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Last weekend I went to a conference called the World Domination Summit, yep sounds pretty intense, huh? It was a group of people who were drawn to travel to Portland Oregon to learn how to “Live a Remarkable Life in an Conventional World”. We heard speakers cover topics such as vulnerability, fear, change, shame, and of course passion. One of my favorite speakers was Cal Newport who pushed back on the traditional idea of “Follow Your Passion”.
Since hearing Cal, and totally agreeing with him I have been thinking about the concept of ‘Follow Your Passion’. I have been thinking about the pressure that comes with this topic, how clients struggle SO much with it and how in many ways it is similar to the idea of waiting on Prince (or Princess) Charming in your personal life.
- Both of these ideas, in many ways severely limit our lives and our thinking.
- Both ideas keep us stuck.
- Both ideas make us think that there is AN ANSWER and if only we could find IT we would be happy.
- Both ideas teach us that it is something outside of us that will make us happy and if only we search hard enough and find it we will be happy.
- Both ideas are wrong.
There is no one right person for us and there is no right passion.
I spent much of my 20s and 30s looking for a life partner, and I found someone who is amazingly wonderful and compatible. My nearest and dearest is someone who makes me exceedingly happy and joyful. He is also someone who frustrates me, who has interests and hobbies different from mine, who can be tired and cranky when I need him to be supportive and understanding. Bottom line he is not perfect, we are not perfect, but we are happy. Happy because we work at it, happy because we communicate, argue, love and put each other first. Happy because we don’t expect the other to complete us but rather to do the best they can with what they have at any one time.
The same theme applies to your passions. Your life passion is not ONE THING. It is not just one idea, one hobby, or career and if you could just figure it out then you would be happy. Your passion is how you engage in the world on a day-to-day basis. Your passion is your values, you integrity, your authentic self and how you share that with the world. You can be living your passion and be engaging in a traditional J-O-B. Your passion is a conglomeration of joy, pain, fear, desire, and love. Your passion makes your heart race and makes you want to run out of the room screaming. Your passion, like your relationship takes work, love, support, joy and desire.
Passion is not something you FIND it is something you ARE. You can live your life with passion every single day, starting right now, today.
So many people I know are paralyzed, stuck, walking through life like zombies and when I ask them why they say well if I knew what my passion was I would be doing that but I don’t so I am waiting to find out.
The question then becomes:
What are you DOING every single day that makes you light up, that is a passion?
If you like to write; write. If you like to swim; swim. If you like to dance; dance. If you are a good listener; listen. If you like to play with your kids; play. Do the things that interest you now, and then listen to what happens. Pay attention to how you FEEL as you do them. Your passion is who you are as you move in the world, it isn’t something you find that changes everything.
There is no magic bullet. There is no “when I get this ______ life” will be better. Even with my nearest and dearest, there are days when life is wonderful and days that are hard. Before my nearest and dearest there were days that were wonderful and days that were hard. It is just a different wonderful and a different hard.
When you are living your life with passion. You are engaged in life, you are showing up and being all you are. As you engage in your passions, life begins to open up in different ways, you have new opportunities, new perspective, new hope and new challenges.
People use to say to me “Your Prince Charming won’t come knocking on your front door out of the blue”. Neither will your passion. To live a life of passion means you engage life you step up and join in to what life has to offer every day. When you hide your passions from the world it is the same as hanging out in your living room waiting lamenting that your prince hasn’t stopped by yet. What are you waiting on?
What are you passionate about? How do you express that in your life each day in small or gigantic ways?