Have you ever thought about what you love beyond measure. There are an incredible amount of books out there that discuss finding your why, discovering your passion, or defining your purpose. While books like:
- Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek;
- The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results by Gary Keller and Jay Papasan; or
- Journey to the “Y” in You: Your Guide to Understanding Why it had to Happen by Dene Gainey
are great resources that I highly recommend, I thought I would explain the intangible feeling behind finding what you are passionate about. We all have it inside of us. That burning desire to immerse ourselves into something that we hold dear. It just becomes a matter of being able to find and define what it is. For many, this is a daunting task and for others it is moving through a series of steps or exercises to examine what really lies behind our day to day actions. Personally, I believe it can be distilled into one question that when examined, understood, and used will identify what many of us seek; a purposeful life driven by a personal passion.
What (or who) would you hug if you didn’t know?
Before you ask; “What do you mean by that? It’s even more complicated.” check out the context in which it came to me. I had another late night that kept me from seeing my boys before they went to bed. As normal, I went upstairs to check on them as they slept. As I adjusted the blankets and kissed my youngest, he woke up, saw me, and with a loud voice said Daddy as he sat up, grabbed me, hugged me tight with his full body. I cannot explain the feeling as he just held on with everything he had while I continued to hold him for a little while before laying him backwards as his eyes were closed and he was once again fully asleep; still holding onto me. When I saw him the next morning as I was making his breakfast (normal routine), he came over, hugged me and said good morning. Thinking back to the evening before I asked if he remembered seeing me last night. When he answered no, I replied that he must because he spoke to me and gave me a hug. He replied; “I don’t, but it must be because I love you so much.”
This got me to thinking (yes, after I closed my mouth and stopped feeling awesome) about those things we hold so valuable and love so much that we don’t even need to be awake or realize what we are doing to express that feeling. Which led me to my question. What is it about who we are, what we believe, and what we love that even if we were not in a state of conscious; we would still express a deep connection or reaction in its presence? What would we hug if we didn’t know? That is our passion that drives what we do. That is the start of getting there. Try these two basic steps to continue the journey.Stop Over-Analyzing
We spend so much energy analyzing what we value that we often don’t quiet our minds enough to either discover or enjoy it. The key is to understand that quite often, the explanation of why we value something is simple. Whether it has to do with a feeling or benefit that we receive, we must look for and enjoy the clarity of it rather than the deeper meaning. For example, how often do we complain about not being able to spend enough time with our loved ones. We tend to do this even when we are with them; constantly analyzing what the problem is and how to spend more time instead of enjoying the time (and feeling) while we can. We need to enjoy what we value and the passion we have for just what it is; something meaningful.
Eliminate Bias and Reflect
Do yourself a huge favor and strip away manufactured expectations that you have of yourself. These are the ones that you believe you should be fulfilling because “that’s what insert your label here are expected to do.” Ignore those expectations pushed on you. They will eventually fade and then you are left with an image of someone other than who you are. Be who you are by identifying your personal values and acting according to those expectations. Do not be afraid to be different or break the mold if that is who you are passionate about being. Look for highlights in your life by reflecting on those times when you were most proud or satisfied with who you were or what you did. Not by someone else’s standards, but by yours. Discover what it was about those times that brought you those thoughts and feelings. That is what you value, brings you joy, and what you would hug if you didn’t know.
Focus on the Simple
Moving forward, hang on to what it was that gave you that feeling, think about how to continually bring it into your present, and be passionate about making that your purpose. Anything else is either too complicated to focus on or a transient goal that may work for you based on your current context, but fall short in an ever changing world. Instead, stay true to you, focus on what drives you, and move forward confident that you will find success when fulfilling your purpose; not when finding a purpose to be successful.
How do you work on finding your passion and purpose? What inspires you or gives insight to your process?
Do you know what you would hug if your didn’t know? Please share in the comments!