We’ve heard the cliche in movies where the person breaks up with their partner using the line “you don’t love me, you love the idea of me.”
I hope you’ve never heard that in real life.
It fits right now though.
I’m not breaking up with you; I’m telling you that some of your passions…you don’t love them.
You just love the idea of them.
I struggle with this a lot, myself.
I’ve been trying to figure out who I am for some time now.
I tried so many different things but I always stopped when things got too hard.
I used an excuse, like, when I got my degree in video game design.
It’s a tough industry to get in to, and there are lots of things I did wrong.
The excuse I used was that it’s too hard to make games alone.
Sometimes, it’s a strength.
In episode 5 of the No Alarms Club podcast we talked about harnessing our stubbornness.
We talked about learning the difference between what we should be stubborn enough to keep pursuing.
We talked about knowing when to call it quits.
The reality is there will always be parts of our passion we don’t like
To know when you’re really passionate about something, you’ll be willing to push through those times.
I wasn’t passionate enough about video game design to push through the difficulties.
The best thing to do is allow yourself to enter into what Sean calls an exploratory phase.
I did this for several years myself.
It feels like you’re not getting anywhere, but you are. I promise.
Do things. Make mistakes. Try something. Push yourself until you meet an obstacle and you want to give up.
Push through that obstacle. Or don’t.
If you don’t, it’s not the thing to be passionate about.
If you’re like me and you have had a huge list of “passions” this is really what works.
But if you’re struggling to find anything you’re passionate about, because nothing seems to stick, Sean says to pick two categories that interest you and put them together.
One example he uses is logic and creativity.
Those two things together make a good musician, a good programmer, a good engineer.
You can also take a look at things you’ve done in the past and enjoyed.
Maybe in college you took a throw-away elective just to get some credits and ended up really enjoying it.
We’ll worry about the money later.
We need to figure out the passion first.
Check out some of your hobbies. Things you do without getting paid.
Sometimes those things should just stay as hobbies. Other times, they may be your passion to pursue.
For example, I love making music, but when I try to do it in a professional capacity I lose my joy.
I have a ton of fun when I keep it as a hobby and don’t worry about marketing or business or anything like that.
Music is something that needs to stay a hobby for me.
The last tip Sean shares to help you find your passion is to ask people around you what you’re good at.
Sean points out that the important part is what others think you’re good at.
You might think you’re good at something, and maybe you are, but if other people don’t know or don’t think so, they won’t pay you for it.
Ask people who are close to you what you’re good at and see how you feel about pursuing those things.
Maybe combine a couple to create something unique.
The most important thing to remember right now is that you don’t have to do one thing forever.
It’s highly unlikely you will.
Whatever you start pursuing now, whether it works out or not, is not a waste of time.
For example, despite my desire to exit a career in digital marketing that spans almost a decade and a half, all of those skills are paramount to my future success.
I will never worry about being successful because I know how to market whatever it is I’m doing.
I learned management skills from past jobs.
My current day job as Communications Director has taught me a lot about working both in-person and digital events.
Everything you’re doing, even the pursuits you feel like you failed at, are teaching something to you.
You just might not realize it until later.