Too often, people are caught up in a life or occupation that they’re simply not passionate about. For whatever reason, they wind up doing or being something that they just don’t love in an effort to keep the lights on, so to speak.
But, in today’s interconnected society, finding and doing something that you’re passionate about in life is far simpler than it was just a decade or so ago. Today, we can hop online through any means available to us, and connect with someone halfway around the world, instantaneously.
If you’re not doing what you’re passionate about in life at this very moment, and you feel like you’re caught up in a life that you no longer want to lead, you’re not alone. Many people are stuck in the rat race, unable to get ahead, trapped in a pursuit that they wake up dreading every day.
However, finding your passion in life, and actually living it, isn’t too difficult. But it does require some sweat equity on your part. In fact, if you follow a few simple steps, you can take something that you love doing and turn it into an occupation. Even if you haven’t found your passion in life, you can use the steps outlined in this guide to uncover what that is, then pursue it tirelessly.
Still, this isn’t for the faint of heart. Pursuing your passion often takes some sacrifice. It means short-term pain in order to sustain long-term gain. But, if you’re willing to deal with the failures and setbacks that might come along with finding and pursuing your passion in life, then you’re in for a lifetime of enjoyment.
Not everyone gets to wake up in the morning with full and complete energy, excited and juiced for the day ahead. But, when you’re doing what you love for a living, that’s precisely what happens. In the process, it might just afford you more free time to take care of other things that might go neglected on a day-to-day basis.
While having extra time is no guarantee when pursuing your passion in life, it might just be a byproduct depending on how productive you are when you’re doing something that you absolutely love to do on a daily basis.
So, how does this work exactly? How can you identify and even pursue your passion in life?
Step #1 — Build a Rainy-Day Fund
While many people write about finding your passion in life, the truth of the matter is that you can’t pursue what you’re passionate about until you’re financially sound and have a rainy-day fund. This means that you’ve saved up at least 6 months worth of savings to support you in the case you have no income during that period.
If you try to quit your full-time job without any sort of fallback plan, the stress and anxiety can build quickly from one month to the next. After that, fears set in, and it’s game over. It’s hard to focus on something you love and you’re passionate about when you’re worried about survival.
The survival instinct is strong. We will do whatever it takes to survive, and that includes financial survival. Ultimately, your mind will find a way but it won’t happen overnight, which is why you need a rainy-day fund.
Here are a few ways to build your rainy day fund:
- Open up a separate savings account at a different financial institution than you normally use for your day-to-day spending. For example, if you have a checking account at one bank, open up your savings account for your rainy-day fund at a new bank and don’t request any debit or credit cards for that account or from that bank.
- Cancel any unused memberships. From gym memberships that go unused to anything else you can think of, cancel them all. Take the money that was going towards those memberships every month and reroute that money to your new savings account. Setup an automatic transfer that will go out at the same time the old charges used to go through.
- Re-route spending on bad habits. To continue building your rainy-day fund, you’ll need to re-route some of your old spending by quitting bad habits and funneling that money into your rainy day fund. For example, if you spend $10 at Starbucks every day or you buy an expensive lunch, make your coffee at home and prepare your lunch before you head to work. You can even buy inexpensive to-go coffee cups at a big supermarket so you can feel like you just purchased a pricey coffee if you have to. Funnel all the money saved to your rainy-day fund.
- Down-size transportation costs. Sometimes, when gas prices are high, it can get very costly commuting to and from work. If you’re driving a gas-guzzler, calculate the amount of money you’re spending on gas and transportation every day and consider other options. You could join a carpool or take public transportation in order to decrease your costs. This doesn’t make sense in all regions, but does for some. The money saved can all go directly into your rainy-day fund.
Step #2 — Brainstorm
Once you’re on the road to building up that 6-month rainy-day fund, it’s time to brainstorm. It’s time to get curious about what you want to do with your life. Grab a sheet of paper and start writing using the stream-of-consciousness technique.
What are the things that you truly love in life? Don’t worry so much about formalities or making sure that it fits in a neat little box. The possibilities are limitless and this is more about what you’re passionate about than anything else.
Not sure where to start? Think about what you’ve been interested in the past. What were your interests? Maybe it was a class you took in school that had peaked your interest, or maybe it was an article you read about a particular place in the world.
Do you love travel? Maybe it’s a love of food? What about entertainment? Cars? Magazines? Writing, even? Think all the way back to your childhood if you have to. Go ahead and start writing those on the sheet of paper and circling the ones you were most interested in.
From there, start drawing lines out to subcategories. If you were interested in travel at one point, what was it about travel that interested you so much? What about it interests you today? Maybe it’s the opportunity to explore. Maybe it’s the basic human need for variety or uncertainty in your life that comes with traveling.
This doesn’t mean that you’re going to travel for a living. It just means that you’re narrowing down your interest so that you start focusing on that area.
Take as much time brainstorming as possible, and find something you truly love to do. You’ll find so much solace in this exercise.
Step #3 — Set Goals
Much of stepping out on your own has to do with fulfilling step #1. You need something to fall back on. But, before that’s even in place, you need to set some goals. What will you do with your life? Where will you live? How will you spend your time?
Finding your passion in life means waking up in the morning with the drive and determination to get things done without someone behind you telling you what to do. It requires self-discipline and a desire to achieve more than what we would generally be expected to achieve.
Set a goal for what you want in life and make sure that goal is strong enough, and the meaning is deep enough so that it will propel you forward. When we lack a deep enough meaning for our goals, we’re far less likely to follow through. Eventually, we end up giving up, finding one excuse or another when we lack a deep-enough meaning to achieve something.
Think about it in your past. Didn’t you do anything in your power to achieve something that meant so much to you? It didn’t matter what odds were stacked up against you, or who said that you couldn’t do or achieve it. You did it anyhow because it meant enough to you.
And, when you set your goals, be sure that you’re specific about them. Go into detail on every last aspect of the goal so that you can envision it. Ensure you do this on paper, and not in your head. You’re less likely to follow through on goals you set in your head, that’s why you need to put pen to paper.
Also, make sure that you have an exact date on when you’ll achieve that goal. For example, if you’re going to quit your full-time job, pick an exact date on when that will happen. If you’re going to incorporate your business or setup a Website, pick dates on when those things will happen by.
Step #4 — Create a Plan
Stepping out on your own, finding your passion in life, and really going out there and doing it, involve some legwork on your part. Unfortunately, most people just can’t throw caution to the wind. They have bills and obligations, while some have families to care for. For that and many other reasons, you need a plan.
No goal can be fulfilled without a plan. At the outset, you need to create a roadmap for your life that will map you from where you are to where you want to be. The plan will help you to fulfill your goals. Even if you don’t know every step you’re going to take, you need a general direction of travel.
This is where you need to take your ideas and turn them into a reality. If you decided that you loved food and you wanted to do something related to food, now is the time to plan. What are you going to do? Will you cook? Will you launch a meal delivery service? Will you consult? How will you fulfill your passion?
If you said you love to travel, write, or do anything else, find out how you’re going to fulfill that dream. Anything is possible as long as you can first envision it and then plan for it. While the plan might change along the way, having a plan is still an important part of the process.
Step #5 — Take Massive Action
Yes, you’ve likely heard it before. You need to put your plan into place by taking massive action. Just having a goal and creating a plan are not enough. You need to enact that plan by taking massive action on a daily basis. While it might sound very cliche, no words are truer.
The best way to take action and to ensure that you get things done, is to tackle the Most Important Tasks (MITs) of the day first, when you’re still fresh, before you get winded and tired. With MITs, you’ll make the biggest amount of progress in a shorter amount of time, allowing you to build some momentum.
In time management, these are also called the Quadrant 2 activities, or the important but not urgent ones. These are the activities that will give you the most long-term benefits towards your goals, no matter how far out there they might be.
Of course, it’s not enough to just take action blindly. You need to measure and track your results while pushing towards your goals. If something isn’t working, your daily and weekly analysis should help to uncover that. Then, you’ll need to make changes where you see fit.
Step #6 — Stay Persistent
Never give up, that’s the saying, isn’t it? It’s likely that you might fail a few times while pursuing your passion. Maybe you won’t. If you have a solid plan in place and your rainy-day fund is set, then failure will be more difficult, especially if you’re determined.
Just realize that there will be hard days. There will be days when you’re filled with stress, anxiety, and fear. There will be days when you want to rip your hair out. But take things in perspective and be persistent. As Lao Tzu once said, “A journey of a thousand miles, begins with a single step.”
Find a way to stay inspired when you do feel down. Create an inspiration board in your home or home office, somewhere you can see it every day. Pin up photos, quotes, and stories that inspire you and make you want to live out the life of your dreams. When we can see others achieving what we want, we know that it’s within reach.
Remember that anything worthwhile isn’t going to come easy. Finding your passion in life, and living it out every single day by doing what you love to do, is a dream held by many, but fulfilled by few. But, as long as you don’t give up, over time, you can make your dreams come true. It just won’t happen overnight.