How to pursue your passion
The other day, I was at a Charity Golf Tournament sharing with a friend all the things I didn’t know I would love until I’d tried them: swimming, dance, jewelry-making, and playing guitar are just a few examples. “How many things out there are we potentially great at,” I asked, “but we aren’t aware of them simply for lack of trying new things?”
You could be the next Monet, the next Beethoven, the next Steve Jobs, the next Mother Theresa, the next Leonardo Da Vinci, the next Shakespeare, the next Martin Luther King, Jr. You really could. We aren’t just manifested into existence to be born, amass wealth and possessions, and then die. We are spiritual beings, each with a very unique assignment custom designed for us.
In the same way that no two fingerprints are alike, no two destinies are alike. No one sees the way you see. No one thinks the way you think. No one has experienced life the way you’ve experienced it. You are wondrously unique, and everything that makes up your spiritual DNA has been woven together to assist you in achieving your purpose.
So yes, your passions do matter. And it’s important to remember these two things:
1) You’ll never know what you’re capable of if you don’t try new things.
2) Each of us has a wealth of talents, gifts, and abilities that we have yet to tap into – so we must afford ourselves the opportunity to start tapping!
Let me encourage you in this: if there is something in your life that you think you’d like to try out, no matter how big or small, there is a reason for it. That interest and desire isn’t a random whim.
You were introduced to that ‘something’ at that specific moment in time for a reason you couldn’t possibly fathom. Whether it’s a class to learn sewing, arts & crafts, cake decorating, or painting; whether it’s a desire to travel, to participate in a service trip, to become certified in a field of study, to swim with manatees off the Florida coast–whatever it is, never trivialize your interests! Don’t make light of them.
Imagine if Siddhartha Guatama (who would later go on to be known as the Buddha) had decided that his quest for knowledge, truth, and enlightenment was silly in light of having everything he could possibly want as a prince in Kapilavastu. Imagine if he’d decided to accept the dissatisfaction he’d felt with his life and pursuits. He would’ve never experienced his moment of Awakening.
We, too, have moments of Awakening that await us. They come when we pursue what feels true to us, what feels holy, what feels sacred, and what feels passionate. So whatever it is that calls your name–pursue it. Avoid making excuses and love yourself enough to allow yourself to try new things and discover new passions. Who knows what you’ll find out about yourself?
Take 10-15 minutes right now to list out all those things that have bubbled up inside your conscious for a long time that you’ve politely pushed to the back burner. What interests have you yet to pursue? What adventures have you postponed? Record them now.
Then, plan your Discovery Dates. Even if you can only pursue a new interest once a week or once a month, commit to it! This is your life; make it beautiful. Make it exciting. Make it what you want it to be. Before you read on, look at your schedule right now and start to insert the interests from the list you made onto your calendar.
Throughout this process of discovery, keep an organized list of your Love it’s and Live Without It’s. This process will be entirely trial and error but don’t be discouraged. We don’t make mistakes–we simply create experiences to learn from. I like to maintain a six-square grid where I keep record of: Things I Absolutely Love, Things I Will Never Do Again, Things I’m Not Sure Of Right Now…and so on. Create a similar document for yourself so that you can keep an accurate record of what enlivened you while you experienced it…but also what drained you. (Hint: stay away from the things that drain you).
For those who are skeptical about this process or are already crafting the excuse that work is too pervasive in your life to leave time for fun and games, I have something for you too. Ready? Here it is: incorporate your passions into your workplace.
It’s not as hard you may think. When I was residing in Chicago in a dorm-style living situation, I wanted to pursue my passion for charity. So I registered to participate in the Greater Chicago Food Depository’s Thanksgiving drive. I then carried a trunk down to the house’s foyer area. Lastly, I sent an email to all my co-residents announcing what I had done, expressing my excitement, and inviting them to partner with me in making a difference. The trunk was overflowing in mere weeks!
If you like graphic design, offer to design business cards for your coworkers or even a new website for your office. If you like interior design, start off with decorating the office spaces at your workplace. If you love to teach, ask your boss if you could use some staff meeting time to teach your coworkers a new skill or idea. The possibilities are endless! It’s all about getting creative in how to weave your passions into your job.
Now that you have a list of interests, and a calendar for pursuing them, your last assignment is to create new, unique, and creative ways to integrate your passions into your 9-5 (or into your neighborhood, local park, group of friends, etc). Let the creative juices flow. You’ll be surprised what you come up with! Share your insights in the comments below and don’t forget to share this article with a friend! They’ll love you for it!