Think about your life now… all of it… though you might find some examples of your passions in the work you do, don’t just focus on work/career. Passions permeate our lives and we use them in many different ways. Sometimes we find that we aren’t bringing them to our work/career, but are bringing them to other areas of our lives.
· What am I doing when I’m happiest?
· What do I know I'm really good at?
· What am I doing when I provide value?
· What am I doing when I'm at my absolute best (when I’m providing value, happy, feeling good about my intent and the outcome, challenging myself, and growing)?
· What have I learned from my experiences thus far?
· What am I an expert in? Don't focus on knowledge like text book stuff. Focus on life experience expertise. For example, being an expert in what it's like to… manage lots of details effectively, lead people, travel, teach, learn, transform, connect with others, handle conflict, solve problems, win, lose, etc…
· Look at the lists above and consider the following
o Ask what… what am I really doing? For example, if an answer is helping people who are ill, what are you really doing? Are you helping them get better, keep a positive mental attitude, or have a better quality of life? Be specific… the specifics reveal a lot!
o Ask why… why am I passionate about doing this thing?
§ Example, if a person is passionate about working with numbers, why? Some potential answers could be that numbers help solve problems and numbers help develop deep understanding. Keep asking why until you get to what’s really driving you.
§ Going back to the first example… if a person is passionate about helping people who are ill get better, some potential whys are problem solving and love for others. These are very different and knowing the why will lead to true passions and knowing what drives a life of fulfillment. (By the way, I’m not suggesting that a problem solver doesn’t love people… problem solving is just the primary driver!)
o What are the common themes? Look for ways your answers are connected to each other. For example, a person who loves coaching kids’ sports, mentoring employees at work, and teaching photography workshops, could be passionate about teaching, connecting, and/or transforming.