Let’s chat about the questions you should NOT ask yourself if you’re trying to find your passion.
If you’re out there trying to find your passion, a new career, or business idea, then you’ve probably seen the standard “Ask yourself these questions to find your passion” list. A simple Google or Pinterest search will give you millions of hits of journal prompts that promise to help you narrow down your list.
But, there are a few questions I often see on these types of lists that I don’t find helpful at all, and sometimes, they’re downright painful to answer and think about. So, if you’re on the hunt to find your passion or fulfilling work, then stick around because this episode is for you!
Listen to the Podcast here
Psst.. before we dig in, I wanted to mention I have a free guide that will ask you questions that will actually help you narrow down your options, not to mention instructions that walk you through the same five steps I took when I was finding my passion and fulfilling work. Click the button below to grab your free copy!
1)What did you want to do when you were young? What did you like doing when you were young?
This question is probably one of my least favorite questions because it’s so unhelpful. If you’re a grown adult, chances are you’ve changed A LOT since you were a child. Do you know what I wanted to be when I grew up when I was six years old?
I wanted to be an FBI agent because I thought it would be cool. (I CLEARLY had no idea what FBI agents do in real life. All I knew was that they looked cool with their aviators and badges. It turns out; the sunglasses aren’t standard issue.) When I quit my career and had no idea where to go in life, looking at my past didn’t help me.
Let’s see, after wanting to be an FBI agent, it then was a veterinarian, a band director, a musicology professor then a professional flute player (I majored in music in college) then I wanted to go into fashion.
NONE of these things were interesting to me, nor did looking at them help me. It was about as helpful as thinking about my previous work experience. The whole point of looking for a NEW passion was because I didn’t want my past to limit me in what I could do in the future.
However, it’s not to say that reflecting on the past occasionally can’t help you if you want to find your passion. So instead of this question, try asking yourself this better question.
What to ask instead: What qualities did you want to have as an adult when you were young?
I LOVE talking about Core Values (or traits that make up who you fundamentally are). These are things about you that don’t generally change over your lifetime, even if your preferences and decisions do.
So, while thinking about being an FBI agent when I was an adult seemed like a joke, I thought about what could have been the reason why I was drawn to the idea. Even though I wanted to do that before my abusive stepfather coming into my life, I remember still thinking about what it would be like to be an agent after the abuse started. It doesn’t take much to see why right?
I few core values of mine are equality and justice, which is what I think being in law enforcement should be about. Then with being a veterinarian, I knew that wasn’t something I really wanted to (I am NOT great at math or science), but what I do have are compassion and empathy. Even though I dropped my music major in college and quit the fashion industry, I still loved the idea of expressing individuality and making a bold statement.
So, what do you get with justice, equality, compassion, empathy, individuality, and boldness? Well, lots of things! But the way that all came together for me was helping people build confidence in themselves and be brave enough to go after what’s important to them, even if it means they could fail.
What is it for you? What qualities did you want to see in your adult life as a child?
2)What would you do if money/time/resources weren’t an issue?
I used to ask myself this all the time. I would say, “Ugh, if only money weren’t a factor. I can’t do this because of money”. I always used to be a victim of my circumstances. I never had enough money or resources. I grew up on welfare in a trailer with no running water or heat. This would be the culprit of anything bad in my life and was the constant reminder of how life was unfair and that only the lucky got to do things they really loved doing.
These thoughts weren’t helpful. So, when I asked myself, what would I do if resources weren’t an issue, I never got useful answers. This question stopped me in my tracks from taking real action that would help me find my passion. I’d answer with something that sounded good, then promptly reminded myself of how impossible it was.
Thinking this takes all your power away from you and tells you that you can’t have what you want unless the stars align just right. It’s always making you think that there IS an issue in your life and that something outside of you would be the reason you couldn’t find your passion.
What to ask yourself instead: What would you do that even if you never made any money that you would be proud that you did?
When I first started my coaching business, I didn’t make any money for almost two years. In that timeframe, I quit my career and stepped down into a position that paid practically a third of what I was making, and I went to work under my previous colleague. I would have never been able to keep up with that for so long if I didn’t think what I was doing was important.
I needed to take action on something bigger than just paying the bills or letting me set my schedule. I needed something that would feel like I was working towards something more significant. Something when I looked back on my life, I knew I’d look back and be proud of working towards it.
Working towards a stable paycheck and benefits was not something that I wanted to be the majority of my life. I wanted to say that I cared about something more than just paying the bills.
What is something that you’d look back on your life and be proud of? Even if you didn’t get any money or recognition for it?
3)What could you do every day that you’d love, and it not feel like work?
The problem with this question is that it assumes that there is one perfect thing you’d love doing that there would NEVER be a bad day. This creates such an unnecessary pressure. I’ll be real; there are days where even laying on the couch and watching TV can feel like work.
Something that you have passion for is something that you’re willing to spend time, resources, and energy on. It’s going to require at least some level of brainpower for you to bring to life. And since you’re burning energy, there’s going to be days when you don’t feel like it. It’s not your passions job to make everyday easy.
That’s a distinct part of being a human. If we really were “high vibe” all the time, then we’d NEVER actually be in high vibe. It’d all be the same vibe if there was no variation in how we feel.
You know what they say, you can’t have the good without the bad. Otherwise, everything would just be neutral. No one really wants neutral. Neutral is the opposite of passion.
So, it’s an unfair position to put your passion in. It’s just like with a relationship; it’s not fair to make your partner 100% accountable for your happiness and expect your relationship to go 100% smoothly all the time. The same goes for something you’re passionate about, don’t put all that unnecessary pressure on you OR it. Doing that doesn’t do you any good.
What to ask instead: What would be something that you’d NEVER be able to quit on the best day?
This is a question I love to ask when I help clients when they say they want to quit their job. It’s so easy to daydream about quitting when it’s hard, or especially when you’re in the process of building a business and not seeing the results you want yet. That’s why I always talk about fueling your motivation for your business or new career path at your dream job with purpose instead of money, time, etc.
But what about the best possible day of your new passion, regardless of it’s a new biz, a new career, or a creative project? Can you imagine yourself quitting if you got everything you wanted from it? All the fulfillment, revenue, benefits, friendly coworkers, or whatever it is you genuinely desire from your passion in life?
This is such an interesting question because this dives deeper into what you really want instead of thinking about how to avoid feeling the loss of motivation. Because I’ll let you in on the truth, anything in life that you genuinely want will take some of your energy. It’ll make you take risks and not always know the outcome. Passions aren’t a safe option, but comfort is. So, if you want to avoid a day when you feel like you’re working, then I would ask yourself what you truly want.
What about you?
When you’re doing anything self-discovery related, it’s so important to be able to uncover what’s true about you, and asking the right questions is the fastest way to doing so. When you do, all you have to do is be sure to ask questions that can fuel you and propel you forward instead of focusing on what the past or what you DON’T have.
So, if you want to get started on that journey, then I highly recommend that you.
P.S. If you’re ready to start bringing your dreams to life and finally get over the negative self-talk stopping you, then we need to chat! I’m offering a free 1-on-1 virtual call to help you define your goals, pinpoint what’s *actually* stopping you from getting them and what steps you NEED to take to make them a reality. I can’t WAIT to talk to you then!