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Find your passion: What makes you come alive?

How many people still have no idea what their passion is? Some spend a lifetime trying to figure out what they want to do, but many more will abandon the endeavor altogether. The idea of discovering your passion can seem like a daunting task, and it’s easy to be skeptical. We may believe it’s unrealistic to think we can support ourselves while doing something you love. Sure, there are exceptions, but that’s not the norm, we tell ourselves. Other excuses may be ‘It’s too late,’ or ‘I don’t have time.‘ Why not explore the possibilities of having your own business?

As children, we are not taught to look within ourselves to determine what we want out of life.  Instead, we are taught to be realistic and practical, and to make the best out of the hand we’re dealt. While it’s always good to maximize whatever circumstances come our way, this strategy is unlikely to get us all of the things we want. We often need to “prime the pump” and create our own opportunities.

The truth is…no matter what your age, no matter how busy you are, and no matter what you’ve been taught, it is never too late or too inconvenient or too idealistic to find your passion. What could be more important? If you limit your possibilities, how will you ever know the joy of living your potential?

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive. ~Howard Thurman

 The first step in taking charge of your own happiness is to discover what it is that excites and energizes you. Although this may not be easy, the good news is that you can draw upon some of your HSP strengths, such as your capacity for deep thinking and your gift of self-awareness.

 Below are some questions and ideas to consider:

  • Look around you. What kinds of things do you surround yourself with? Your possessions can say a lot about the kinds of things you like. If you were a detective walking through your home, what assumptions would you make about the person who occupies the space? For example, if you have a lot of books, one might assume that you like to read and learn new things. Perhaps you can teach what you’ve learned. If your home is filled with flea market finds that you restored yourself, one might assume that you have a passion for recycling or saving things.

  • Who do you admire? While you should always strive to be yourself, the people you admire can give you a picture of who you’d like to be.

  • What are your hobbies, and what do you like about these activities? Is there a common thread or theme that unites the things you like to do? For example, if you love to hike and bike ride, perhaps you enjoy exploring the outdoors. Are there other activities that you are interested in but haven’t had the chance to try? If you had all the free time in the world, how would you spend your days?

  • What kinds of things have ignited your passions in the past? Revisit your favorite inspiring books, movies, or places. What kinds of things did you love as a child or as a young person? For example, did you love to draw or sculpt things out of play-doh. Were you always bringing home stray animals? Did you love to go to the beach? The things that we were enthusiastic about in our youth can provide tremendous insight into our lifelong passions.

  • When were you the happiest in your life? What brought about such happiness? Think about the last time you experienced such a moment. What do you think caused such a state? Can you think of ways to bring more joy in your life?

As you can see, the process of exploring your passions can be lots of fun! As you go along, keep a written list or journal of inspiring people, objects, places, or other interests that come to your mind. Document the reasons you like the things that you do. Seek additional information on topics that spark your interest. Sometimes it takes a little research to figure out if something is relevant. Luckily, highly sensitive people are very good at gathering and organizing information!

Once you are done brainstorming, the next step is to construct a picture of your ideal life. What type of job would you have? Where would you live? Who would you interact with on a daily basis? Little by little, you can start to hone in on the things that are most important to you. Some people find it helpful to create a collage or “vision board” representing all of the things they desire. Others are more comfortable summarizing their ideas in lists or a narrative form.

It is up to you how you want to map out your vision — the important thing is to get in touch with the things that ignite your passions! Once you know what you want, you can work to incorporate these things into your plans so that you can finally start living the life that you have always wanted!

Each of us has a unique combination of strengths, experiences, and interests. How can you share your greatest gifts with others? What are the things/activities that bring you the most joy? How can you incorporate them into your life? I’m interested in any thoughts or comments that you have.

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