‘This will help you to find your passion!’ or ‘find out what you are meant to do’ are the headlines the follow us, and which we sometimes end up seeking ourselves, in various stages of our lives.
While in school, we question ourselves if we are making the right decision choosing a particular subject to study in university.
While in university, we still question if it is the right subject, as we are trying to draw a map of how our future career should look like.
After graduating it is the same. Trying to find a job and make ends meet puts even more strain on the whole ‘finding your passion’ experience.
Something that should be an enjoyable journey turns in to a very stressful chain of decisions from a very young age.
I am no stranger to trying to define, who I am through the things I do. I still wake up some mornings, questioning if the decisions I have made are the right ones.
However, over the past couple of years, I learnt some key lessons about finding my passion, that I never thought are possible for me.
And here it is!
1. It Isn’t Easy (Duh!)
This is probably a given, HOWEVER, there is a reason why I wanted to mention this.
In today’s world of social media, it is very easy to trick yourself in believing that only you struggle to find your passion. It can seem that for everyone else it comes very easy.
People love sharing the high moments of their lives, which is great! Unfortunately, it can trick a lot of us into believing that we should have everything figured out by now, because most of the people we know had.
This is especially true for me, because even though I have found a discipline that drives me forward career wise, I still question myself.
My best advice to deal with this is to trust your gut. Stop questioning if you are doing the right thing, stop comparing yourself to other people. Go and explore your options and know, that the only way you can find your passion is if you work for it.
2. Understanding Yourself Is Important
Finding your passion is also about finding out who you are and what you enjoy doing. As mentioned before, this doesn’t come easy for a lot of people, and a lot of the time this is the stage, where some people quit, because it gets too frustrating.
I get it. It’s hard.
Luckily, there are some things that can be done.
One of the things that really helped me to push through this stage and organise my thoughts in a better manner is journaling.
It might sound like another cliche activity that a lot of today’s social media personas actively advertise, but it is a great way to let things go and express your emotions.
Whenever I feel frustrated with myself – I put it out on a paper. Whenever I want to be grateful for something – I write it down. Whenever I want to make plans and clarify my goals – you are right, I write it in my journal.
It really doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just a simple notebook, that you can carry around with you, take with you on trips, or just keep near your bed.
One of my favorites is this bullet journal. I prefer it over lined ones, because I enjoy doing mind maps or just writing down my goals in a more creative way, rather than in a simple list.
If you don’t have time for journaling but still want to try, you can purchase something like this two minute morning journal. It is be a great way to start your day, and journaling in general, if you can’t invest a lot of time at the moment..
This kind of morning journaling can be easily made from a simple notebook too, if you don’t want to spend too much money. Some of the questions to answer every morning could include:
- Today I am grateful for…
- Today I will try to be more…
- Today my goals are to…
You can add your own questions that you feel are relevant and would help you in getting to know yourself better, and thus helping you in finding your passion.
3. Less Planning And More Doing
Planning is important and it is a great way to line out how you are going to achieve your goals. However, it is the kind of thing that can last forever, preventing you from actually taking action.
I definitely fell for this a lot of times, when trying to device a perfect plan, thus completely forgetting and ignoring the main reason I wanted to start planning in the first place.
A lot of the benefits come from actually getting your hands dirty, and attempting to do the set out tasks, rather than just keep planning things out.
Before I discovered my true passions, I was working in the office as an office junior. While working there, I realised that the job is great, but there is a lack of variety that kept me very unmotivated to perform my job well. I started searching for other opportunities, even hobbies that could potentially turn into a career.
While trying pottery and getting my hands (and flat) dirty with watercolors, I tried to apply for a few PhD positions, as at the time it was something I was very curious about. While preparing my proposals and applications, I realized that I don’t have enough drive for it, and even though I did apply for positions, I wasn’t really upset, when I didn’t get in.
My next endeavour was applying to a fine arts masters degree in Sweden. I enjoyed all forms of artistic activities and figured that it would be amazing to try to make a career out of it. I prepared my application, I had a Skype interview with the lead tutor and one of the students, and I got waitlisted and then accepted to the position!
However, I didn’t go with it, because I decided I wanted to do something a bit more… practical. That could potentially be applied to various disciplines, even arts. Thus, I prepared another application for a computer science conversion degree, where they took in people like me, without any knowledge about the subject, and taught them all about computer science.
While doing that, I also kept applying to different job positions I was interested in, and even went on English teacher training induction session, to see if it could be something I am interested in.
My point is, even if you think that something sounds completely ridiculous and definitely not for you, because of your lack of knowledge or exposure to the subject – try it anyway! You never know what you might discover about yourself. Your passion might be hidden in something that you are completely unaware of.
4. Forget Self-Criticism
This is a very hard one to come around to terms with, when going on ‘finding your passion’ adventure.
During my journey, there was a lot of self doubt and criticism.
When I decided that I am going to study computer science, I was excited, but also completely dreading to start the course. I was telling to myself that I am not smart enough, that I don’t have the right skills, that I will not be capable of learning anything.
I was setting myself up for failure, because I was so stressed to start and to even go to my first class.
I managed to get out of this kind of mindset, once I realized that people around me came from different backgrounds and didn’t know much about the subject too.
However, I don’t want you to wait for some external validation, that you are good enough to start something.
Anything can be learnt with the right kind of mindset and determination. A lot of the time, negative mindset is just a distraction and will not help you figure out your true passion. It will hold you back from trying new things, which is key, when exploring your options and getting to know yourself.
To Sum Up
Finding your passion is not an easy endeavor. It can be painful, bring a lot of frustration and seem like an impossible task to achieve.
It is possible.
I hope that these lessons that I have learnt while seeking to find something I feel truly passionate about will help you to put some things into perspective and discover some of the enjoyable activities that you feel passionate about.