For many of us who are tired of people asking us, “What do you want?” or “What’s your passion?” we have exhausted brains coming up with what we “should” be doing. We think and think and think and try and try and try, yet we haven’t quite figured out our passion, or we cannot quite figure out how to do it.
Here are 3 simple steps to discover your true passion:
Have empathy. That is, to truly understand the other person’s needs rather than what we assume that person needs. It is the first step to understand the root issue that needs to be solved. Similarly, we must begin by being empathetic with ourselves. Yet we are often our own worst critics. If we turn an empathetic ear and truly listen to ourselves without judgment or criticism (You want to be a ballerina? Tell me more…), we might just get a better idea of what our true selves want — not what someone else (including your own critics) tells you what you want or don’t want.
2. Question your answer.
We often declare something we want, but can’t figure out how to get it or why we’re having trouble getting it. What we think is the answer may in fact only be the starting point, a question that needs to be peeled back to discover another layer of the onion. We want a new job. We want to be promoted. We declare these statements as our goals, but get stuck in achieving them.
Instead, consider the why. Why a new job? Why a promotion? What is the root issue behind the declaration? Perhaps we don’t really want a new job, but we’re seeking growth and meaning in our work that we’re not currently finding. Is a new job the only solution or are there other things we can try without leaving our current job? Reframing the issue can help unpack the real question and help us move forward.
3. Stop trying.
Even though it seems everyone gets a prize for effort and participation these days, trying and trying and trying sometimes seem like Sisyphus rolling the stone up the hill, only to have it roll back down. We may be expending too much energy on “trying” but not actually doing. Imagine you want to go skydiving. Standing on the airplane doorway with your parachute ready to go is evidence of really trying. But if you never jump, you’re never actually skydiving. You’re just trying. You could spend days and months and years, and a lot of money making the attempt. But no matter how many times you go up on that airplane, no matter how many different packs you put on, and no matter how many instructors you have, you will never sky dive until you jump. Jump.
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