Find and Focus on Your Passion!
In 3rd grade, I knew I wanted to be a writer. On Halloween, I wrote a story about a wily wicked witch. It received great acclaim from my teacher and the pride I felt from forming words into a story filled me with joy.
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At 11, in my 6th grade speech class, I had my first taste of talking in front of a group. Having each person listen to my thoughts and ideas made an impression on me. I love to talk. It made sense to talk to a captive audience. That way, they couldn’t run off if they didn’t like what I had to say. Ha. No, seriously.
My junior year in high school, my English teacher asked me to represent our school in a writing competition at an interscholastic meet where high schoolers from all over the state would compete. “I don’t write English good,” I told her. She corrected me, “You don’t write well.” “See!” I told her. We laughed, but I meant it. Not many years had passed since my young childhood dreams of writing and speaking, but already my lack of confidence had begun to cause me to question myself and my abilities. I went on to that competition, completely made up my descriptive essay, and placed 3rd in the state. You’d think that would help my confidence grow and that I’d continue to move forward, but no. I beat myself up over the fact I hadn’t won. Yep, I never thought I was ‘good enough.’ Sigh.
I write about passion and purpose quite a bit. Recently, I wrote what turned out to be a pretty popular post called Turn Your Passion into Action. I think many can relate to my story. Growing up, I always just did what I was ‘supposed’ to do and while that didn’t typically make me miserable, it also never provided true joy. I spent so many years going through the motions of life that when I finally understood living joy, I became determined to share with everyone. I had to first discover who I am, truly on the inside.
Once I understood that light shines in me (you can read about that here) and makes me worthwhile (And friends, it’s not just for me. I’m no more special than you. This light is within us all!), I was able to give myself permission to do more than just get by. It became okay, preferable even, to do the things I found true joy in.
Don’t get me wrong. I still found plenty of happiness in my life – my family, my friends. I’ve always had a stable, secure job and there’s definitely something to celebrate in that. I’ve tried to always appreciate everything I have. But I lacked that ‘excited to get up out of bed and go to work’ motivation that comes when you live your joy.
As we become adults and fall into the responsibilities and the busy-ness of our lives, I think our dreams and desires frequently get shoved to the side. We give these reasons:
- I don’t have time
- It’s not practical
- Too many people are counting on what I’m doing already
While we can’t all necessarily make a living from what we’re truly passionate about, incorporating our passion and joy into our lives is what constitutes truly living our purpose and not just existing as we plod through our days.
In this four-part series, Living a Life of Purpose, we’ll take a look at the following:
- Finding and Focusing on Your Passion
- Stating Your Strengths
- What’s Holding You Back? | Overcoming Obstacles
- Moving Forward
As adults, we tend to forget the things we’re truly passionate about, so let’s look there first.
Finding and Focusing on Your Passion
Here are 5 ways to find and focus on what you’re passionate about. Be sure to print off this free worksheet, too, so you can focus and follow along with each step of the series.
- Revisit your childhood – Think back to when you were little before the busy-ness of life, the need to make a living, took over. What did you want to be when you grew up? What did you love to play when you played make believe? Are you still interested in any of these activities? Do you do them now? Can you add them to your life?
- Slow down in your crazily busy life now – Do you fill your time with stuff? Do you go and go and go so that instead of taking time to feel joy and to know where your happiness is on the inside you ‘never have time’ for yourself? Take time for prayer and meditation. Ask God for direction. Trust what He tells you in your quietest moments.
- Make a creativity board (or like me, a Pinterest board) – Either on poster board or through Pinterest create a place where you can fill it with all of the things that bring a smile to your face. Cut out pictures from magazines or write in the words or Pin the images of all you love – families? God? Writing? Scrapbooking? Photography? Health and Fitness? Traveling? What things are on your board? These are where you’ll find your passion.
- Change Your Story – How do you identify yourself? Mother, wife, sister, friend? Teacher, accountant, retailer, doctor? Reader, runner, writer, tennis player? Are these identities how you want to be known? What else would you like to add to your list, to YOUR story? Who do you want to be? If there are any you don’t like, strike them out. Change your story. You have that control. It is okay to do that.
- Push Past Your Fear – We can’t offer to the rest of the world the best us if we’re too scared to change, if we’re too scared of judgment, if we’re too afraid we’ll fail. Each of us is an incredible being made in God’s image. When we know that, we can give ourselves permission to go after our dreams.
Use the free, printable worksheet to work through these tips and to help you discover what truly excites you, motivates you, and fills you with joy!
Come back next week to discover your strengths!