Anyone who’s ever been on a journey to find their purpose will recall someone advising them to begin by looking at what they’re most passionate about. So for someone who’s been on the receiving end of such advice, you can imagine how disheartening it was, when after much soul searching, I realised there was nothing I was truly passionate about. So was I doomed to never find my purpose ?
Yet indeed I did. And with it the realisation that “passion” comes in all sorts of shapes and sizes; and shows up differently for each of us.
The word ‘passion’ is defined as “an intense emotion; or a compelling enthusiasm or desire for something”. To me, that implies that if you’re passionate about something, it preoccupies your mind, body and soul. It’s something you think about constantly and can’t wait to do every single minute of every day.
Now I can think of many things that I’m interested in. And lots of stuff that I really enjoy doing. But something I’m really ‘passionate’ about ? To narrow it down to that one all-consuming thing ? That was a tough nut to crack. And so you would forgive me if I politely beg to differ and offer a different approach for those of us clueless on the ‘what are you passionate about’ front.
Instead of a ‘hot flame’ approach, I took instead a ‘constant warm simmering’ tack. I looked for evidence in my life where I recall feeling a deep sense of satisfaction. I found moments I treasured as they had the most meaning and significance to me. Not surprisingly, I realised that those moments were also the ones when I felt the most centered. They were moments that felt ‘right’ as I was tapping into the genuine ‘me’ and I was making a difference in a way that mattered to me. And in those brief moments, I recall feeling a strange mix of joy and calmness, as if things ‘clicked’ into place.
In my own journey to define my purpose, I’ve simplified it in a way that made sense and made it easier to digest. The words ‘my purpose’ can be confronting and unless your purpose is to cure cancer, it can seem like anything else is slightly insignificant. But that is so not true. I’ve defined ‘our purpose’ as how we can contribute in a way that is most satisfying and meaningful to us. To me, it’s as simple as that. And each of us has the potential to make a difference in powerful ways …. with our families, in society and in business.
For those of you who can easily list what you’re passionate about….good on you. You’re well on the way in your journey to live your purpose. But for those of you who have scratched your head and struggled to define what you’re passionate about, don’t despair. Your ‘passions’ are just one of many clues to help you find your way. I’ve offered another clue above.
Whatever trail of breadcrumbs you follow, don’t give up on your quest to contribute in ways that are most meaningful to you. Life’s too short to live an unsatisfied, unfulfilled and mundane existence.
Onwards and upwards.