Identifying your passion is one of the first and most important steps in creating a plan for your future.
Too many people brush this question aside when planning their future vocation. They think it is trivial. They instead look at “grown-up” things like, what industries are showing the highest growth rate right now, or what do others expect me to do. Some choose careers that are safe, guaranteed, or respectable. Many people even make decisions based solely on what they are good at or what others have told them they are good at.
Most of these are actually pretty smart ideas.
But passion isn’t all about making smart, logical, and intellectually sound decisions. This is where your heart comes in. For just a moment turn off the logic part of your brain and give your heart some freedom.
You don’t want to wake up every morning, roll out of bed, and have to give yourself a pep talk just to get out the door and go to work. Way too many people do this every morning. They go to work because they have to. They live for the weekends.
This is normal.
But trust me; you don’t want to be normal. Normal is unhappy, unmotivated, unproductive, uninspired, and passionless.
Wouldn’t you rather wake up in the morning and be ready to work because you’ve had a million exciting ideas going through your head all night long? Wouldn’t you rather be in a place where your work and your personal life are not at war with each other but complement each other and blend together like a beautiful watercolor?
Figuring out your passion requires looking inward.
What are the things that you talk about the most with your close friends?
What do you do with an unexpected free day when school is canceled?
What books are you reading that are not required?
What do you think about when you find your mind drifting?
What movies do you enjoy?
What extracurricular activities do you find most enjoyable and why?
What do you look for in new friends and what qualities do you value most in your close friends?
What do your friends and family say you talk about all the time? What can they not get you to shut-up about?
One simple trick to discovering your passion is to go to your local book store, walk over to the magazine section, and pick up the first three magazines that you find interesting. Take them to a table or a reading area and glance through them. What is it about those magazines that you like? Is it the artwork, the photography, the articles, the advertisements? Did you grab those magazines so that you can learn something new and share it with your friends? Did you pick something that will help you better yourself? Did you grab them because you want to stay up on the latest trends? Try to spend at least 30 to 45 minutes (or until the staff scowls and tells you “this isn’t a library!”) with these magazines and try to figure out what it is that draws you to them.
Getting an outside perspective can also help. Ask your best friend, a family member, or a mentor what he or she thinks you are passionate about. Sometimes what is obvious to others is difficult for us to see in ourselves.
It’s good to take advice from others but it is so very important to listen to your own voice during this process. A lot of well-meaning family members, guidance counselors, teachers, and mentors have or will try to give good conservative advice to you. They will generally err on the side of caution and discourage any plans that seem to be outside of the norm. They may encourage you to take a career path that is safe and makes sense but just isn’t something that inspires you.
This step takes some time. That’s okay.
A fulfilling and profitable vocation is made up of three things: passion, ability, and an economic model.
Your passion is one part of a three legged stool. If you don’t spend the time needed to figure this one out the other two won’t hold you up.