Find your purpose! Follow your passion!
How many times have you heard this? A million times, right? It’s great advice if you know what you’re passions and purpose are. And honestly, I’m a little envious of those people who know exactly what they are meant to be doing. Until very recently, I had no idea what I wanted to be doing with my life. I just knew I wasn’t doing it.
We are tempted to believe that if we just follow our passions we will be happy. If we just quit that miserable job and paint flowers all day we will be full of joy. But, happiness can not come from passion alone. We need a purpose. We need to figure out how to leverage our passions into a way that fills a need in the world.
What is the difference between passion and purpose?
Passion is the emotion, or your feelings, when you’re doing something. It’s the fire in your eyes when you’re totally immersed in an activity. Purpose is the action. It is the deep reason for your existence and what only your unique self offers.
Passions are fairly easy to nail down. You can have a lot of them. But, for a big group of us, we have no clue what we want or what our purpose is. I spent a lot of time questioning myself, comparing myself to others who seemed to be doing exactly what they were meant to do, and feeling a lot of self-doubt. Being stuck in that place is miserable. I couldn’t do it anymore. Besides, I’m not getting any younger over here.
How did I figure out my passions and start living my purpose? It required a little thinking, and a lot of doing. Here’s how you can figure out your passions and starting living a purposeful life in three, easy steps.
Step one: Defining your passions.
Before you can define what your passions are, you first need to stop over thinking. Eliminate questions like, What if I’m not good enough? What if I can’t make money? or What if I’m just wasting my time? Throw those out the window.
Now that those are out-of-the-way, think about when you were little. What did you do just because it was fun? I used to write and illustrate stories. I had hundreds of them written down and in my head. I spent a lot of time in an imaginary world. If you would have told me back then that I was wasting my time and I’d never be a writer or paint for a living, I would have cried. My heart would have been broken. What would make your younger self cry if they were told they couldn’t do something anymore?
Next, when do you lose track of time? You start something and suddenly hours have passed and you forgot to eat. What were you doing? It might be organizing, problem solving, crafting, researching, writing, or teaching something.
Say, “Hello!” to your passions.
Step two: Your time and actions
You’ve figured out your passions. Keeping those in mind, answer these questions.
- What is it about those activities that can be applied elsewhere?
- What can I do with my time that is important?
- What am I willing to withstand and sacrifice in order to pursue my passions?
- What is a need that I can fulfill?
Use these questions to narrow down your passions. The goal is to whittle your list down to just one passion that you can take action on. Keep in mind that sometimes, even the things you are passionate about can feel like shit. But what you’re willing to endure, despite this, will determine what you are able to stick with, even when it’s hard. If you can’t handle rejection, you probably aren’t going to stick with being an actor and being rejected at auditions.
Where you able to come up with one passion that you’re willing to stick with through thick and thin?
Step three: Your purpose
You’ll know you’ve figured out your purpose because your purpose refuses to shut up. It’s the passion on the list that keeps jumping out at you, calling your name. Your purpose is patient and persistent, waiting for you to just take action in only a way that you can. Once you know your purpose, you have to actually get up and do something. You can’t just think your way through it. Passion + daily action = a purposeful life.
This is what keeps calling the chef back to the kitchen, the artist to the canvas, the coach to the field, the caretaker to the hospital.
Big or small, take action. The world needs you and your unique skill, abilities, and perspectives.
I hope this helped you either figure out your purpose or get you headed in the right direction. When discovering your purpose and sharing your passion meet at the crossroads, you find the purpose of life.
What are you passionate about? Do you know your purpose? Share a comment below or tag us on Instagram and Twitter with @wild_for_awhile.