Finding your passion is a hot topic this year. And so many people I talk to are starting to wonder, does finding your passion exist? Is it a myth?
The short answer is no and yes, respectively.
Earlier this year, I had a client come to me distraught because she was turning 30 and had no idea what her passion was. She had been trying to find it―even changed jobs several times in the past five years―and every time, she was disappointed. Her question: “Is this normal?”
I could totally relate to her question. I’ve wondered and stressed and obsessed about my passion. I’ve spent most of my adult life feeling unsure about it. I was interested in so many things, and my career was anything but cohesive. I worried that there was something wrong with me.
So is this normal? Yes. Totally normal.
On the other hand, current research indicates that passion isn’t a fixed interest. Passion is ever-changing and evolving as we grow and mature. It’s fluid, not stagnant, according to a Stanford research paper.
In my own life, I’m starting to notice this to be true. The things I was passionate about in my teens are, for the most part, no longer a daily part of my life. Same goes for my 20s. Sure, I may have always loved baking and crafting, but the way I appreciate those things today looks different than it did five, 10 or 15 years ago.
Do you see that in your life, too?
Here’s the catch. I didn’t “find my passion.” But I have developed passions around a multitude of topics, ideas, hobbies and activities.
Finding something requires a search with a fixed destination. Developing something requires flexibility, fluidity and room for shifts or growth.
When I stopped trying so darn hard to find my one, true passion that I could shape my life around, I discovered the beauty of multi-pursuits of multi-passions. And here’s the catch: Not every one of them will designate a career change. In fact, building a job around one of your passions may lead to only fleeting happiness. Because passions are fluid, it may not be the right fit for the long term.
I’m passionate about multiple things. I don’t have one passion that I am trying to pinpoint. The things I enjoy doing and pursuing can shift on a daily basis.
But I definitely have a few topics that light me up more than others. These things are more abstract… They are in constant development. I didn’t find them one day, snap my fingers, and voila! My passion problem was fixed. No, that’s not how it goes.
The passions that I’ve been able to incorporate into a career are things like teaching others how to find their personal forms of success. Developing strategic marketing plans. Having meaningful conversations with peers about big ideas.
When people ask me questions about finding their passion, I understand that it can turn into this frustrating, wild goose chase. But instead of fixating on finding it, consider the things that light you up and make you excited or happy right now. How can you develop and prioritize those interests, perhaps even utilizing a rendition of one of them in your career?
The best part of this is that you don’t need another degree to find a job you feel passionate about… Unless your passion is, oh I don’t know, brain surgery or lawyery things. It’s all about having a growth mindset. If you can see passion as something that ebbs and flows, then you’ll understand that you can have many passions in many stages.
I get fired up when I talk about the things that are wrong with the pursuit of passion because it looks different for everyone. The one thing that is the same is that it is a constant process. No one reaches “the end.”
So where does this leave us?
Embrace that journey. Keep investigating your passions, each one of them. When you do, you’ll be able to let go of expecting to “find” something to make you happy and, instead, be able to find some happiness in this moment, right here.