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Last Updated on November 26, 2020

How To Find Your Passion in Life and Fulfill Purpose

How To Find Your Passion in Life and Fulfill Purpose

We all have passions, but we don’t always know what they are. Your passion is your gift to the world, but you may have forgotten or suppressed it. Perhaps you lack the courage to follow your heart and turn your dreams into reality, or you base your choices on what you thought was expected of you. It’s all too easy for us to accept our paradigm rather than embarking on a new journey, and that’s why finding your passion in life can be challenging.

Have you denied your passion, not believing deep down that you are worthy of it? Who told you that you are not good enough or that you don’t deserve to do what you love? Was it true? Is it true now?

Here’s the process I learned that empowered me to find clarity around my heartfelt desires, see what was holding me back, and start living the dream.

Negative Thoughts Can Prevent You From Finding Your Passion in Life

Our thoughts are outside of our control. They come and go on their own accord. We don’t choose them but rather, they choose us.

However, what is within our control is how we respond to them. We can allow them to influence us, or we can just watch them go by. We can feed them or just ignore them. We have the gift of discernment and the freedom to choose.

So, when a negative thought comes to mind, something like—”I don’t deserve to be happy in my work so I should do something joyless just to pay the bills,”—why would we pay attention and, thereby, dis-empower ourselves?

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Thoughts like “I can’t do that because…” followed by a list of reasons can hold us back as surely as chains, but they aren’t real—they are just thoughts.

“Argue for your limitations, and sure enough, they’re yours”, wrote Richard Bach in his book Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah. It’s all too easy to find excuses why we can’t do something or complain about what we don’t enjoy, but learning how to find your passion in life and fulfill purpose takes courage—and just a little bit of self-love.

Comfort Is the Enemy of Passion

Comfort can prevent you from finding your passion in life just as contentment breeds complacency. As Nithya Shanti wrote: “When we are interested, we do what is convenient. When we are committed, we do whatever it takes.”

A steady job, regular income, and social recognition all contribute to a temptation to ‘play it safe.’ But how many people pro-actively planned to make a living in the way that it turned out compared with those who ‘fell into’ a job, career, or profession by accident?

‘Work’ is always going to account for a huge proportion of our lives and unless we continuously make conscious choices, we are leaving our destiny to chance. Decisions we take in our twenties typically tend to map out future decades as ‘sensible’ factors like experience, finances, and job-security come into play.

Surprisingly, what may appear at the time to be a setback, such as a challenge at work or even losing your job, can sometimes be a gift—an opportunity to choose a different path.

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It’s at this point in our lives that we may start to have ‘what if?’ moments. But how much better would it be to preempt this with regular reflection and to pro-actively plan our transition? This is the time to be very conscious and aware, to listen to our inner voice, watch our thoughts, and decide where to focus our attention.

Go Deep Into the Body to Find Your Truth

While the voice of the heart says one thing, your brain might have other ideas often based on fear, scarcity, and your gut-feel may be contradicted by logic.

The question is which voice will you listen to? Quiet reflection, space, time, and focusing deep into the feeling will reveal the answer for there the truth lies.

Why? Because passion is an emotion that you just can’t miss! Passion is inextricably linked with pure joy and while merely thinking about our passion is enough to affect our emotions, the acid test is actually doing it. When we actively live our passion and fulfill our purpose, we feed our souls. Doing what we love makes us shine—we extend ourselves, we soar like an eagle.

Once you start living your dream, your whole demeanor changes and your passion becomes infectious. You feel lighter, your life flows more easily, your path is clearer, and you intuitively know what to do next as the pieces of your personal jigsaw start falling into place.

‘Aha!’ moments abound, and decisions become easier as intuition and synchronicity light up the way ahead.

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What You Excel at May Not Be your Passion

When you find your passion in life, it will invariably be something that you are pretty good at. Conversely, you may excel at something that you find completely uninspiring due to a conflict of values or simply a lack of inner connection.

It might fund a lifestyle that keeps you materially satisfied, but is it enough? Only you know the answer to that—or do you?

How would you describe yourself at this moment? Content, happy, joyful, peaceful? How close to the ‘edge’ of your life are you? Ask yourself whether life could be better—whether you could be better.

You’re the Boss!

You know what makes you tick. You know your strengths, weaknesses, tricks, and secrets. You can kid other people but you can’t kid yourself. Only you can permit yourself to follow your dream—to choose to value yourself that much.

No one is going to wave a magic wand so that everything falls into place and you live happily ever after. It’s up to you. You are in charge. You are the boss. You are the one person on this earth qualified to take control of your life.

You know what’s best for you, but you might need some insight to get in touch with your inner wisdom—that gold inside you which is just itching to shine.

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You do want to shine, don’t you?

Clarity Is the Gateway to Finding Your Passion in Life

For 5 consecutive days, ditch reality for fantasy. Pretend that there are no limits to what you can achieve even if it seems impossible.

Do the 5 steps of this process one day at a time to allow your unconscious desires to rise slowly to the surface.[1]

  1. Imagine how fantastic it would be if…
  2. Believe in miracles and brainstorm what you would wish for.
  3. Research some of your initial ideas and see what sticks.
  4. Feel into your heart and gut to see which one is inspiring just for the sheer joy of it.
  5. Imagine you have to choose today, which one would make you think “OMG”?

The 3 C’s: 3 Simple Steps to Passion, Purpose, and Performance

  • Consciousness: Have a candid conversation with yourself about your current frustrations and aspirations. Challenge your version of your life to highlight previously unconscious thought patterns including negative beliefs and limiting narratives.
  • Clarity: Free of these constraints, fresh insight then empowers you to bust the paradigm that seems to have kept you trapped so that you can find and embrace your passion. It also promotes purpose and momentum to create the steps that will lead to your vision.
  • Commitment: Hold yourself accountable to a friend, family member, or work colleague for implementing the action plans that you created.

The Difference Between Creativity and Fulfillment

As you begin to create your reality from your heart space, you may notice an inexplicable drop in your energy levels. This is quite normal and is usually due to a lack of fulfillment. Finding your passion energizes you, enabling you to do the ‘work’ necessary to manifest the dream. But your brain expects the reward immediately. and it wonders “where’s the rush?”

Just keep remembering that the payoff comes at the moment—the ‘now’. Only when you are doing the thing you love will you experience that unique level of joy. So, don’t expect immediate gratification. Just trust that your ROI from the hard work you are putting in place will be worthwhile and that your purpose will be fulfilled.

Final Thoughts

So, this is how 5 days of clarity and the 3 c’s method will help you break the paradigm, empower yourself, find your passion in life, fulfill your purpose, and get from where you are now to where you want to be. The path to finding your passion in life isn’t easy, but it is well worth the effort pursuing.

More Tips on Finding Passion in Life

Featured photo credit: Simon Maage via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Gray Hughes

Life coach (using the motivational 3 c's Model) and writer.

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Last Updated on April 19, 2021

Understanding Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: 5 Levels Explained

Understanding Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs: 5 Levels Explained

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs is a theory of motivation that lists five categories of human needs that dictate individual behavior. These five categories refer to physiological needs, safety needs, love and belonging needs, esteem needs, and self-actualization needs.[1]

Motivation plays a big part in athletic coaching. I spent 44 years coaching basketball and each day at practice, I was trying to motivate our athletes to give their best effort. In this article, I will examine Maslow’s hierarchy and five areas of needs from an athletic perspective.

1. Physiological Needs

These needs represent the most basic human survival needs. They include food, water, rest, and breathing, and all four have importance in athletics.

Food has had an evolution in the world of athletics. I cannot recall my coaches in the 1950s and ‘60s mentioning anything about food. As time went on, the pre-game meal became important. Steak seemed to be the meal of choice early in the evolution. Research then indicated pasta would be the better choice.[2]

Today, I think most coaches prefer pasta. However, if the players are ordering from menus, some coaches believe the players should stick with their regular diets and order accordingly.

The next step in this evolution was that the pre-game meal, although important, is not nearly as critical as the athletes’ overall nutrition. At our University of St. Francis athletic seminars, we invited nutritionists to speak and to educate our players on their nutritional habits.

The ultimate change in food intake may be the Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback, Tom Brady. He adheres to a specific, disciplined diet that has allowed him to play superb football at age 43.

Water also has had an evolution in sports. It went from not being allowed in practices to coaches scheduling water breaks during the practices.

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Rest is extremely important in all sports, and statistics validate its importance. NBA research found that during the course of the season teams win 6 of 10 games at home but only 4 of 10 on the road. In the NBA playoffs, the statistics change to 6.5 at home and 3.5 on the road. Many coaches believe rest is the key factor to these statistics because the players are sleeping in their own beds for home games.[3]

Our St. Francis basketball team found the importance of breathing on a trip to play in a tournament in Colorado. In our first game, we were playing great and winning by 12 points early in the game. Then the altitude kicked in, adversely affected our breathing, and we lost the lead and eventually the game.

In our second game, having learned our lesson, we substituted more frequently! Maslow’s idea of physiological needs plays a major part in the athletic arena.

2. Safety Needs

Safety needs include protection from violence, emotional stability and well-being, health security, and financial security.

If a fight breaks out during a basketball game, there can be serious injuries. This is the reason a coach steps in immediately when there is any violence or dirty play in practice. The coach must protect the players. You drill your teams to play hard—never dirty.

The importance of emotional stability has gained more credence in sports in recent years. Many teams hire psychologists to help work with their players. There is a great deal of player failure in sports and it is critical for the players to stay emotionally stable.

Health security is much more prevalent in sports today than in my playing days. I once got a concussion during a basketball game. We had no trainers. The coach handled it by telling me after the game, “Sullivan, you play better when you don’t know where the hell you are!” He was right, and my medical treatment ended there! Games today have trainers available to protect the health of the athletes.

Financial security is predominant in professional sports. Most players today use free agency to go where the money is because they consider sport not to be a sport at all. They believe it is a short-term business at their level. I personally appreciate the athletes who have taken less money so the team can retain teammates or use the dollars to bring in new players.

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3. Love and Belonging Needs

These needs can be summed up with two words: love and relationships.

After teams win championships, you will often hear coaches say, “I love these guys” or “I loved coaching this team.” You can tell by their body language and the tone of their voice that they really mean it.

I think coaches say this because the season can be a tough grind. Practices, scouting, film work, travel, and problems that arise take a toll on coaches. However, when you have teams that give all they have every night in practice, you do come to love them.

ESPN did a 30-30 segment on the North Carolina State national championship team coached by Jim Valvano. I was especially interested in watching it because I knew a player on the team who used to come to our camps. Terry Gannon played a major role in their championship.

The program was a reunion of their players. This was 20 plus years from their title, and if you were to take one thing away from the show, it would be how much the players loved each other.

In the last analysis, sport is all about relationships. You can meet former teammates with whom you played 40 to 50 years earlier and that athletic bond is as strong as it ever was. Although you may have not seen each other in years, your friendship is so cemented it’s like you have been seeing each other weekly.

David Halberstam’s book, The Teammates: A Portrait of a Friendship, validates the relationship between athletics forges. Ted Williams is dying and three of his former Boston Red Sox teammates—Bobby Doerr, Johnny Pesky, and Dom DiMaggio—make the trip to Florida to see him. Even though 50 years had passed since they played together, the bond among them never waned.

Love and belonging epitomize the essence of sports.

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4. Esteem Needs

These needs are characterized by self-respect and self-esteem. Self-respect is “the belief that you are valuable and deserve dignity.” Self-esteem is twofold—“it is based on the respect and acknowledgment from others and esteem which is based on your own self-assessment.”[4]

Often the players on the bench are the ones the coach respects the most because they work so hard in practices yet receive none of the glory. The best coaches never let the starters or stars ever denigrate the players on the bench. Coaches must always acknowledge the value and the dignity of those who play little. They often turn out to be the superstars of their professions.

Some coaches will never get “it.” They think they can motivate their players by degrading them. They embarrass the athletes during games and they constantly berate their performance in practices.

Great coaches are just the opposite. They are encouragers. They do push their players and they push them hard, but they always respect them. Great coaches enhance the self-esteem and confidence of their players.

5. Self-Actualization Needs

“Self-actualization describes the fulfillment of your full potential as a person.”[5]

I believe three words are the key to self-actualization: potential, effort, and regrets.

You often hear in athletics that a player has potential. It also is not uncommon for the person introducing the athlete to rave about his potential. I was fortunate to work with an outstanding man in the Milwaukee Bucks camps, Ron Blomberg. Ron had the best definition of potential that I ever heard: “Potential means he hasn’t done it.” Will he do all the work necessary to fulfill his potential?

Effort is great, but it’s not enough. If you want to reach your full potential, you must have a consistency of effort in your daily habit. Only consistency of effort can lead to success.

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John Wooden, the legendary UCLA basketball coach, said that success is becoming all your ability will allow you to be. He agreed with his friend, major league umpire, George Moriarty, even though he used to kid him. Coach told him he never had seen Moriarty spelled with just one “i.” He followed this with, “Of course, the baseball players accused him of having only one ‘eye’ in his head as well.”

In his poem, The Road Ahead or The Road Behind, Moriarty wrote,

“. . . for who can ask more of a man
than giving all within his span, it seems to me, is not so far from – Victory.

When your life is winding down and you look back if you can say you gave “all in your span”—that you consistently gave it your best effort—you will have reached your full potential and there will be no regrets.

Final Thoughts

Now that you’ve learned more about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, consider reflecting on the last two needs (esteem needs and self-actualization needs) and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you doing all you can to enhance the self-esteem of those around you?
  • Are you doing all you can to self-actualize the potential you have been given?

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

Reference

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