What’s the first word that comes to mind when you think of a career? Probably not “passion”. For most people being passionate about their career is a dream, at least according to a 2005 Harris Interactive Study which found that only 20% of people were passionate about what they were doing.
If you are currently at a crossroads in your life and in a rut, not knowing how to climb out, perhaps it’s time you started discovering what you’re passionate about. The journey will bring clarity and focus. It will help you find possibilities and directions. Following your passions is about work becoming a joyful experience, about days becoming more meaningful, about happiness showing up more frequently and about relationships becoming more meaningful.
Your passions will change over time. What you love to do today will probably not be the same in 20 years. Perhaps you’re a person who doesn’t find their passion until later in life. Take for example, John James Audubon, one of the greatest wildlife artists. He was an unsuccessful businessman for most of his life. It didn’t matter how many times he changed locations, partners or businesses, he failed miserably. Not until he understood that he had to change himself did he have a chance of succeeding. So what changes did he make? He followed his passion. He always loved the outdoors and was a great hunter. In addition he was a good artist and would draw birds as a hobby. His life changed when he started doing what he loved.
To get started on this road to discovery, take some time, sit down and write out your answers to the following questions. Go with your first impulses.
- What do you love to do?
- What kind of environment do you love to be in? Predictable and slow-paced or fast-paced and constantly changing?
- What kind of people do you love to be around?
- If you could swap jobs with two other people, who would they be and why?
- Are you more comfortable in a large or small organization? One that is formal, conservative, or creative?
- What excites you, turns you on, gets you charged up?
- What are you “a natural” at? What do people compliment you on?
- What did you like about previous jobs that you would love to do again?
- What do you need from an organization or team to be motivated?
- What opportunities for advancement and development do you need?
- How important is long-term job security?
- Do you need a high or low level of responsibility or influence?
- How important is recognition of success?
- Is work/life balance a priority for you?
- Do you like to be under the pressure of constant deadlines or targets?
- Is being creative important to you?
- How far are you willing to commute?
- What sort of volunteering would you like to do? Is that also a possible career?
- If you could be a teacher, what two subjects would you like to teach?
- Imagine someone gave you $500,000 to invest in a business venture. What would it be?
- If you could attend any conference anywhere in the world at no cost, what would the topic be?
Once you’ve answered these questions for yourself, you’ll have a better idea of the direction in which you might want to head. If you’re still in a fog, take a F-R-E-E profile analysis to gain greater insight into your current situation and make your vision of the future even clearer.
It’s pretty cool! Check it out here:
From … To …
Life with Passion
Life without Passion
A 2005 Harris Interactive Study showed that only 20% of Americans are passionate about what they do. That leaves 80% who are leading lives somewhere from “quiet desperation” to “dull and boring.” Life without color!
This theme came through loud and clear in a movie I saw this past week – “An Education.” It’s the coming-of-age story about a young teenage girl in the early sixties in suburban London. Her parents, especially her mother, appear to be living lives relatively close to the “quiet desperation” end of the continuum.
Jenny wants something more out of life and finds it when she meets a playboy twice her age. Her “grey” life all of a sudden becomes filled with color. Her passion for the exciting new lifestyle leads her to experiences she could only have imagined in her dreams, at least for a while. I’ll leave the story there so as not to spoil the ending in case you see the movie.
The point here: passion for living, for doing those things that are truly important to you, will add so much color to each day. You will wake up with a new zest for life … joyful and excited, ready to take on each new challenge. Passion is the motivator that will help you achieve success.
If you don’t know what you’re passionate about, take The Passion Test™. The participants in my workshop this past weekend found it to be a real eye-opener! Contact me – firstname.lastname@example.org
“I’m too old, I couldn’t do that now.” That’s a statement I hear all too frequently during my “Find Your Passion” programs. Do you feel like you’re too old to start following your passion, even if you knew what it was? What makes you believe that? Other people’s comments, societal norms, your parents’ “self-talk” …?
Yesterday my husband and I visited the exhibition Australian Indigenous Art Triennial: Culture Warriors presented by American University Museum at Katzen Arts Center in Washington DC. The exhibition showcases Australia’s leading indigenous artists with works from the traditional to the modern, some with obvious political overtones. Works include paintings on bark and canvas, sculpture, textiles, weaving, new media, photomedia, printmaking and installation.
When the exhibition made its debut in 2007, it coincided with the 40th anniversary of a landmark 1967 referendum mandating that indigenous Australians be included in the country’s census. Imagine that just 42 years ago, two-thirds of the artists were placed under the same category as Australia’s flora and fauna.
Racial conflict aside, what struck me was that one particular artist hadn’t started painting until five years ago, at the age of 90. Here was a man who was so passionate about wanting to pass on the story of his culture that he didn’t allow his “ripe old age” of 90 to stop him. Five years later he is being recognized as one of Australia’s top artists.
So let me ask you again, are you allowing age to stop you from doing something you truly love? Perhaps it’s time to let go of that false belief and start living your passion.
Are you Climbing the Wrong Tree?
Many Baby Boomers hit midlife only to discover that real happiness is still elusive even though they are successful and appear to have everything they want, or at least that’s the way it seems to everyone else. They are suffering from Passion Deficit Disorder.
Without passion they are “climbing up the wrong tree.” Many people get into jobs, careers, businesses and relationships because “they fell into them”, “it seemed like a good idea at the time”, “my parents said I should”, “I didn’t know what else to do.” They can come up with numerous reasons for where they are in life but none of them involve “it’s my passion … my purpose … my destiny.”
If you’re climbing up the wrong tree, the best strategy at this point is to get down. That makes a great deal of sense but we sometimes forget the basics and continue climbing, either in a career situation or in personal circumstances. Instead of getting down and heading in a new direction (i.e. a different tree), we unfortunately attempt to develop other strategies to try and make sense of a continued climb up the same tree.
Some of these “strategies” could be described as:
- Buying a longer ladder
- Forming a committee to study the tree
- Arranging a visit to other groups to see how they climb the wrong tree
- Lowering the standards so that the “wrong tree” can be included
- Hiring an intervention team to feed the tree and give it a new lease on life
- Reclassifying the tree as “the right tree”
- Hiring a partner to climb the wrong tree with you
- Buying a more sturdy ladder for greater speed in climbing the wrong tree
- Rewriting expectations for the tree
- Adding a second ladder on the other side of the tree for a different perspective
- Declaring that this smaller tree requires less of a cash outlay
If you would like to climb the “right” tree, the one that is perfect for you, contact me at evelin(at)blueprints4change.com and I’ll help you discover where that tree is and how to start climbing faster than you ever thought possible!
The first step in living a life of purpose is to get clear on those things which are of importance to you. It is, however, one thing to clarify your passions and quite another to adopt a behavior that is in accordance with them on a daily basis. We all have an amazing capacity to deceive ourselves.
Facing the truth about the disparity between who you want to be and who you really are can be difficult. We resort to all sorts of ways of burying any awareness of ourselves that is upsetting or hurtful. But until you make a choice to “walk through the fog”, there is no beginning point for change.
Psychiatrist R.D. Laing put this into words in the following way –
The range of what we think and do
Is limited by what we fail to notice
And because we fail to notice
That we fail to notice
There is little we can do
Until we notice
How failing to notice
Shapes our thoughts and deeds
What are you failing to notice in your life?
Passion Leads to Success
A new study (The Coming Entrepreneurship Boom) by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation indicates that the US might be on the cusp of an entrepreneurship boom because of the aging population. It seems that the greatest number of those getting into the entrepreneurial mode belongs to the 55-64 age group. The days of finding security with an institution that’s “too big to fail” are over.
Have you been thinking of starting a business? If so, are you following your passion? There is nothing greater that you can do with your life and your work than follow your heart. The secret to success is getting clear on those things that are the most important to you, being committed to focusing on them on a daily basis and taking some small step in that direction.
Ask yourself three important questions – do I love it (whatever business it is I am thinking about), do I have the skills to be good at it and does the world need it? If the answer to all three is YES, then you have a winning combination.
To find your mission in life is to discover the intersection between your heart’s deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger – Frederick Beekner
If you don’t have a clue as to your passions, take The Passion Test™ and let it guide you in finding and clarifying those five things that you would love to be, do or have in your life. When you find your passion, your enthusiasm for your business will be unstoppable. Almost all of the individuals whom I have guided through The Passion Test™ have responded with something like “It’s been an eye-opening experience” or “I never would have guessed that these are the five things that are the MOST important to me.”
To take The Passion Test™ online, go to http://budurl.com/pton or contact me if you would like some hands-on personal coaching.
If you are in the Washington DC area and would like to attend a Passion Test class, I will be holding a 3-hour workshop on Saturday, June 27 from 10:00am – 1:00pm. You can get more information or register at http://www.takeaclass.org
“The antidote to exhaustion may not be rest. It may be wholeheartedness. You are so exhausted because all of the things you are doing are just busyness. There’s a central core of wholeheartedness totally missing from what you’re doing.”
—Brother David Steindl-Rast quoted in I Will Not Die an Unlived Life by Dawna Markova
Another way of expressing “wholeheartedness” is passion. When you are following your passions, you will have seemingly boundless energy. Time will “disappear”. Rather like “highway hypnosis” when you miss your exit off the highway because you are so deep in thought that you don’t realize how far you have driven.
When you approach your life wholeheartedly/passionately, you experience courage, confidence and optimism rather than anxiety, fear and uncertainty. Joy and fulfillment become a part of daily living and you spend more time in the “Zone.” You don’t have time for exhaustion!
Never give up. Never let fear stand between you and your dreams. Never allow yourself to live a life of mediocrity. Not only does passion bring pleasure to you, it makes others want to be around you for the vicarious pleasure.
Mid-life is a time of reflection, changing goals and reorganizing priorities. It’s a time of letting go of habits, behaviors and thinking patterns that no longer serve you and figuring out what legacy you want to leave behind. It’s about going from a “me” to a “we” life.
Your accomplishments during the first half of your life were no doubt worthy goals but will they last? Are they what you want to be known for when you reach that last part of your life? A “no” answer is the first step in the process of clarifying what is truly important to you at this stage of the game.
One way of defining your legacy to the world is to imagine that you are at your 100th birthday celebration. Your family, friends and neighbors have come to celebrate this momentous occasion with you. The person who is closest to you is going read a speech to the audience. This speech is about YOU, about all that you have accomplished; how you have made the world a better place for the next generation; all the ways you have been of service to others. YOU are going to write that speech yourself.
Visualize how you have made a difference in the lives of those closest to you, acquaintances, friends, family, colleagues and the world in general. What have you given, what have you created and how does it make you feel? Now take pen and paper and start writing.
This is just one of the steps in discovering your purpose, your passion, why you were put on this earth. If you would like to gain more insight into what’s missing in your life, why you’re not waking up to greet each day with enthusiasm and joy and why you are in a rut, please email me via my website – http://www.blueprints4change.com