Louise Thompson: The last word on passion seeking
This is the last installment in our Passion Seeking series. I hope it’s given you food for thought, and inspired some concrete action-taking too. When I see people identify and connect with their passion, then make bold steps towards making it a constant and central part of their life, it’s a breathtaking transformation to behold.
It does not mean it’s a life without irritations and challenge or late nights or GST returns — it’s just that they fade into the background when someone is finally doing what they feel they were put here to do. Purpose and meaning have a way of shining so bright that the rest becomes background noise rather than the main event.
Here’s a handy recap on the principles we have covered:
1 Don’t give up and stop looking. If you stop looking for your passion, you will never find it. Don’t relinquish your curiosity, recommit and dig deeper. Possessing a passion is an innate human quality we are all born with. Don’t surrender if it’s not obvious, re-fire your quest. Don’t settle.
2 Be lateral, not literal, and follow the feel. It’s as much about feeling it out by what lights you up as figuring it out from what logically makes sense. You are seeking a passion-focused career ultimately not for a logical payoff but an emotional-based one: how it will make you feel when you have it?
Use that feeling-based navigating system as part of the way you identifying it. You will be surprised at what will start to reveal itself once you get your logical brain in the back seat just for a while.
3 Know thyself and be a round peg in a round hole. When we do not know ourselves well it’s terrifyingly easy to talk ourselves into things that are wrong for us and out of things that are right.
When we are unsure of our true strengths (not what our CV says they are) we can stay stuck in careers that are a desperately bad fit for us — for years, decades even. Get to know yourself better withsome personality testing and hone in on environmentsthat are a real round peg fit for you.
4 Focus on the journey not the destination. Totally annoying life-coaching cliche, but totally applicable here. Release the grip on the end result, trust that you will find it, and just head out — take the next step, the next small step that feels interesting, that piques your curiosity or lights you up.
Just get the momentum up and move in the right direction: the final designation will reveal itself much quicker if you do. Inertia is a passion-killer.
5 Don’t expect it to be risk-free just because it’s right. Many people who say they don’t know what their passion is, do know, it’s just that it’s a big scary leap, and it’s going to be logistically/emotionally/financially inconvenient. Let me be clear: absence of risk is not presence of rightness.
You will probably need to be brave. You will, at some point, need to leap right out of your comfort zone. Often it’s not a passion identification problem, it’s one of mustering sufficient courage to make it yours.
6 It might not look like an off-the-shelf solution.There has never been a better time to literally make up your job, and to create a career out of your passions or a combination of them. There are no rules now. Careers can be conjured from thin air and you really can make aliving from the most random of occupations. Be open to working outside the box.
7 Ask yourself new and better questions. The answer is there, you do have it and it is inside of you. Sometimes we just need to be really honest about where our fear is bigger than our passion, where we are not taking action, and why. Ask yourself better questions and get better answers (I have a list of 21 for you here) and realise you are closer than you realised.
So that’s it. I hope your passion is starting to bubble its way to the surface and you are making plans to make it a real part of your personal or professional life. I am going to leave the last words on Passion-Seeking to the late, great Steve Jobs.
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”