Still in the process of discovering your passion? Great, let’s get started.
1. Notice what your body is telling you.
“Sensations such as twinges, uneasiness and tension are indicators that you may not be thinking, acting or behaving in alignment with your authentic self, which is the source of all passion. When you sense constriction or discomfort stop and ask, “Why?” Let your intuition speak and decipher what you’re feeling. Follow your body’s cues. They will open the door to change.” —Mark Langford, career coach and author of Thank God It’s Wednesday!
[Related: 7 Signs Your Body Needs to Slooow Down]
2. Find a mantra for yourself in 2016.
Here are 10 inspiring options from SHE Summit Founder Claudia Chan which are guaranteed to help you live your most optimal life.
[Related: 5 Toxic Habits to Drop in 2016]
3. Try new things!
“You could be amazing at so many things, but if you never try, you’ll never know. Do what you’ve never done before, especially if it scares you. It often reminds you of what a badass you actually are and how capable you are of growing and learning. Exploring what interests you could lead to something you never thought possible.” —Kelly Poulson, vice president of talent and operations at Allen & Gerritsen
4. Take inventory at the end of each day.
“What was your favorite part? Why? Jot it down somewhere and once you’ve been doing it for a few weeks and have history, look for themes. Once you’ve identified some themes, do your research on what roles allow you to focus on that type of work more often than not. Be realistic. There’s no role that will be 100% perfect all of the time but you can certainly land yourself something where you’re spending a lot of your time doing what you enjoy most.” —Poulson
5. Always remember your *why.*
“There will be days even in the best job ever that you question what you’re doing. The closer you remain to why you choose to do it and love it, the better. The same goes for the why in the role you’re currently in, dream job or not. People can and should chase their passions even if it doesn’t feel directly connected to your current position. There’s a strong correlation between people who chase their dreams in or outside of work and the way they perform in their role.” —Poulson
6. Take our life-changing “Find Your Purpose” guide.
Life coach and author Gabrielle Bernstein is a master of finding your passions. From finding your effortless actions to understanding how you’re perceived, Gabrielle will walk you through the passion process step by step.
7. Craft a personal mission statement.
Follow these three simple steps to get back on track.
8. Keep of list of what activities bring you joy.
“Then ask yourself which ones are you doing. Assign yourself one thing in your “Joy” list to pursue and give yourself a definitive time to get started.”[Being diagnosed with] breast cancer in 2009 followed by a year of multiple surgeries and treatment gave me the courage to walk away from 20 years running my own firm to write two books, become certified as a health coach and launch my own weekly national radio show. Along the way, I reconnected with what really brings me joy: writing and being on a “stage.” In my case the “stage” are my radios show and my speaking engagements.” —Melanie Young, author, radio host, and health coach
9. Keep a list of your talents and expertise.
“The items on the list do not necessarily have to connect with ways you believe you can earn money—ultimately, our calling is connected to our interests. Creating this list on an ongoing basis helps you to uncover all the big and little things that make your heart sing. Over time, the list tells a story—it reveals your true passions.” —Karen L. Garvey, MBA, author, speaker, and coach
[Related: 6 Essential Skills to Power Your Career]
10. Focus on what you WANT, not what your don’t want.
“Notice, in moments when your mind chatter quiets, what you are tuned into. Are you placing attention on the things you *want* to happen or on what you don’t want to happen? If it’s the latter, shift your focus instead to the question “What else is possible?” This will enable you to find a way around, or through, whatever is standing between you and your passion.” —Langford
11. Celebrate each milestone.
“Give a gift to yourself or celebrate with a friend. It’s okay to self promote your progress and share your joy through social media, emails or other correspondence. This will generate support and encouragement by others which only give your more fuel to keep going.” —Young
12. Follow your curiosities.
“Curiosity is our inner fuel that continually directs us towards aligning with our purpose. Although society largely dissuades us from following this powerful source by encouraging external focus, we can intentionally reactivate it as a priority any time we choose.” —Garvey
“Find one little thing a day to be curious about and then act on it by reading, sharing, or creating. Let that one curiosity be a trail of breadcrumbs that leads you to the next curiosity.” —Heather Ferguson, life coach, registered clinical counsellor, and parent consultant
13. Cultivate belief.
“By far, the most important factor in attaining any goal is believing that it’s possible. There are infinite ways to grow your belief in the possibility of living your passion. Put notes and messages around that reinforce your ability to connect with your passion. Create a visual board of things that excite you and feel good when you look at all the items depicted there. Exchange encouraging texts with a support buddy who also wants to connect with her passion.” —Garvey
14. Develop your self-love, the foundation for *all* success.
“Although self-love is a lifelong pursuit, we can accelerate the process at any time. Low confidence and/or feeling responsible for other people’s happiness over your own are primary catalysts for not following our dreams. Every day, focus on becoming conscious of disempowering self-talk and converting it to an empowering experience. Attune to those thoughts, then think 180 degrees differently. For example, “I can’t do it” gets replaced with “I can do anything.” Break patterns of non-productive thinking and feeling that inhibit happiness by replacing limiting self-dialogue with the exact opposite thought.” —Garvey
15. Review your DATA.
“I have individuals look at their *desires*—what do they love or what careers make them say “I would love to do that!” We then look at *aptitude*—what is their knowledge and how might they use education and educational interests to drive towards their passion. We then have them review their *temperament*—their ideologies and the behaviors that create drive and energy. Finally we look at *attitude*—their loves, foibles, passions, dislikes, etc. As we move through, the individual becomes clearer as to where they want to go and how to get there.” —Drew J. Stevens Ph.D, author, public speaker, and business coach
16. Finish this sentence: “I typically try to…”
“Complete this sentence until you can’t think of anything new to say. You can do that on a daily basis or throughout the week, but don’t do it in a way that describes your traits (i.e. I am friendly, helpful, shy, etc). Rather, use this question to identify your drives.” —Dominick D. Hankle Ph.D, therapist, spiritual director, and author
17. … then throw out negative statements.
“Once you have your list look through it and identify answers that are “avoidant” in nature. Put those aside—these are not your passions, these are things you don’t want to do. For example, if you said “I typically try to avoid eating poorly,” throw that aside. More than likely you will have something that says “I typically try to stay healthy” which is a positive statement and something you are drawn toward. These are the statements you want. Throw out the negative statements and look at the positives.” —Hankle
[Related: How to Embrace Failure to Find Your Passion]
18. … then throw out anything you do because of someone else.
“Now cut the list down further. Ask yourself, “Am I passionate about these things because I want them or do I do these things because of other people (i.e. you want to please someone else, you want their approval, etc.)? Throw out the items you do because of someone else. You want to identify what you’re passionate about because *you* want to do it. Doing this allows you to identify things that are intrinsically motivating—these are your deep passions.” —Hankle
19. Just. Keep. Moving.
“Finding your passion is much like running a marathon. To find it, you must keep moving. Left foot, right foot—relentless forward motion. Do something every day. Anything. Make a daily goal. Write it on your mirror. Have someone holding you accountable. Your passion will direct you from there…. Don’t worry if you haven’t found your passion. It will find you. Just pick a direction and start moving. The only thing passion can’t steer is a post. So you must keep moving.” —Kyle Alfriend, real estate agent at The Alfriend Group
20. Talk to strangers.
We tend to surround ourselves with people who share similar backgrounds, career paths, and/or interests. By talking to strangers regularly, you open yourself up to a world a possibilities and diverse perspectives which you may not have been exposed to otherwise. Check out my articles, “Commuting Conversations: Life Lessons I’ve Learned from Talking to People on Public Transportation,” and “5 More Lessons I Learned from People on the Subway” to see just how fascinating and inspiring talking to strangers can be.
It works. “When my children were young, I knew I wasn’t living life the way I wanted. I was always rushing down the hall at work to make sure they weren’t the last ones to be picked up from school. Life seemed like a broken record—the routine was uninspiring and I wanted to feel inspired for myself and my family. Every night after the kids went to bed, I started journaling about my ideal life. I made lists of the things I enjoyed doing regardless of whether or not they had anything to do with my career. I looked at what inspired me and then brainstormed ways I could start doing some of those things every day. I ended up registering an LLC, working on my passions on the side, and leaving my corporate job a year later.” —Rebecca P. Cohen, author of 15 Minutes Outside: 365 Ways to Get Out of the House and Connect with Your Kids
Career coach Jessica Sweet recommends travel as the best way to get outside your bubble and see the world from other people’s perspectives. I have experienced this firsthand, and believe there is no better way to get back in touch with yourself and your passions. Check out “The Revitalizing Experience of Travel” or my post, “The Healing Powers of Rome: An Exercise in Purposeful Living.”
[Related: 10 Mistakes (Solo) Female Travelers Make]
23. Find a career role model and reach out.
“Find the profile of the person who you believe might have the job you want. Then pick up the phone, call the person, and invite him or her for a coffee. Ask questions and listen. Send a thank you note. Repeat. Read, ask questions, repeat. Don’t be afraid to switch careers, but do your research first.” —Jessica Buerger, community manager of Ideator
24. Give yourself constant positive reminders.
I live and die by calendar reminders. I have a few each day just to remind me about the bigger picture such as, “You are here to help others succeed,” and “Be thankful for what you have.” Another great way to find your passion is by reading. I try to read at least a few positive articles each day.” —Michiel Perry, founder of Black Southern Belle
[Related: 10 Ways to Stay Positive in 2016]
25. Check in with friends on the regs.
“I regularly check in with a few friends by email to see how they are doing. I find a lot of my passion through other people and this is a great way to stay connected as things get so busy.” —Perry
26. Be sure you understand *why* you like the things you like.
“I’ve met a lot of people who ended up hating the career that they were initially passionate about. This is because the day to day tasks of many career paths aren’t always what we expect. If you want to find a job you are passionate about and will enjoy for years to come, you need to focus on the specific tasks you love to help you discover an industry that uses those on a daily basis. For example, I had a friend who had always loved video games… so spending all day working with something he loved seemed like the perfect choice. However, he discovered that the job itself didn’t involve anything he loved about games. His daily schedule would involve taking a 30-second portion of the game and testing it over and over again every day for months. Someone who has a hawk eye for detail and gets a thrill from finding a tiny error that no one else could find would be more likely to fall in love with the job than someone who loves games.” —Lark Ismail, co-owner of Jolly Good Media
27. Keep a list of every idea you have.
“Each day, write down your ideas, any and all ideas that come to mind, and keep them all in one place. Sift through and edit your ideas every month or so, and put the best ones at the top.” —Chelsea Jones, founder and CEO of Chelsea Jones Shoes
28. Seek your “story moments.”
“As a business coach I work with many solo business startups. The ones who can tell me a story about why they are doing this—a event, a testimonial, their aha! moment, etc. are much more likely to succeed than those who just say, “Well I like to make cupcakes or I am good with dogs . . .” Searching your memory for these events will help you find your passion.” —Janet Wentworth, marketing consultant, coach, and author
29. Look for problems you want to solve.
Ask yourself: “What do I want to change—in the world, my community, etc.—or what problems do I want to help find the answers to? Our careers matter more when we are making a difference on a larger scale.” —Kristy A. Fiore, certified rehabilitation counselor and licensed professional counselor
30. Understand that it’s a process.
“Finding a passion does not have to happen overnight, and it does not have to be the same over time. People change, ideas change, and with that passions may certainly change. Nothing is ever set in stone, and nothing matters more than living a life where you can wake up everyday loving what you do.” —Fiore
31. Don’t jump ship too fast.
“We tend to go out to “find” the passion, when in fact, I believe the passion follows you. The real “passion” we want to feel comes with mastery, and job hopping undercuts this. Passion isn’t a one-hit wonder or a feverish affair—it comes with time and effort and being good at a thing. And not just one thing. This idea that finding a passion is like having to pick a major for life is silly. That’s not how life works.” —Terri Trespicio, branding strategist. Check out her TED Talk, “Stop searching for your passion.”
32. Prioritize people over passion.
“People change lives, and no one who has ever done a thing worth doing did it without knowing, connecting with, or helping or being helped by someone else. Find your *people*—people you love and can learn from. Passion follows. It’s born via connection.” —Trespicio
33. Do something artistic for just a few minutes every day.
“Carry around a sketchbook, buy some silly putty, etc.” —Ferguson
“Take time for meditation, contemplation, or simply stilling your body and mind for a few minutes at the beginning and end of the day. Letting the normal “mind clutter” fall away for a few moments can bring clarity and a stronger connection to your creative source.” —Mitch Williams, inspirational speaker and author
[Related: 10 Tips for Meditating Better]
35. Start a daily writing discipline.
“Sit down to write two or three pages every morning. It doesn’t even matter what you write. This also helps to get the clutter out of our minds and down on paper, and it clears the way for truly creative output, helping us to identify our passion and stay connected to the creative source.” —Williams
36. Constantly remind yourself of what you are grateful for.
“The more we understand and appreciate those aspects of our lives that we truly value, the more we see clearly what our passion is and how to begin realizing it. The conflict is always between the tendency to get lost in the daily grind of obligation and the more deliberate choice to be mindfully aware of the magical moments of inspiration. You needn’t sacrifice the magical to the mundane.” —Williams
37. Challenge yourself every day.
“A tried and tested way to find you passion is to challenge yourself every day. This is especially true if you take on things you’ve have no experience in whatsoever. Often, the results will surprise you–in a very happy way. I’ll let employees take on any project, regardless of their job title, and they’ll often discover their hidden “genius zone” along the way. For instance, someone in accounting will take on a marketing project, and discover a hidden zest and talent for copywriting. Why limit yourself? You won’t find your passion if you don’t stretch your wings.” —Elle Kaplan, CEO of LexION Capital Management
38. Take a *tech-free* walk.
“I highly suggest taking time away from friends to have a deeply honest talk with yourself about your happiness. Take a day just for yourself and be alone. Be painfully upfront about how happy you are with things. Ask yourself about one thing you’ve been yearning to do or try. Why are you really putting it off? Fear of rejection? Failure? Fear that if you’re good at it, your whole life could change? A little afternoon walk with yourself can be the first small step towards your passion. If you can’t be honest with yourself, none of your other efforts are going to stick!” —Carrie Aulenbacher, author of The Early Bird Cafe and frequent contributor to Fridge Magazine and iUrban Magazine
39. Read. Read. Read.
“I spend about 10 minutes each day reading about the latest and greatest developments in marketing innovation, and it gives me fuel for the day. I used to just visit a variety of websites to look for interesting articles, then when I realized the kinds of topics that *really* appealed to me, I built an RSS feed to bring even more cool news to me every morning. Now, I have a set of customized Google Alerts that send me the best of the best every day, which I curate for my Twitter followers. After almost 10 years of doing this, I’ve built a strong following, honed my interests, and fed my passion daily.” —Jay Denhart-Lillard, chief marketing officer / product design
Also check out these three books that are guaranteed to help you find your passion.
40. Tap into what you do with your free time.
“As a career coach, I get the “how do I find my passion” question several times per week. My answer: It isn’t lost. Most people know exactly what they like and vote for that activity with their discretionary time. Consider this. I’m a successful coach, business owner, and corporate executive, yet I’m responding to this query at 6am because I love writing. I couldn’t care less about the latest app or technology. I don’t know the score of last night’s game. But I do spend countless hours happily crafting articles to advance my profession, books that support my practice, and even novels, because, well, it’s hard not to. When people ask, “How do I find my passion?” they are usually asking, “How do I get paid for doing something I love? That’s an easier question to answer and why I starting a coaching practice.” —Tim Toterhi, author of The Introvert’s Guide to Job Hunting
41. Ask for advice.
“Asking for advice from a diverse group of people forces me to see situations in a different view than my own. It also provides me with a group of people outside my immediate circles that understand what I am trying to achieve and can help me think of new and creative ways to do it. The best part of asking for advice—I create new relationships with people that want to see me succeed and feel tied to my success as their own. That motivates me even more.” —Jennifer Soffen, co-founder and CEO of Rebloom
42. Start a side hustle.
“For example, one of my dear friends has always enjoyed making empanadas. She followed her passion for empanadas by always making them for social events (showers, going away parties, pot-lucks, etc.) A few years ago she took a bigger step and started selling her empanadas at local farmers markets. She’s currently looking for retail space and plans to open her first restaurant in 2016. By starting a “side hustle,” she was able to dip her toe into the entrepreneurship pool and follow her passion with a safety net. After repeated success at the local farmers market she decided to leave her traditional nine-to-five to follow her passion full time.” —Jasmine Brett Stringer, speaker and author
Photo: Ezra Bailey / Getty Images