Thank you for all the lovely emails about this series on finding your passion. It's such a common quest and having a few new tools and strategies to implement really does make all the difference. As is famously attributed to Albert Einstein: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results", so if you have been wrestling with this question for years, it's clearly not working. Time for a new approach.
Let's talk about the journey, not the destination. Such a life-coaching cliche I know but sometimes cliches are a cliche for a reason, and when applying it to the quest to connect with your passion, understanding the difference between journey and destination can be the key to unlocking where your passion is hidden.
When we become fixated on the end result of identifying our passion it can make it harder to find. It becomes so far away and obscured that we lose our navigational senses. Imagine that you were trying to drive from your house, to a place 200km away you had never been to before. You know it's roughly in the direction of Wellington, but you have no idea where it is. Would you just jump in the car, no sat nav, no Google maps, no advance heads-up on location, no directions from a mate and just hope you magically ended up at the right place? Of course not. You'd get an idea of where you were going, follow the sat nav on the way; if there was an unexpected diversion you would follow the signs (you wouldn't turn round and go home), and you would eventually get there. You'd know you would find it. Eventually you would get there - you wouldn't give up or think it didn't exist: you'd just keep moving closer and closer until it came into view.
Finding your passion is a lot like this. Unless you are one of those people who have always known your passion, you need to focus far harder on the journey than the destination itself. Trust you will get there - the key thing being to set out on your journey and start moving in that general direction. Know that the next step will reveal itself, like the next right-hand turn, when it's time.
If you keep following the journey of the next right thing then eventually you will arrive. It's literally that simple. It's about seeing that the route to your destination is following the next step that feels like it's going in the right direction - a training course that takes your fancy, a networking event you haven't been to before, connecting with an old friend on Facebook, having a coffee and chatting about what they do and why they love it.
It can be anything that leads you forwards on the path. Know that the next step after will then start to become obvious - to have that conversation with your boss, to volunteer at the weekend in an area that lights you up, to get that book out of the library.
Sometimes you just need to meander in the right direction and not expect the whole thing to be revealed in one go. You just need to set out and follow your nose (or in this case your heart).
Put as much passion into the journey as you can; relinquish the ultimate destination and concentrate on following whatever the right next thing is that feels interesting.
Enjoy the scenery on the way. Be curious. And just take the next step.
The destination of Passion Central will reveal itself faster than you can imagine if you keep moving forwards.
Through her online Happiness programme "Wellbeing Warriors", life coach Louise Thompson helps people unlock their happiest and healthiest life. Sign up at louisethompson.com and find more from Louise at bite.co.nz/wellbeing.