Success fuels passion more than passion fuels success. – Scott Adams
My students come to me and they want to find their passion and their purpose in life.
I get this request more than anything.
So, today, I want to set the record straight about “how to find your passion and purpose.”
Let’s start with why even have a passion at all…
If you want to listen instead of read, here’s the podcast episode that goes along with this post — How To Find Your Passion And Purpose.
Why have a passion?
From a young age, we’re asked, “what do you want to be when you grow up?”
Then, later (maybe in high school or college) we’re asked, “what career are you going into?”
At some point, we realize that we made a bunch of decisions that left us feeling, well, a little bit like we’re off purpose.
Here’s the truth.
Having a purpose doesn’t make you more worthy.
You are 100% worthy as a human being.
You don’t have to do anything with your life to feel better.
You are complete right now.
You don’t need to…
- Make more money
- Get a better job
- Lose more weight
- Get in the best shape of your life
- Get married
- Have kids
- Have a job at all
- Have goals and dreams
You don’t have to do ANY of it. Your life doesn’t have to look like some version of someone else’s life to be happy or of purpose. At all.
Your worthiness doesn’t come from completing things.
You don’t become a better person by accomplishing things.
As soon as you relieve yourself from the pressure to justify your existence, you feel better because you recognize the truth of it.
You are a product of evolution, coming from God or whatever you believe in.
Your only required job is to exist. You do not have to be better than you are. It’s even optional that you are here (people commit suicide).
There is no requirement to do something in order to fulfill some to do list of life.
DO NOT seek a passion or purpose to feel more worthy—it won’t work.
There is also NOTHING wrong with you if you don’t know or have your purpose or passion.
You’re not damaged. I promise.
We tend to think something is wrong with us when we don’t have a purpose or passion.
This isn’t true.
There’s nothing wrong with you.
This is where we’re starting from.
This is where you should create a purpose from.
Most people don’t do this. Instead, they 1) want their purpose or passion for the wrong reason, and 2) put so much pressure on themselves to find it.
The 2 Problems: 1) Wanting It For The Wrong Reason, and 2) Putting So Much Pressure On Yourself
The two main problems I see with people who want find purpose and passion are:
- They want it for the wrong reason, and
- They put so much pressure on themselves to find their passion and purpose
Problem 1: Wanting To Find Your Passion And Purpose For The Wrong Reason
Most people who come to me for advice are trying to try to earn their worthiness.
They think they’re supposed to get the A, graduate, get married, and do a great job to be worthy.
You are worthy because you exist.
All humans are equally worthy. Period.
Once you start to see the world this way, you’ll be less judgmental of other humans and of yourself.
Someone else who has achieved more isn’t better than you. Someone who has achieved nothing isn’t a “worse human” than you.
We are all worthy of being here.
Problem 2: You Put So Much Pressure On Yourself To Find Your Passion And Purpose
The second problem is making “finding your passion and purpose” some huge life task that it’s unachievable.
I heard it described on a TED Talk that it’s like “choosing a major for your life.” How impossible is this?!
We have this misconception that there is ONE thing outside of us that we better find or else we’re doing it all wrong.
It’s so heavy.
It creates worry that if you do it wrong you’ll mess up your whole life.
When you think this way, you miss opportunities.
What if this is just completely wrong?
I think it is.
So, let’s clear things up!
Let’s talk about how to find your passion and purpose, starting with distinguishing between passion and purpose…
Passion Vs. Purpose
Passion and purpose are not the same.
Passion: an emotion or feeling
- Passion is an emotion caused by what you think.
- If you want to experience more passion, you need to think thoughts that create the emotion of passion.
You can read this post on How To Find Your Passion In 6 Steps for more details.
Purpose: what you dedicate your life to
- What you think you want to contribute and dedicate your life to.
- This is something to do with your life that is for fun.
- When you know you’re 100% worthy, you can choose to contribute and spend your time however you want.
Most people will say that they are stuck or don’t know what their passion or purpose are.
When You’re Stuck And Don’t Know What Your Passion And Purpose Are
When you say you “don’t know” what your passion is or what you want your purpose to be, you’re doing what I call “sitting in ‘I don’t know’.”
Don’t do this.
For the love of your life, please don’t do this!
It’s the worst.
And it’s sneaky. Your brain loves to indulge in confusion and “I don’t know.”(Read my blog post on How To Answer Your Own Questions here).
Instead, figure it out.
Don’t sit in “I don’t know.”
Your brain loves this. Say, “I don’t know yet” or “I’m figuring it out.”
Go and do something. Try something. Try again.
If you are sitting around complaining about not having a passion and feeling stuck, you for sure will miss the opportunity to try something that moves you forward.
There is opportunity everywhere.
How To Be Passionate And Create Your Purpose
Now, let’s talk about how to find your passion and purpose.
How To Find Your Passion
The “finding your passion” isn’t a true statement. Passion is an emotion.
Want more passion? Practice thoughts that generate the feeling of passion. If you’re not passionate about anything, it’s because you haven’t practiced thoughts that generate the emotion of passion. Start small and memorize how passion feels in your body. Notice where it is, how you experience it, and generate (and increase) the feeling.
(You can grab my Thursday Thoughts email and I’ll send you a little extra motivation every week.)
I love practicing the emotion of passion. It’s a feeling a practice often and serves me so well.
You can create passion for anything. It’s totally up to you.
Now, let’s move on the to purpose part of the equation…
How To Find Your Purpose
I created the following five steps for you to create your purpose.
Step 1: Stop believing it exists outside of you
There is no “it” – it doesn’t exist and it certainly isn’t outside of you.
Instead, take responsibility for YOU being the one to feel passion and discover and create your purpose.
You need to stop focusing on your passion outside of you and your purpose outside of you. You need to start focusing on WHO you want to be and WHAT you want to do.
Step 2: Make a list of things to try
For the things you want… that you intend to do… like getting married, writing a book, speaking, starting a business, losing weight… if you’re waiting for “passion” you’re going to be waiting a long time. It’s not coming for you
Passion and purpose is in what you contribute. It’s primal. Don’t wait. Start now.
You have to decide on something to try.
Make a list of all the things you secretly want for your life.
Examples: write a book, become a fitness instructor, own a business, run a camp.
Step 3: Try a bunch of things
Date around! Get experience from lots of different things.
When you date around in your career, you may find you like lots of things.
You’ll have to decide to go all in on something.
If you don’t, it’ll be very hard to be super successful in one area.
You’ll then have experience to decide what you want instead of just what you think without knowing.
Example: many people want to be doctors and lawyers; then they become them and realize they don’t want that at all.
WHO CARES what people say about changing your mind. You’re for sure going to die. Don’t let someone else’s opinion stop you from living your life.
You can read this post about How I Quit My Soul Sucking Job for more details.
Step 4: Commit for a period of time
Set a specific timeline for when you’ll revisit the decision.
I suggest committing for 6-12 months.
Example: Start an online business (read my How To Start An Online Business Tutorial here). Go all in for 6 months. Commit. Be amazing. Show up. Do hard things. Don’t make excuses. Put a date on your calendar when you’re going to redecide.
It’s going to be uncomfortable for a few months. Give yourself enough time to do that thing. Don’t quit because it’s hard. Quit later, after you’ve given it enough effort to see some results and know for sure it’s not for you.
Whenever you start something new, your brain is going to freak out. This is what brains do. You have to expect this and plan for it.
It’s always looking for what’s wrong It’s always in confusion. It’s always uncomfortable doing something new and different
Know this. Don’t let it stop you.
Step 5: Redecide
Whenever the date comes for you to redecide, do it.
Sit down and think rationally (from your prefrontal cortex, not in fight or flight mode) about whether you want to continue doing what you’re doing.
I quit lawyering.
I quit financial planning.
I made these decisions very thoughtfully.
I changed the purpose of my life in the process.
You don’t have to decide forever.
You just have to decide for now.
A Final Note!
Don’t let the chatter from everyone else influence what you think about you.
You are 100% worthy.
You don’t have to do anything to prove yourself.
Knowing this, my question for you is… now what?
What do you want to do with your one, precious life?
It’s up to you.
And it’s all just for fun.