Do what you love. Follow your heart. Isn’t that what everyone tells you? It’s on plaques, in stores, in articles, in books. It’s the in thing.
What if you don’t know what you love?
What if you don’t think you have a passion?
What if the whole idea leaves you feeling miserable because you’ve spent your life tending to your responsibilities and to others?
You are not alone! In fact, the majority of people doesn’t know their passions and can’t find the door that says “here’s your heart”. There is no formula for finding your passion.
We tend to believe that we are supposed to have it all figured out by the time we are in our mid twenties at the latest. That’s a lot of pressure.
Very few of my clients know what they want.
There was a time in my life when I had no clue.
I was raising a family and running a business. When people asked me what my passion was I had no answer. I loved reading. That came to mind. I loved the sunshine. I loved eating chocolate.
Should I follow that? Was that my heart telling me to sit in the sunshine, eat chocolate and read?
Realistically that didn’t seem like a healthy path to go down, nor did it seem purposeful…..and who was going to pay me for that?
I spent weeks and months looking for signs that might point me in the right direction. I painstakingly went over my life up to this point to see what I might be missing. One day I remembered that from a young age I used to sit with older people discussing life and the human psyche. There were lots of older people in my life who didn’t seem to mind talking to me.
In a moment of clarity I realized that from the time I can remember I liked watching people and loved conversations about why people do what they do. Wow! I saw that I am intense. I don’t enjoy trivial conversations.
Realizing that was interesting, but I didn’t like what I found. I didn’t know what I should do with it. I couldn’t accept that I’m a serious person. Living in America I’m supposed to be sunny, charming, and light, right?!
I wanted to be liked. I didn’t want to be too different.
What I finally saw was that I had to befriend myself. I was forced to let go of some judgments. I had to find compassion for myself. I had to accept who I am before I could follow my passion.
You may discover that you like flying and have to take lessons to become a pilot. Maybe you enjoy baking and make the best little cakes, or you are great with numbers. The world is full of possibilities.
Take some time and reflect on your life, your childhood, your likes and dislikes and let the feelings bubble up.
Passions can change over time.
One of my friends loved photography and was always dragging a camera everywhere. She has a fantastic sense for great photos and made a living with it. The day came when she just didn’t want to do it anymore. She was done.
When that happens you may feel like the light went out. What are you supposed to do now? You wonder if something is wrong with you.
But the truth is, we don’t have to commit to things for the rest of our lives. We have the right to change what lights us up.
Life is all about change!
No guts, no story.
Take a breath and look for what inspires you most at this point in your life.
It’s ok if it’s more than one thing.
Some of you know that I love rehabbing houses in addition to counseling. I love to turn something ugly into something beautiful. It is so exciting to me that I am able to work long hours doing that. I’m filled with energy and time disappears.
That’s what I love for now. Maybe it will change in the future.
You can’t feel passionate about something you have never experienced.
Go out and try new things. Explore. Take a class, join a group, volunteer, try a new sport. Be creative, be courageous.
You really are never too old to do what you want to do! Google people who found their calling later in life. It’s inspiring.
We all need a sense of purpose, but don’t let the search for it overwhelm you. Don’t obsess over it. Just take the next step into what you feel most inspired by in this moment.
To be continued…..