11 Ways To Find Your Passions

I hear a lot of people say that they don’t know what their passions are. Luckily, the answers are right around us in our daily lives. In most cases, we’ve already engaged with our passions at some point in life, but because it felt natural and/or we never declared it verbally, publicly, or in writing, we still feel unsure.

Passions are like magnets within us that attract certain people, information, and opportunities to us. Whether you’re aware of the magnet or not, it is still working for you. By naming your passion, you’ll see how accurate the magnet has been all of your life.  Our passions consumes us and we consume them.  So by examining what we’ve been consuming in regards to information and what has been consuming our time, we can discover what we’re passionate about.

We’re going to take a passion inventory of your life.  All it requires is a piece of paper folding in half the long way and a pen.  At the top of the left column write “PERSON/PLACE/THING” and at the top of the right column write “PASSIONS”.  Now go through as many of the short activities as you need to until you feel you starting to see some patterns among the related passions. Finally, choose the three that stand out the most and see if they resonate with you.

1. Friends

Since birds of a feather flock together, a great way to discover your passions is to start by listing all of your friends’ passions.  List your top 10 friends (usually those on speed dial) and then list two of their passions. I’m certain that you’ll see some commonalities among them all. If we look closely, we can see ourselves in others.  That’s part of what leads us to befriend people in the first place.  If you can’t think of their passions off the top of your head, go to the info section of their facebook profile and look at all of their interests.

Left Column: Friend’s Name
Right Column: Their Passions

2. 360 Degree Feedback

Sometimes are passions come so natural to us that we don’t even recognize them. There is a great tool called the “Superhero Survey” at PeerSupport.me that you can use to get 360-degree feedback from your friends to see what they think you’re passionate about. I guarantee that you won’t get “nothing” for an answer.  Our actions always communicate something to others.  PeerSupport.me provides the email template for you so it will literally take you less than 3 minutes to send out to your top 10 friends.

Left Column: Friend’s Name
Right Column: Passions Mentioned

3. First/Favorite Toy

Einstein’s father gave him a compass at age five, and he puzzled over the nature of a magnetic field for the rest of his life. On his sixth birthday Steve Irwin, The Crocodile Hunter, was given a 12-foot python.  These memorable toys shaped who these men later bacame. Think back on your first or favorite toy and ask yourself why you liked it so much. If you can’t remember, ask your parents.

Left Column: Toy Name
Right Column: Related Passions

4. Books & Magazines

Takeaway all the “required” readings and text books from school and then examine your book shelf and magazine collection. Since passionate people like to share their passions, you might have given them away.  Don’t fret.  Login to your Amazon.com account or wherever you buy your books from and review your order history.  Click on the books and take an inventory based on how Amazon categorizes them and see which category rises to the top.

Left Column:  Book or Magazine Name
Right Column: Related Passions

5. Movies & Television

What movies have you gone to see on the opening night or bought DVDs of?  What moved to you have to see it as soon as it came out or buy the DVD?  What was  general topic. For instance, I like The Matrix and V for Vendetta because they are about challenging the status quo and empowering individuals. Other movies in my queue are Coach Carter, Finding Forrester, and Lean On Me because they are about empowering the younger generation through informal education which is directly in line with my workd today. List all of the movies you’ve see premiere or have DVDs for and write a the potential passions associated with those movies.

Left Column: Movie or TV Show Name
Right Column: Related Passions

6. Employers & Organizations

Your time is your most valuable resource, so whenever you give it to something you don’t have to give it to, it says something about you.  List all of the organizations that you’ve worked for, been a member of, volunteered with, or donated to.  For instance, I worked with Management Leadership for Tomorrow because it tapped into my passions for public speaking and reaching millennials.  Someone else may work there for different reasons, but these were mine.  Consider the passions that drew you to the organization as opposed to just the passions of the organization.

Left Column: Organization Name
Right Column: Related Passions

7. Hobbies & Personal Projects

How do you spend your time after work or on weekends?  I’ve realized that even if people had a year to do whatever they wanted, many don’t know what they would do.  If you have any idea of how you would spend a year, it probably has something to do with your hobbies and personal projects that have been squeezed out by the demands of your job and life.  Take a moment to list all of your sports, hobbies, collections, and personal projects since childhood. One of my favorite things to do is make collages.  The related passions are organizing information and looking for good amongst garbage.

Left Column: Hobby or Project Name
Right Column: Related Passions

8. Causes/Problems

We can gain a lot of insight about what we love through examining what we hate.  If there were three social problems that you could erase from the world with one wish, what would they be?  What makes you cry when you hear about it, see it, or experience it?  Now consider the opposite of what it is that you hate and you may discover what you love. For example, I hate alcoholism and to me, the opposite would be spiritual-fulfillment.  I also hate irrelevant education and the opposite to me is purpose-filled and self education.

Left Column: Cause or Problem
Right Column: The Opposite

9. Online Communities & Websites

Nowadays we spend a lot of time online and are finding community there as well. It may be easier to find a supportive online community than it is to find a local one in your neighborhood. The types of communities we seek and subscribe to communicate a lot about what we’re passionate about.  List all of the websites that you have on your bookmark toolbar, that you’ve subscribed to newsletters for, or that you have login accounts with.  I subscribe to the Zen Habits blog because I am passionate about inspiration and inspiring others.

Left Column: Website Address
Right Column: Related Passions

10. Events

What’s the last event you bought a ticket for?  What was the purpose of the event?  Going out to an event can be a lot—buying tickets, coordinating friends, getting dressed, and traveling.  The ticket isn’t the only cost—there is also your time.  List all of the events, conferences, retreats, concerts, shows, exhibits, performances, readings, etc that you’ve been to over the past few years and ask yourself why. What drew me? Last year I went to the Landmark Forum because I’m passionate about self-transformation.

Left Column: Event Name
Right Column: Related Passions

11. Subjects of Interest

When you’re chilling with your friends, what do you tend to talk about a lot?  If you’ve ever visited TED.COM, you’ll see a variety of 20-minute talks by people who are passionate about many things.  Check them out and ask yourself “If I had a 20-minute presentaiton, what do I feel I could speak about passionately for that amount of time?  You can think about things like school subjects that interested you or conversations that you would eavsdrop on. If I ever heard someone mention the word “teleology” I would stop and listen.

Left Column: Subject
Right Column: Related Passions

Finally, visit squidoo.com to see what other people are passionate about a perhaps discover and/or share yours.