I’ve spent probably 20 years looking for my “passion”, with absolutely no luck. For the past 10 of those years, after I started doing some personal growth work, I became even more obsessed with trying to find what makes me “passionate.” After all, the personal growth authors and speakers all say the same thing:
“Do what you’re passionate about, and the success will follow.”
So I took this to heart, and started exploring every avenue I could think of to find this mysterious thing called passion. And, I’ve been met with disappointment time and time again. Simply because, I could think of nothing that I was passionate about!
Every time I thought I found my passion, and put my time, money and effort into it, I lost interest in it a couple of months or so later. Or, it didn’t drive me like I thought a passion should. When I would begin a pursuit, I would say things to myself like, “Yes, this is it! This is what I love doing. I could be happy doing this for the rest of my life, whether I make money or not.”
But a few weeks after ‘doing it’, I’d start procrastinating. I’d stop contributing to those areas in my life. Until finally, I stopped pursuing my “passion” altogether. Then maybe a year would go by, and I’d get motivated again. I’d watch or read some other wealthy guru talk about ‘following your passion.”
“Alright! That guy really knows me. He must know what he’s talking about. If he is telling me that I’ll be happy if I just go out and find my passion, and follow it to the end of the earth, then hell yeah, I’m gonna do it!”
And I would start the process all over again, taking the steps towards yet another passion that would eventually fizzle into a complete lack of interest. Pretty soon, I was asking myself: “What the hell is wrong with me? Am I just one of those people that is simply not passionate about anything in life? Am I just too passive to be passionate?”
These questions haunted me for a long time. So much so that I simply gave up searching for that mysterious passion everyone is supposed to have. I felt like I was one of those people whose true purpose in life was to act as an example of failure so that others wouldn’t follow in my footsteps. After all, someone has to be that person!
With no passion on the horizon, I just gave up. I figured if I couldn’t find what really motivated me, what really drove me to spend all my time doing the one thing I loved doing every day, then I would just focus on making money. Passionate or not, I was at least going to make some money damn it!
And, with the same fervor and tenacity, I pursued money just like I pursued my passion previously.
We’re always told, “Don’t focus on the money”, but after focusing on everything else, I was getting kind of tired of that saying. Mainly because I was tired of being so fricken broke! And I was also getting tired of failing, and watching year after year pass by, hoping that the next year would be the year that changes everything.
So I thought, “OK, from now on, I’m going to do whatever I can to make as much money as possible.” I started looking for the highest paying jobs I could find that fit my qualifications. What I ended up finding was not full time work, but instead, short term projects through staffing companies.
This turned out to be a resourceful path to take, because I didn’t realize how many companies out there were willing to pay well for go-getters like me. Sure, I would get short 1 or 2 month gigs here and there, but sometimes I’d land a long term project (I have an IT background, so I was looking for computer gigs). And most of the work assigned to me was fun! I got paid to travel, eat, and experience new places. Pretty cool. I could certainly get used to this!
Soon, I was making quite a bit of money. I never hit 6 figures a year, but I was able to save enough of it to get my wife and I out of the line at the soup kitchen (that’s another story for another time), and into a more comfortable environment.
So, for a few years, that’s all I did. I would grab short and long-term projects through staffing companies. It’s been an enjoyable, and moderately successful ride.
But wait, could this be… my passion? Is this what I’ve been searching for, for the last 20 years?
In a word: No.
This is not the passion I’ve been searching for, but the projects I worked on did lead me to the answers I’ve been seeking all this time. I think of how the personal growth gurus tell you not to pursue the money. They say, ‘if you pursue the money, you may get rich, but you won’t be happy.’
But if that’s the case, why am I so happy in my pursuit of the money!?
It wasn’t until I opposed the advice of the “experts” that doors started opening for me. I decided to walk any road that felt right to me. And by doing that, my passion eventually revealed itself. I chose to pursue money, and what I got was more than I ever expected. I didn’t pursue my passion, I pursued what I believed I needed most. And that journey helped to uncover what made me feel most alive inside.
There’s more to this story if you’re interested in exactly how you can become clear on what your passion is…