I’ve spent many years reading everything there is to know about finding your passion and following your heart (I even wrote a book with that title), and every other motivational thing about doing what you love.
Everyone is meant to know what they’re passionate about. Right? You hear about the woman who wins a major literary prize and says she’s been writing since she was four. Or the boy who started sailing at the age of 8 and went onto reverse circumnavigate the globe in an Esky, twice. Or the Grandma who threw it all in and went to India to start her own orphanage for cats.
But I’m going to share a secret with you. Most of the time those stories left me feeling even more lost and disillusioned than before I read them. It seemed I was missing one vital ingredient that the whole passion thing required.
I’d always secretly hoped that finding my passion would help me escape dead end jobs and situations that made me feel trapped and bored. But when I realised I didn’t have a bloody clue what would get my blood racing and inspire me to throw caution to the wind and chase down my dreams, I was left back at square one. In my case an office.
I’ve never known what I’m passionate about, or what my life purpose was. In fact, I’ve never known what I wanted to do with my life. Ever.
I never planned on being a writer. I never set out to become a children’s author or an illustrator. I never ever thought I’d have a 20 plus year career as a copywriter. I never dreamed I’d run my own business or stand up in front of people and give talks and workshops. I never planned any of it.
I’m so glad it all happened that way though, and I know what the key ingredient was.
It wasn’t passion.
It was curiosity. I followed my curiosity.
I’d always being curious about the afterlife and the paranormal. So in 2010 I started to document my journey to find personal evidence of life after death. I then wrote two nonfiction books, two illustrated books and then two kids’ books followed in quick succession. The journey led me to discover new insights about life, love and how we live our lives. I found myself visiting primary schools talking about self esteem and resilience, giving talks at writer’s festivals and running workshops about creativity and how to get published.
It started from simply being curious.
Following my curiosity had a sense of lightness about it.
And no sense of urgency.
You too can follow it at your own pace and see where it leads.
Curiosity creates opportunity for adventure, to discover places you’d never thought you would go, and do things you’d never dream of doing. Curiosity leads to discovery.
For me, passion is about certainty. Knowing what you want and then going for it. However, what if it doesn’t live up to your expectations? What if that orphanage idea turned out to be the worst thing since sailing around the world backwards in an Esky? What if you reach your dreams, then what? What happens next? You set another one and chase that. You spend your life constantly chasing dreams, trying to find your life purpose. Always on the run. It doesn’t leave much room for discovery, wonderment and the magic of trusting not knowing where you’re going. You don’t get to be guided by the mystery of life.
But if that’s your gig, then chase those goddam dreams like your life depended on it.
If you’re like me however and have no idea what your passion is, then follow your curiosity.
What am I curious about?
What piques my interest?
How can I discover more?
What can I learn?
Who can I talk to about it?
Take that first step and trust the journey. I did, and my life is so much richer for it.
But have a I found my passion?
Through the unfolding of my own journey, I’ve discovered one thing I know I’m now passionate about. It’s letting people know, that they are enough, they are loved and they have the right to express yourself creatively.
What will you discover when you follow your curiosity?
How will your life change? Will you suddenly get the breeze at your back and sail out of that all too safe and boring harbour? I feel an adventure is calling, and I think you can hear it too.