Finding your passion and purpose in life.
We all ask this question at some point in our lives.
How do you find your passion?
How do you find your purpose?
These are truly life-defining questions.
But discovering the answers isn’t always an easy process.
In this post, you’re going to learn how to find your passion and purpose in 12 easy-to-follow steps.
If you commit yourself to this process and strive to maintain an intentional mindset, you’ll doubtlessly find the answers you’re seeking.
Let’s get into it and explain how it’s done.
But first, let’s define the terms.
Passion is defined as a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.
The best way to define purpose is to say that it’s the reason for which something is done or created, or for which something exists.
Merriam Webster defines it as: the reason why something is done or used: the aim or intention of something.
When we’re trying to define our own purpose, what we’re basically asking is this:
- What’s the reason for my existence?
- Why was I created?
- Why do I exist?
Answering these questions will show you what your purpose in life is.
Now, keep in mind that passion and purpose are going to be highly individual, and different from person to person.
There are many schools of thought about the true answers to these questions.
But at the end of the day, your life is yours to define.
You get to choose which passions to pursue, and you get to choose your purpose.
With that being said, I believe that there’s a lot of evidence to show that these are things that you discover about yourself as you go through the process of life, learning about the kind of person you are, and figuring out what matters to you the most.
The steps that we’re about to talk about are steps designed to help you along in this process.
I truly believe that we all have the potential to do great things.
I also believe that taking our passion and our purpose seriously is an important part of that process.
12 Steps For Finding Your Passion And Purpose In Life
1. Start With A Blank Slate
A lot of us come into life with the realization that other people place expectations upon us about what we should do.
These expectations could belong to your community, your family, your parents, etc.
However, I’d like to encourage you to begin the process of finding your passion and your purpose in life by giving yourself the opportunity to start with a truly blank slate.
Try casting aside outside expectations, and allowing yourself to fully explore the opportunities and avenues that are meaningful to you.
2. Explore And Experiment
This is a crucial part of the process of finding your passion and purpose in life.
Experiment with all kinds of different things.
Dare to try out new activities. Expand your horizons and put yourself into new, challenging situations.
You may discover and learn some things about yourself that you never knew before. And that will be a very good thing!
3. Make A List Of Things That You Love To Do
When we find an activity that we love to do, it’s significant because it shows us an avenue that we’re directly choosing to invest our energy in.
If you really love doing something, it means that that thing matters to you.
And this can give you a clue as to what your passion and purpose may be.
So make a list of the things you love to do, and start doing a bit more thinking about getting more serious about some of those things.
4. Make A List Of Things You Enjoy Thinking About And Researching
What do you think about in your spare time?
What do you look-up on the internet when you’re free to investigate, research, or explore anything you want?
What kinds of videos do you look up on YouTube?
What kinds of pages do you follow on social media?
What types of things do you enjoy reading about and studying?
Once again, answering these types of questions can give you a clue as to what your passion and purpose in life are.
So make an exhaustive list of the things you enjoy thinking about and researching, and consider getting more serious about learning more about those things and digging deeper into those interests.
5. Make A List Of Your Greatest Talents
Your talents are basically things that come easy to you.
A talent may speak to a learned level of skill.
It may also speak in part to a natural inborn proclivity that you possess.
In any case, there’s a reason for why we have the talents we have.
And this reason can help to connect us to our passion and purpose in life.
Make a list of the things you’re great at, that seem to come naturally to you.
There’s a high probability that your passion and purpose in life will be best manifested through one or more of your greatest talents.
6. Think About A ‘General Direction’ That You Might Be Interested In Exploring
As you start to write these things down, you may begin to notice a trend.
You may start to realize that the things you love to do, the things you enjoy thinking about, and your greatest talents are all leading you in a kind of general direction toward a general topic of interest, vocation, or area of knowledge that excites and interests you.
However, narrowing it down can sometimes be difficult.
Therefore, the point of this step is to allow yourself to think about your passion and purpose in life as a generality as opposed to a specific.
It’s easier to start this way.
An Example Of Starting In A General Direction…
For example, one of my students knew that he wanted to start a blog.
Because he loved to write blogs, and he was a very gifted and skilled writer (this was the talent part).
However, he wasn’t exactly sure what he wanted to write about.
So he made a list of about 10 different topics (these were his interests and things that he loved to do/talk about), and just started writing blogs about all of those topics (this was his way of exploring and trying different things; experimentation).
Eventually, he came to realize that when he blogged about one or two of those topics, he always felt better about the blog posts.
When he blogged about those topics, he was just more excited about the process. It came easier for him, and he figured out that he had a true passion for these specific topics.
This was how he eventually chose the specific niche for his blog.
See, he allowed himself to take a more general approach to blogging to begin with; using his talents, focusing on things he enjoyed, and moving in the direction of the things he cared about as a framework for showing him the initial steps to the process.
Then, he narrowed it down and got more specific as he explored and applied himself.
Sometimes you need to start off finding your passion and purpose in life by thinking about them in more general terms. Then, as you continue to pursue them, you can narrow your focus and get more specific.
This can also speak to the meaning of life. To learn more about how to find the meaning of your life, read this post: The Meaning Of Life Is To Find Your Gift – Is It True?
7. Start Keeping A ‘Thought’ Journal
Journaling is actually a very powerful tool for helping you to identify your passion and purpose.
Here’s the key:
At the beginning or end of every day, write down the topic, thing, interest, career, or purpose that was at the forefront of your thoughts for that day.
It could be anything.
Whatever is greatest at the forefront of your mind that day, write it down.
This, once again, will help you to hone in on the thoughts, topics, and interests that tend to enter your mind most often.
And tracking these things can help to give you a clue as to what your passion and purpose in life may be.
For example, one day you may be extremely interested in rocket engines.
Then, the next day, you may have an argument with a friend at school—and instead, be thinking about the nature of forgiveness and sorrow.
Then, once that situation clears up, you may come to find that for the next three days, all you really want to think about are rocket engines again.
See, when you keep a thought journal and keep a record of these types of thoughts, you get a sense of the topics that tend to rise to the top of your consciousness most often.
And these topics can give you a powerful clue as to what your passion and purpose in life may be.
8. Determine What Fears Or Roadblocks May Be Holding You Back
Sometimes, people don’t allow themselves to fully explore a particular passion or purpose in life because there’s a limiting belief within their mind that’s telling them:
“It’s not possible. You’re not capable of pursuing that passion or purpose.”
However, it’s also important to understand that fears and roadblocks don’t always have to completely hold you back.
Of course, life isn’t perfect.
Sometimes, we can’t have exactly what we desire in every moment.
One of my students really enjoys boxing as a workout routine.
You could even say that he loves to box.
But here’s the thing.
Does he have what it takes to be a professional, world-class boxer?
Well, he’s kind of slow, and he’s kind of clumsy.
He doesn’t necessarily have ‘natural talent’ for it.
That doesn’t make it impossible. But it would make it far more challenging.
Next, we need to examine what he wants out of life.
In his case, it’s fair to say that he’s more passionate about other things—so he doesn’t really train as much as he would need to train to be a champion.
He’s much more talented at certain types of creative art, and he’s a lot more passionate about other things in life than he is about combat sports.
This led to him deciding that being a professional boxer wasn’t his true purpose or his passion in life.
See, he faced reality, and made a decision about his purpose that aligned more closely with the things he loved to do, the things he enjoyed thinking about, and his talents.
Creative projects are his strong suit. They come much more naturally to him than boxing.
Therefore, that’s what he decided to build his career around. And he finds great meaning and satisfaction in that line of work.
But he still enjoys boxing as a form of exercise. And so, he spends time every week at the boxing gym.
The key here is to identify mental blocks you may have regarding your passion or your purpose, and then to figure out what to do with them.
Sometimes, you may determine that your fears are unfounded and that you should actually move forward with that particular field of interest.
Sometimes, you may come to find that pursuing that particular field of interest isn’t altogether realistic.
(For example: waking up and just deciding that you want to be a movie star isn’t necessarily realistic. It’s an achievable goal, but there’s a lot of planning, hard work, and dedication that needs to go into it. How will you know if it’s worth it? By finding your passion and your purpose in life.)
However, that doesn’t mean that you have to abandon it either.
You may need to shift it a little bit, readjust, or just flesh out a slightly different path to what you want to accomplish to account for the roadblocks.
The real key here is to shine a light on your fears, figure out why they make you afraid, and then do what needs to be done to overcome them, sidestep them, or shift your goals away from them altogether.
9. Start Doing More Of The Things You Love To Do
At this point, you’ve already made a list of the things you love to do.
But it’s also a great idea to actually go out and do more of those things.
When you get out into the real world and you get involved in the things you love, you begin the process of creating your own destiny.
This also helps you to hone in on your passion and purpose by helping you to figure out what you enjoy doing, and why you enjoy doing it.
So get up, get out, and get your hands dirty doing some things that you love to do!
It really matters.
10. Figure Out How You Most Enjoy ‘Creating’ In The World
Anything you do that empowers you to interface with the world or other people is counted as creative.
This could mean creating art, making music, playing sports, starting a business, getting a job in a particular industry (like welding, sales, fashion design, shipping, etc.), becoming a CEO, starting a nonprofit, teaching, counseling—the options are truly limitless.
But it’s important to figure out how you enjoy creating the most, as this can give you a powerful clue as to what your passion and purpose in the world may be.
11. Determine What You Would Like Your Life To Look Like In The Future
This can be a difficult step to take if you’ve never thought about it before.
However, I would encourage you to try writing out the story of your life (you could even write it in your thought journal) with the goal of figuring out where you’d like to end up in the future.
You may describe what kind of job you’ll have, what kind of business you’ll start, how much money you’ll be making, what your family will look like, what kind of spiritual life you’ll have, what kind of impact you’ve had on the world, how people will remember you, etc.
I actually recommend doing this activity on a somewhat regular basis, because it can really help you to figure out what your long-term goals may be.
It’s also true that when you get honest with yourself about where you want to be in the future, it can give you a powerful glimpse into what your passion and purpose may be.
And this, of course, can help you to set goals now that will help you to get to where you want to be in the future.
12. Conduct The ‘Joy’ Test
As the final step in our list, the joy test may actually be the most important part.
Every time you experiment with a new activity, spend time with new types of people, or engage yourself in a new topic of interest, ask yourself this very powerful question:
“Does this activity excite me and bring me joy?”
Another incredibly important question to ask yourself is this:
“Would I choose to do this for free even if I wasn’t ever going to get paid for it?”
See, if you truly love to do something, if it truly brings you joy, and if you would truly still choose to do it, even if you weren’t going to get paid for it—then there’s a good chance that you’ve located something that you’re truly passionate about.
And that passion may have a powerful role to play in your life’s purpose as well.
So whenever you choose to do something, always run it through the filter of these two questions.
This can show you so much about what you actually care about and desire in life.
One Important Caveat…
One more important thing to understand and remember whenever you’re talking about your passion or your purpose in life is this:
Chasing pure joy or happiness through your ‘passion’ will always eventually lead to at least some level of disappointment.
Because sometimes, even things that you are passionate about may feel lifeless, boring, or frustrating.
Sometimes, in life, you just have to work at something you believe in and go through the motions to create positive results.
Work is still work. And it’s in your best interest to understand that there’s no such thing as a perfect passion that’ll make every day feel like a vacation.
Life is a lot more fun when you do find your passion and purpose, not because these things make every day perfect… but because, when you find them and pursue them, even imperfect days will still feel significant and worthwhile.
Because you’re doing something that you believe in.
Once again, this speaks to living a meaningful life. Even a purposeful, passion-filled life won’t be perfect all the time.
The key is to try to be a better version of yourself every day, to set your goals and pursue them intentionally, and to just handle each and every challenge that comes your way to the best of your ability.
There you have it.
12 steps to finding your passion and purpose in life.
Hopefully, this post has helped you to understand how to begin the process of figuring out your passion and your purpose.
One more piece of advice…
I highly encourage you to start writing down your goals.
This is so important.
Well, that’s all for this one.