Wednesday, April 28, 2010

How To Find Your Passion

Today we're going to talk about how to find your passion.

Tonight Jerry and I were getting ready to film, and we were discussing what new topic to cover because we have already recorded 40 episodes of Self-Awareness 101. With having covered that many topics, we want to make sure that we continue to offer new information, and new ideas and not just repeat concepts that we have already discussed until the series comes to a close with episode 52. So as we were talking about things to discuss, Jerry brought up something that we agreed is really important that a lot of people have asked about in coaching sessions and seminars which is how to find your passion. I had to think about what I would share regarding how to find your passion and bounced ideas back and forth with Jerry for quite a while, because I have been following my passion in one form or another since I was six years old. I have been very lucky in the respect that when I found what I was passionate about, my family nurtured and supported me in following and pursuing that passion which was music. I'll talk to more about that in a moment.

One of the things that Jerry and I discussed is my belief that the sad reality for a lot of people is that they lose knowing what their passions are as they grow up. As a child we are open to exploring everything, experiencing everything and at least trying everything. Then if we like something, we continue to do it. And if it doesn't work for us, we walk away from it. Plain and simple really, it is actually a very easy way to operate.

The challenge for many of us is that as we begin to grow older, we may have something that we are very passionate about that we spend time pursuing, and very well meaning adults, whether its our parents, our school teachers or people that we respect in our community begin to tell us, "Yes, that's fun, but you're never going to make a living at that. So it is time to grow up and get serious. It’s time to decide what you're really going to do with your life." And many times, because of our desire to please other people, and without having that nurturing support that we need, many of us forget what it is that truly fires us up. We forget what truly excites us. Then we get to a place in our lives that we can't even remember what excites us.

It is amazing to me, when I am beginning to get to know people one of the questions I ask them is, " What are you passionate about?" And I am actually surprised by the number of times that people answer that they don't know.

Again it is surprising for me because I have had the privilege of living my passion. I don't just mean speaking and doing these videos, I also mean my passion for music. I mentioned earlier that I started singing in front of people when I was six years old and I stayed with that outlet of expressing my passion, singing in churches, up until I was about eleven or twelve. Then I started singing in school productions and I grew away from singing in the church environment. Then I got into my first rock band when I was 15 and actually made my living playing in cover bands for several years. Then I kind of moved past that vehicle for of living my passion and got into writing and recording original music. Then following my passion took me in another direction where I began DJing and for 17 years made my living as a DJ. So I have had the privilege of pursuing my passion for music be a major part of my life. Now, I have developed other passions as I've gone along which have grown from the same foundation that made me passionate about music. Things like contributing to other people, personal and spiritual development, making a difference in the lives of those I care about and other things that allow me to tap into creativity. But music has always been there, and its influence has guided me along the way.

I believe that what happens for many people is they get so caught up in the responsibilities of being an adult that they lose connection with that passion they had as a child. One of the ways I was taught about how to find your passion was through a Tony Robbins event. As we were going through the exercise Tony said, "Think back to when you were a child. What was the very first thing you wanted to be when you grew up? What kind of work did you want to do?"

As I thought about the question, the first thing that I could remember was that I wanted to be an airline pilot. Now, I never personally knew an airline pilot. I didn't live in an area where there were planes around so why I wanted to be a pilot, I really couldn't say. Until Tony asked us to take the "job" part out of it and look at what it was about doing that job that inspired us? So I had to think, "What did I think I was going to get from being a pilot? What was it that excited me about the idea?" And as I thought about it, what I realized was what excited me was the idea of adventure, freedom, travel, going to new places and experiencing new things. Then he asked us, "What's the second thing that you wanted to be when you grew up?" The second thing I wanted to be when I grew up was I wanted to be a truck driver. And again, the process was about uncovering why we wanted to do that job. It wasn't so much about the manifestation of the job, but what was it about the job that excited us. And again what I discovered was that it was about travel, it was about going to new places, it was about connecting with new people and having new experiences every day.

I started to see there was a pattern associated to the choices I made. Tony asked, "What was the third thing you wanted to be when you grow up?" For me it was being singer and performer, because at 6 years old that is what I had already tapped into. But I needed to look at, "Why?" Why was it that I wanted to be a singer? The answer was that it was about connecting with people on a deep level. It was about self expression, about being able to just open myself up and watch people's reactions. It was about the ability to move them, to help them express themselves and inspire them.

As an exercise about how to find your passion, that worked for me. It helped me in recognizing the patterns, and understand the passion for myself. But when Jerry and I were talking tonight about my experience and how to find your passion as a topic, he didn't connect so well with that exercise. For him that exercise wasn't a very useful tool in helping him find his passion. What he suggested and I thought it was a really good idea for people in regard to how to find your passion, was to think back to when you were a child and simply remember what it was that you just loved to do. What was it that you could do for hours on end and nothing else in the world mattered?

As an example, for some people it is creating art. Things like drawing, finger painting and doing crafts. For some people it is music, maybe singing or playing an instrument. For some people it is playing in the dirt, getting in touch with nature, planting and exploring the world around them through plants and animals. For some people it is tearing things apart and finding out how they work. As you think back, if any of those things lit a spark in you, made you feel good inside, that may be what your passion is.

Take a moment right now to write down these things. What was it? What do you remember that really fired you up and got you excited? I do realize that there are a lot of people who can't remember much from their childhood and can't remember those kinds of things. If that is the case for you, ask yourself right now, if you think about different possibilities of what you could experience, which ones just get you excited when you start to think about it? Is it learning to play an instrument? Is it expressing yourself through drawing, even though you may think that you may not be that good of an artist?

We are not talking about making a living doing this, we're talking about how to find your passion and finding a way to express your authentic self. Because when you can do that, when you can find your passion and begin expressing yourself through it, that experience is going to open you up to other opportunities, and other possibilities.

Many people want to make a career out of their passion. And you may not make a living through creating art, but it may lead you to something else. Maybe you will become an art critic. Maybe you'll find something that continues to feed your passion that you never expected. As an example, you may pick up the guitar but find that playing the guitar just doesn't resonate with you. But while you are learning to play the guitar, you might find yourself fascinated with piano. Or you may find yourself fascinated with music theory.

The key to how to find your passion is about experimenting and finding that thing that excites you, that thing that makes you just light up when you even think about doing it. There's no better way for me to describe it.

So the exercise that I would like to offer you for this week is to think back if you can, think back to when you were a child, and do both approaches that I discussed earlier.

The first exercise that I offer for how to find your passion is to think about three things that you wanted to do when you grew up. And as you think about them, take away the job title itself, and ask yourself, "What was it about doing that as a career that I thought was really going to fulfill me?"

And if you don't connect with that exercise, the second exercise on how to find your passion is to look back at your childhood and remember the things that you did that you could do for hours on end, those things that you just loved to do.

Take what you discover from those exercises and see how you can incorporate what you have learned into your life now. Can you incorporate your passion into your work? Or is it better suited to be a hobby? Either way, you can start right now.

Again, if you have trouble remembering things from your childhood, just look around, and take a chance on that one thing that you find yourself constantly thinking about. Maybe you will find yourself saying, "You know what? I'd really like to try cooking." Try it. Buy a cookbook or take a cooking class. And if doesn't work, it's okay to go, "Eh, it didn't work the way I thought it would. But where has it taken me to, what has it opened me up to?"

How to find your passion is really about experimenting with what juices you, and finding out what fires you up. Play, experiment and allow yourself to enjoy the process.

I look forward to your comments. I look forward to hearing what your passion is. I look forward to connecting again soon. Take Care.

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