Updated date:

How to Find Your Passion

Tagg Martensen is a life coach and entrepreneur dedicated to helping others live their dreams.

Find Your Passion, Finding Yourself Or Creating Yourself?

It is inspiring to see someone who is passionate about something. To see someone who truly cares about fixing cars or bringing clean water to those without or fly fishing or scrapbooking it makes even neophytes to these activities get a little excited.

How amazing must this thing be for this person to be so excited about it?

It can also lead us to questioning ourselves as to why we don't have a passion. Why don't we feel that same spark? Is this the thing holding us back from happiness?

Some people do seem to be born with a passion. For most, however, it is a process of finding and creating. It is also not something we do in a vacuum. We seek our new passions any time we are pursuing our own happiness.

My friend Kevin

Let me start off by telling you about a friend of mine named Kevin. We went to high school together. For years, I envied Kevin. Starting with our freshman year, everyone began seriously considering what they wanted to do post-graduation. I changed potential career paths more often than I changed my undershirts. Not Kevin.

Kevin knew from the time he was 12 that he wanted to be a pilot. He was unwavering in his passion for flying. By our junior year, he was well on his way to earning his private pilot certificate. By the time we graduated, he would have his instrument rating and would begin training as a flight instructor.

There was never a doubt in his mind that he would be flying and he was terribly uncomfortable any day he wasn't flying. It wasn't a big shock for anyone, then, when Kevin took a job as a baggage handler to fund his flight lessons. Even less of a surprise when he graduated from college with a degree in aviation management. And still less of a surprise when he landed his first job as a pilot at 22.

I envied Kevin because I didn't have his passion. Not even close. I was basing my college choices, career aspirations and life goals on things like return on investment (ROI). I didn't want to walk through life with six figure debt and my earnings capped at $35,000 as seemed to be the case with certain career paths.

For me, this meant that I was constantly chasing moving targets and having a hard time focusing. Years later, I would sit down with Kevin where he would reveal that his laser focus forced him to make some bad decisions that he could have avoided had he broader outlook of his life and career.

The lesson for me? Passion is great. Passion can also be blinding. The key to a happy life is to pursue happiness.

Stop Seeking Approval - Establish Your Values

When I was in high school I thought the only way to get people to like me was to adjust to the opinions around me. Everyone starts making fun of that one kid? I should too. Everyone talking about the basketball game? I should too.

I based many decisions on how I thought others might perceive them. Everything from not attending events because I worried others might not think they were cool to what I ate. I was interested in yoga from the time I was 16. Though, growing up in a largely working class town, I worried that if I pursued it I might be ridiculed. So I didn't pursue it for years.

In doing so, I set aside my interests and wants for the benefit of others. While there is a time to be selfless this is not one of those situations. Nobody asked me to conform to their way of thinking. I made that decision thinking it would make me more popular.

Sit down and think about your core values. What matters the most to you?

For me, one of my core values is to be a builder and not a destroyer. That means building people up and not tearing them down. That means dreaming of creating something new rather than breaking something that already exists.

Every interaction I have I weigh against this, and other, values I hold dear. Are the words I'm speaking going to build or destroy? Will this project result in a new thing being created or something old being destroyed?

Work out your own values and practice living by them. You'll find that even if some people around you are turned off by this essence of who you are, you'll find that you enjoy your own company a bit more and can move through life with greater confidence.

Being Happy While Single - Or Not!

So often I hear people say "I'm just so alone! If only I could find a partner then I would have a beautiful happy life to share with someone else!"

This is some cart before the horse business. While a new romance can be thrilling you likely won't find your fulfillment in another person. The happiest and most well adjusted people are confident and know that they, themselves, are enough. That confidence puts them into a strong position if they choose to share their life with a partner. Otherwise, they are poised well for a happy and fulfilling life without being engaged in a long term relationship.

Being alone does not mean being lonely. Being with someone doesn't guarantee that you won't feel lonely, either. This doesn't just extend to romance. It's better to have a small group of close friends, maybe even just one, rather than a whole gaggle of superficial acquaintances with whom you never forge a strong connection.

You have to be comfortable in your own skin. You have to be able to enjoy your own company before you can share your time and space with others.

Pursuing a Happy Life

It sounds too simple, doesn't it? Just pursue happiness. How does this help? How will this help me in finding my passion?

Kevin didn't start out passionate for planes. He started pursuing planes because being near them and seeing them made him happy. The more he was around them, the happier he got and the more he wanted to learn about them.

Finding your passion starts with the pursuit of happiness. You have to be committed to learning new things, exploring new ideas and breaking free from whatever may be holding you back.

Sometimes I find that I'm feeling a bit down. Then I'll look at all of the places, often within driving distance, I keep saying I will visit one day. It might be a historical site or a museum. Maybe just a store that you enjoy. When I'm feeling down I'll take a road trip at the next availability. Even if the thing isn't that impressive, I'll find that the trip itself is liberating. The trip is a deliberate act in the pursuit of happiness.

From those simple pursuits many of my passions have received their first spark.

Some of my passions, however, may not be the same ones you find inspiring. Take your time, do what makes you happy and you will find your passion.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2019 Tagg Martensen