Lost and Found: Starting On The Path of Recognizing Passions

We've all been there. Stuck on a project, job, or even a career that just does't seem to fit. We might be capable, and even excelling at our work, but that doesn't mean we like it.

The feeling goes deeper than 'not liking it' though. It doesn't fulfill us. Most days are spent looking forward to when we walk out the door to the office and get on with the rest of the evening when we get to do what we want. Most weeks are spent looking forward to the weekend for the same reason. And most months just seem to go by in a blur, waiting for the next holiday, vacation, or anything that keeps us away and busy with life.

When you think about it...that's a terrible way to live life. We spend so much time working, it's a complete waste to do that while being miserable. But what's the alternative? Living a life of leisure, and most likely poverty? Wasting the work that we have put into building our education, the sacrifices that others have made for us, and the potential good we can do in the world?

No.

The key is to start developing an understanding of our passions. And then to start incorporating them into our lives. It doesn't have to be some drastic change. It starts small. It starts with recognizing what brings you joy, what do you find yourself pulled to, and then starting from there.

Crazy Enough To Try began for me as I was going through this journey. I didn't know what I wanted to be doing, but I knew that whatever it was, I wasn't doing it. My days were filled with working at a job that wasn't quite living up to the expectations and dreams I held for myself. My evenings were spent doing relatively fun things, but they weren't fulfilling. And they were becoming more than a distraction and beginning to interfere with my goals. At the end of the day, my life didn't seem to be amounting to the big goals I knew I had within me, but hadn't really outlined a practical path forward.

After interviewing numerous people, I started to piece together that the emptiness I was feeling didn't mean I needed to up and quit my life and spend the world traveling the next day. That's what a lot of discussion about passion seems to amount to, and frankly that's not what I or many other people want.

 Photo via  Flickr

Photo via Flickr

I did start to understand, however, that there were elements of my life that I was ignoring. It was as if I was wandering around in a maze lost, but not really willing to open my eyes and look at the clues that were there. Instead, I just felt that I was making progress as long as I kept walking.

We all have passions that we've developed whether we realize it or not. It's not about discovering your passions, it's about recognizing them. Instead of hoping that they will fall out of the sky and knock us on the head in an epiphany, we need to start to pay attention.

What is it that you find yourself drawn to time and time again? What do you find as a common thread through the areas of your life both professional and personal? What types of projects are you spending your time on that you consistently receive praise for? Where are your gifts naturally fitting into your work?

These are the types of questions that you need to ask yourself to recognize what you're passionate about. From there start with small actions of incorporating your passion into your life. It could be as simple as reading a book about your passions, joining a local club that regularly engages in your passions, or talking more about your passions with your friends. Passions tend to grow when given space.

Know someone who feels stuck? Send this to them and see if they can start the process of getting unstuck. It won't happen overnight. But it's better to start now instead of later, or worse: never.

- Ryan