantly. Traveling is a good example of a passion.

Sometimes our passion is something we would love to do for work. Sometimes we only think that's what we want. Having passion for our work is more specific than being excited or enthusiastic about something.

The Deloitte research describes "worker passion" as something that motivates us to dig into the tough problems and sustains us through challenges and setbacks. This type of passion brings out our desire to figure something out, to learn faster, to make an impact. 

It’s important to understand the distinction between passions and core values. Everyone has their own set of core values that guide them and shape how they feel about their work or work environment. Strong core values might include discipline, perseverance, playfulness, learning, excellence, and resilience.

The degree to which your work and life align with these values will likely contribute in a big way to success in your career and personal life. 

But finding and following your passion will be the spark that ignites the flame.

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Researchers and occupational experts now know that there’s a golden thread that runs through finding and living your passions and the measure of success you’re likely to experience — both on a professional and personal level. 

The interesting thing about pursuing your passions is that doing something you care about on an emotional and intellectual level will result in you wanting to do more of it. This means there’s a direct link between discovering and developing your passions and achieving growth in your career and personal development.

It isn't always as clear as finding a way to get paid for doing the thing you love to do in your spare time, though. You often have to practice imagination to find the threads of passion that connect a hobby or interest to a career or profession.

How to find your passion

Finding your passion is often interlinked with happiness and fulfillment on a more personal level. 

For this reason, you must find your passion if you’re eager to lead a fulfilling life.

But you might be asking yourself, “How do I find my passion?”

Take a look at these step-by-step tips on how to start to find your passion. It takes time — don't wait for it.

Discovering and uncovering your passions requires engaging in different types of work and other pursuits. It is rare to have a passion for something we know nothing about. You have to develop some understanding, get to know the problems and challenges of a pursuit, to fall in love with it.  Or, to want to work on it every day. 

Keep in mind that finding your passions isn’t a one-time process that happens in a single day. Your passions may change throughout your whole life. That's okay.

1. Create a personal vision statement

A personal vision statement includes what you want to accomplish in your life, both personally and professionally.

In many ways, it is like a compass that indicates direction. It guides you whenever important decisions have to be made. Once written, your personal vision statement can guide you on how to find your true passions. 

2. Uncover your values

Your personal values are the things you regard as important for underlining the way you work and live. Your values determine your personal goals and priorities. And they often act as an indicator of whether or not your life and career path are turning out the way you want them to.

3. Find your true north

Closely connected to getting more clear on your core values, the concept of finding your true north is about discovering what motivates you. What type of impact or goal compels you? What makes you feel complete and present, as if you are doing what you were made to do?

Finding your true north is what some people might describe as discovering who you really are — your authentic or whole self. Your true north is where your values, beliefs, and sense of purpose meet.

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Once you become aware of your true north, you’ll be that much closer to living a fulfilled life driven by your passions.

4. Make a list of things you love to do

As Socrates said, “Man know thyself.” He is referring to the importance of people knowing themselves before claiming (or attempting) to know anything else. 

Make a list of things you love to do to achieve this self-knowledge. Self-awareness is an important step on your journey to discovering your passions.

5. Assess the things you don’t love

It’s important to realize the things you love and love to do. But it’s just as important to assess the things you don’t love. 

Realizing what you don’t love will give you a better understanding of the things that make you who you are.

6. Acknowledge your strengths and achievements

To discover your authentic self, it is important to acknowledge your strengths and achievements

Often, people find that their biggest personal strengths are the things that come naturally for them. Once you realize this, you’ll find even more reasons to achieve and accomplish bigger things.

7. Practice journaling

To the untrained ear, the ritual of journaling may sound like a topic far removed from finding and living our passions. But the truth is, journaling helps us track our progress and personal growth. 

Writing in a journal gives us a platform to uncover what we really love. We can pinpoint what we are passionate about without any judgment or limiting beliefs from others.

8. Embrace a mindfulness practice

Mindfulness means embracing life in the moment. But it also means embracing wellness and being aware of everything you feel and experience — all without judgment, overthinking, or interpretation. 

Mindfulness teaches us that we all already know our passions. It’s only that we need a “vehicle” to make conscious contact with that knowledge. 

Embracing a mindfulness practice helps us tune in more closely to our inner guide. This is often the best way to allow our true feelings and desires to rise into our conscious minds.

9. Seek guidance from a coach

When looking to find your passion, a coach can be a valuable aid. 

For example, a career coach has been trained in helping people find their passions in life and work. Career coaches can help us shed the burden of external pressure working from the outside in.

10. Surround yourself with people with similar passions

There’s just one secret to successfully surrounding yourself with people with similar passions. Know what makes you feel inspired, confident, and secure. Finding those qualities in another person will mean you’ve discovered someone with similar passions to your own. 

Passions versus hobbies — What’s the difference?

A hobby is something you enjoy doing for fun and in your free time. A passion is something that’s inside of you and with you all the time. Something you feel compelled to keep engaging with, even without external rewards such as compensation or recognition. For some people their passion is a profession, like medicine. For some, it is an academic area, like political history. For others, it is a certain type of activity or process, like sculpting or coding. 

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However, it’s important to keep in mind that a new hobby or skill set can become a passion.

Let’s look at some examples of passions versus hobbies:

  • Volunteering to save sea turtles as opposed to keeping a marine tank for beautifying your home
  • Exercising to get and keep your body in tip-top shape as opposed to joining a gym-buddy in your free time
  • Living your creativity by perfecting the craft of jewelry-making as opposed to collecting rare pieces of jewelry for a hobby

None of this means you shouldn’t have and enjoy hobbies. Hobbies provide a valuable outlet for creativity and a place where our minds can play while our emotional and physical well-being is refreshed.  

The power of Inner Work®

Inner Work® is the spiritual and psychological practice of delving deep into your inner self. All while seeking self-understanding, spiritual growth, and even emotional healing

In essence, Inner Work® lets human beings become familiar with our internal worlds. It involves finding our personal compass for looking to the future. Inner Work® means looking inward rather than being influenced by the outside world. This way, we can identify new opportunities for amazing things we are passionate about.

Inner Work® can be anything from journaling (as mentioned above), reading or contemplating. Ultimately, it’s about putting in the work to explore and understand your inner experiences with a goal of reaching greater clarity, purpose, and passion.

I’ve found my passion – now what?

But what about when you’ve learned how to find your passion? Now that you know what your passions are, where to from here? What happens next? 

Finding your passion should always be followed by some form of action. This will allow you to remain aware of what your passions are. And to apply this knowledge so that you can lead a happy and fulfilling life. 

From a professional point of view, consider the following: 

  • Look at the opportunities available. Now that you’ve found your passion, it’s time to make the most of the career opportunities around you. Armed with your newfound knowledge, you’ll be much better equipped to spot opportunities and turn them into real value.
  • Assess the viability of following your passions. It’s a reality that not every passion will lead to financial or even personal satisfaction within the workplace. For this reason, it’s important to do a viability check before jumping right in and trying to make a living from those things you love and enjoy the most.

    Find the core aspects of your passion, such as problem-solving or unraveling mysteries, that carry into a work opportunity. Or, look for new passions within the work you do. 

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  • If you want to leave your job to pursue your passion, do it the right way. This is an important one. Steps to be taken beforehand include applying your mind to what you want from your dream job. Next, draw a comparison between your current job and your career ideals, have a solid plan, and ultimately build the bridge to cross the gap.
  • Seek guidance from a coach to help you. One of the best ways to get ahead in life is to accept that others out there may know more about the topic than you. Seeking guidance from a career coach is vital when turning your passions into a fulfilling career. 

And for personal passions, keep in mind the following:

  • Make your passion a habit. Now that you’ve discovered what you’re passionate about, incorporate your passions into your everyday life. This is easily achieved as you’ll want to spend your days doing the things you love. Good habits have the power to transform your life for the better.
  • Use time management to set aside time to develop your passions. Remember that following a passion is about much more than simply passing the time. This means that you’ll sometimes have to purposefully make time for doing the things you love. 

Use time management techniques like time blocking to keep track of time for your passions.

Find your passions for a fulfilling life

The bottom line is that knowing how to find your passion and living a fulfilling life comes down to knowing and doing what you really love. 

There’s much to be said for putting in the time and effort to discover what your passions are — and then stepping out of your comfort zone to put your newfound knowledge into action.

At BetterUp, we’re passionate about people finding and living their passions. Get in touch if you want to make the move toward improving your well-being and living a more fulfilling life.

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Published February 2, 2022

Maggie Wooll

Managing Editor

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