Do You Love your Life? (3 steps to finding your passion and purpose)

Passionate Surfer

“You don’t have to wait for something to come along, to land in your lap, to make itself known. You can create something from scratch, just the way you want it, from your own passionate imaginings.”  ~Barrie Davenport

Are you doing what you love to do? Do you wake up in the morning excited about the prospect of getting back to what fills your heart and moves you?

Or is life a grind?

Do you dread Mondays and thank God when it’s finally Friday? Are you trapped in a life that seems to have ambushed you? Do you daydream of a different life? Of someone else’s life?

Or maybe you’re feeling like there’s something missing, like your life is the equivalent of drinking watered-down milk at room temperature?

Passion Requires Action

What would you say (and more importantly, what would you DO) if I told you that you could start living a life of deep passion, doing what you love and loving what you do?

Would you be interested to know how?

Would you take action on it?

“We must act out passion before we can feel it.” ~Jean-Paul Sartre

Would you start to fill your life with more passion and purpose and meaning? Keep in mind that passion is not the product of wishing; it’s the product of doing.

That’s what divides the world, you know. There are those who wish and dream and never take their lives out of park.

Then there are those who figure out what they want, shift into gear and hit the gas.

Deep down, who do you yearn to be?

The Sadness of an Unlit Candle

Candle smoke

Candles are meant to be lit. They are created for the very purpose of giving light. Decorative candles that sit on shelves gathering dust, never doing what candles were meant to do, are a sad sight to me.

They remind me of people who place themselves on shelves and never light the wick of their own lives. A person’s life is meant to be lit too, filling life with light like candles fill rooms.

What is the flame in your life? Is it lit? Is there light and heat? Or has the wick of passion been allowed to go out?

“There is no passion to be found playing small – in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living. ~Nelson Mandela

Look at passion as though it were a living, breathing thing. If you feed it, it will grow and thrive and expand, filling your life with joy and happiness. If you don’t, it will eventually do what all living things do when they are not fed.

The saddest thing to me is to meet a musician who no longer plays music or a poet who has never written a poem or a dancer who never signed up for a class or put on dance shoes or walked onto a stage.

Unmet and undiscovered passions are flames that are never lit and happiness that is never realized.

The Passion of Purpose

So stop living life in neutral and start living with your foot on the gas. It doesn’t have to be pushed to the floor, just enough to move you forward and get your blood pumping a bit.

Light the flame of purposeful living. Don’t wait. Start filling your life with whatever meaning and passion it lacks.

Every day you don’t, you delay doing what you were created to do.

If you don’t know what excites you, that’s fine. Experiment! Pick something up and give it a try (artistic, expressive, athletic, entrepreneurial, technical, mechanic, spiritual, moral, developmental, whatever). If it doesn’t float your boat, set it down and try something else. If that doesn’t, try again.

“When you have a sense that your passion has meaning and impacts others in a positive way, it will energize and fulfill you more than you could ever expect.” ~Barrie Davenport

Choosing to fill your life with what makes your heart beat will transform it. You will be filled with more energy and love and excitement. You will be driven to do and create and discover. You will feel the warm blood of purpose course through your veins, adding meaning and value to your life. You will be happier, more fulfilled, more in love with the life you lead.

Does the prospect of a more passion-filled life excite you? Enough to do something about it?

3 Steps to a Passionate, Purpose-filled Life

1. Discover what makes you tick

So, what floats your boat? If you know, you know. But if you don’t, you may find yourself living in the shadow of relentless sameness, spinning wheels, going nowhere, unfulfilled, unexcited, frustrated, bored.

If that’s the case, start exploring possibilities. Try new things. Talk to new people about what they love. Read. Learn. Discover. Make a list of interests or even potential interests and see if something stands out. As you expose yourself to opportunities and look into what’s out there, dive head first into what moves you.

“Finding and living your passion isn’t a linear process. Sometimes you have to test and try various things before you find what really makes your heart sing.” ~ Barrie Davenport

It might be dance. It could be music. Perhaps it’s business or sales or working with your hands or movie production or foster care or graphic design or marketing or acting or politics or blogging or martial arts or the cause of happiness.

You’ll never know what gets you up and out of bed in the morning until you explore your possibilities.

I’ve tried sports, guitar and piano. I’ve worked with abused children, trained in three different martial arts and created two board games. I’ve tried my hand at writing a novel, drafting post cards, and teaching myself to paint with water colors so I could write and illustrate a children’s book. I’ve read over a thousand books on history, philosophy, religion, psychology, sociology, biography, politics, government, economics, management, leadership, happiness and other self-help topics. I’ve traveled and served and have made my life a grand experiment. I started teaching high school a decade ago.

Some of these experiments were, well, less than successful. Others have paid the bills. Some I’ve liked and others loved.

Then I stumbled onto blogging. And I knew I had found my passion. I love to write. And to write about topics that truly matter in ways that helps others fills me with a deep kind of satisfaction. I’ve enjoyed so much of my life, but now have something that drives me, that surges through me, that excites me. My whole life led me here. Without the trials and errors, and the attitude that produced them, there’s no way I would have ever attempted blogging.

2. Make a date with what you love to do

Make time for doing what moves you. It’s so easy to get caught up in the daily grind of doing all the things that have to get done, living paycheck to paycheck, always running, always behind, never really enjoying life, never having time to pursue your passion.

So schedule it! Calendar in park days, play dates, concerts, field trips to nature centers and how-to workshops and seminars. Schedule time to practice the flute or climb a mountain or paint or write or sing. Even if it’s only a few minutes here and there. Life is lived in the moments, so fill them with passion and your life will be more passionate.

You don’t have to get paid for it. You just have to do it. Set aside time when phones are turned off and email is ignored and purpose is fulfilled. Then as circumstances allow, stretch the moments.

3. Get help

Sometimes we have seemingly insurmountable obstacles that get in the way of pursuing new ideas and exploring possibilities. We tell ourselves it won’t work or that we wouldn’t be able to make it work even if in theory it otherwise would. We tell ourselves we’re too busy or it’s too expensive or we’re too old or too sick or lazy or tired or inadequate.

We fear taking that essential step and so we leave our lives unexplored, undiscovered, uncreated. We believe the lies we tell ourselves and so we stay in the shadow of our own lives. We leave the wick unlit. The purpose unsought. Passion unknown.

But that’s not what we’re all about. That’s not what life was created for. That’s not the life you were meant to live.

Sometimes we just need a good kick start. If that’s all you need to take a step toward the unmet passions of your life, that’s awesome! Go get to the work of building a life you’re deeply happy about living.

But if you need more–a push, some direction, help, a community, a mentor and coach, try my friend Barrie Davenport whose life work is helping people find and live their passions.

It can change your life in unbelievable ways.

Passionately.

And forever.

YOUR TURN!

What’s your passion? Have you found something (several things?) that gets you excited about life? How did you discover it? How are you using it?

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Photo by mikebaird and JR Guillaumin