Are you one of the lucky few – one of those who can say they have truly ‘found their passion’? Or better yet – is your passion also your profession? Maybe even, your passion is also your purpose?
There are lots of words here that can be muddled and are often interchanged. In my experience, passion doesn’t have to be one single thing or any single purpose. In fact, that might even be a little boring! I have a passion for people and find purpose in being a good friend and co-worker. I have a passion for teaching and have turned that into a purposeful practice through my yoga studio.
Coming to this awareness, however, and realizing them was not immediate. For me, awakening my passions and finding my purposes was a path that started when, after many years of a successful career in marketing and sales, I was stopped in my tracks by a health scare. Shortly thereafter, I experienced the death of a parent and a mentor, a sister. For me, it took a jolt like this to take stock of where, how and why I was spending my time, talent and resources. Every one of us will have similar “jolts” in our lives, it is inevitable, but how we react and how we adapt is often the source of inspiration.
In speaking with friends, clients and young professionals now, I offer three tips to help them cultivate their passions: Be Bold, Be Observant, and Be Here Now.
- Be Bold: Leaving my job in technology product marketing, moving across the country, and opening a yoga studio were huge transitions for me, but I felt real desire to be an independent, business owner. It was time to ‘go for it’ and step outside my comfort zone and yet that applied many of the skills I had cultivated in my career.
- Be Observant: Our values reflect who we are on a daily basis and come through in everything we do at home and at work. I examined my passions and values, and asked myself questions such as: What do I do that makes me smile? What am I good at? What do my friends trust my advice in? What are my core values? This self-reflection has been key in carving my path.
- Be Here Now: “One day at a time” may be a cliché, but it does hold some truth. Thinking about and preparing for the future is important, but practicing presence and mindfulness today is critical. There are people around us in the here and now that need our attention, time and talents. This includes finding space in daily life for 5 minutes of stillness, joy and connection to the present.
We also talk about the signposts that life throws up along our paths, signals that we are off-balance and perhaps in need of a new path. For me, a health scare and grief coupled with trying to balance life as a working mom, I realized that I was running on complete empty – both literally and figuratively – this was my sign. I needed to focus on what I wanted, and that changed my direction dramatically.
So, be bold, observant and fully in the here and now. Reflect on your values and purposes, and your passions will awaken.
This post first appeared in our column, Off the Mat – Belmont Citizen Herald.