If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you have a problem — no offense. You’re lacking something integral. That something is passion. Passion is a burning desire that you can’t get rid of even if you wanted to. Your life will not feel accomplished until you get on the path to pursuing your passion and doing work that excites and fulfills you.
Only you truly know what you’re passionate about. This may be a scary thought (you’ve been warned), but you hold the power of turning your dreams into a reality. It’s a scary thought because there’s no more relying on mommy and daddy to tell you what’s right. This is all you. You hold the power to control your destiny.
I’m going to share with you a few unconventional ways to go about discovering what you’re passionate about. These may seem simple, but it’s typically the simple things that escape us. We tend to over complicate things, and stress ourselves out when the answer is right under our noses.
I’ve personally pursued several ideas that I was not passionate about. I don’t consider them a waste of time, but a learning experience that I have the privilege of sharing with you in hopes of saving you time.
1. Don’t always look at the hard skills.
As human beings, we often feel as though we are not talented if we don’t have any hard skills such as the ability to dance, sing, write, cook or play sports really well. We tend to forget about our soft skills, such as being a good conversationalist, or extremely organized, which are just as important. Are you easy to talk to? Maybe you’re passionate about helping people solve their problems. That’s a skill. Dig a little deeper to find out what makes you, you. Your skill, no matter what it is, is an asset to someone else because everyone needs help in some area of his or her life.
2. It’s all about trial and error.
Finding what you’re passionate about is just trial and error. Remember the Super Mario video games? If you do, you’ll remember those green pipes that you would have Mario jump into without having any idea where it might take him. You just hope it’s the right place. Well, the quest to finding your passion is similar. You try one idea, and sometimes it doesn’t take you where you’re trying to go. However, if you keep trying, one will eventually get you where you need to be. There will be times when you may legitimately think what you’re doing is your passion, and then one day come to the realization that it’s not what you’re meant to do. You may feel like you wasted your time, but in reality you didn’t. You followed a feeling and it didn’t turn out to be right. That’s completely okay. The most important thing is that you learned, and the next step is to refocus, and refocus quickly.
3. Retrace your steps. What did you like to do as a child?
After spending some time thinking about it, I realized that I’ve had a knack for entrepreneurship ever since I was young. I’ve had lemonade stands and garage sales, and even though I may not have made a dime, it encouraged me to find new ways of generating revenue, and ignited my passion for entrepreneurship. Even at a young age, I could never imagine myself working for anyone. What are some traits or interests you had as a child? Perhaps those are indications to what you’re passionate about.
4. Pay attention to opportunities around you.
Look around to see what interests you. During my first couple of weeks in college I saw a flyer for a business plan competition, which instantly captured my attention. After getting my first taste of writing a business plan and coming up with an innovative idea, I discovered my passion. If you notice a job, internship, organization, etc., that captures your attention, listen to that. Go ahead a give it a shot. It may not be for you in the long run, but you will never know until you try.
5. Follow your gut instincts.
If you’re unsure about the passion you choose to pursue, don’t pursue it. Yes, I did say finding your passion is about trial and error, but that only applies to something you really have a genuine interest in. If it’s something you’re not sure about or that doesn’t really excite you, but could possibly be something you’re interested, I suggest not wasting your time. You need to have that burning desire or curiosity. If that burning desire isn’t behind you, then keep it moving.
Too often, people base their decisions on what they think they’re passionate about on what their friends or parents tell them. Don’t get me wrong, your parents and friends may genuinely think that since you love to shop, you should start a fashion blog. That sounds like a pretty spot on recommendation. Therefore, you might take it, but is that really you? Is that really your passion? Or is it what you think you should do because you can’t come up with anything else? Do not rush into something because it’s what you think you’re supposed do, because you will end up wasting your time.
You may not know what you should do, but follow your own path to discovering it, not someone else’s. I tell you this in hopes that you learn not to force what you “think” could possibly be a passion of yours. When you have a burning desire for something and catch yourself reading blogs about that topic just for fun, that’s how you know it’s your passion.
Don’t always look at the hard skills.
It’s all about trial and error.
Retrace your steps. What did you like to do as a child?
Pay attention to opportunities around you.
Follow your gut instincts.
Too often, fear and social pressure keep us from pursuing greater things. Will you let that happen to you? There’s a reason you landed on this article. Perhaps you are an avid HuffPost reader, or maybe you just happened to stumble across this particular article. Whatever the case may be, you’re here. What are you going to do differently to put yourself on a path to a more fulfilled life?
Alicia T. Glenn strives to be the voice for women’s entrepreneurial success. On her personal blog she shares her journey, experiences and insights on how to accomplish cool things, and live a more fulfilled life by discovering and pursuing your passion.