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25 Questions That Will Guide You To Find and Follow Your Passion

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25 Questions That Will Guide You To Find and Follow Your Passion

It’s not easy to find and follow your passion. Actually, it requires all your strength, time, and effort to do it. You have to dig deep down inside you. You have to drill deeper than deep. Yes, go down, deep down into your inmost until you reach the bottom where you can see clearly, and get the answers you need. It’s hard work.

To explain further, many years ago, I read a book. I followed its instructions about fiding my passion. I was doing fine until I got to the part where I have to answer soul searching questions. I started to feel sick in the gut; feeling burning pain there, and all out distressed.

My stomach has turned acidic. The stress from mulling about my answers was too much. I couldn’t handle it. The reason? It was so nerve-racking to realize I actually was clueless and didn’t know what I wanted. I was feeling like this because I was in my late twenties and there I was, lost.

After a while, it hit me. I knew what I wanted when I was 19, but I have grown; and have outgrown my passion. Naturally my needs were different too. And so are my aspirations. My body’s negative reaction was just an initial response to a sudden, but mistaken idea. Instinct. That was it. Obviously, not properly thought out.

If you are going through the same experience, and stuck, keep on reading. Help is here.

Finding and following your passion takes hard work, and it isn’t for the faint hearted.

You need courage to go for it, despite all the fear, overwhelm, and uncertainty.

While the path may not be the easist, or the most comfortable, I do it because it is the only path that I can see myself taking. It makes me happy, fulfilled, and satisfied.

In this article I’ve compiled some of the questions I ask coaching clients, and anyone who needs help finding and following their passion.

It’s like a mini-coaching session. You can use these questions for anything, so they aren’t just for finding and following your passion.

Before you read on, grab a pen and a blank sheet of paper and write down the answers to each question, because it will help you eliminate some of the overwhelm, uncertainy, and fear.

And always remember, you don’t have to find your passion in order to start taking action. Many people make it into another excuse.

Your passion will find you when it does. In the meanwhile, take action. Refuse to wait.

1. What do you REALLY want?

A basic question but extremely relevant.

I’m not talking about the shoulds or shouldn’ts. Forget about what society, your parents, or your friends say.

What is it that makes you come alive? What truly lights the fire within your soul?

2. What would you want if you didn’t have to be unhappy about not getting it?

I first heard this question from Michael Neil, a world-class coach. At first, it boggled my mind, but as I let it sink, I realized the power of this simple question.

Take your time with this one, and write down your answer. It boils down to what makes you happy right now, even if you didn’t have to reach some future goal.

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3. What’s stopping you?

What is preventing you from finding or following your passion, or going after your dreams?

What have you perceived to be standing in your way up until now?

This is a crucial question, because it sets the tone for the rest of the questions. If you don’t know what is stopping you, then how do you know that there is actually something there?

Even if you know what it is, it’s often not there anyway.

4. What specifically is it about that that stops you?

Take your answer from #3, and drill down. If you’re afraid, ask yourself what specifically you’re afraid of.

I was afraid when I started Wake Up Cloud in late 2009 (my first post). More specifically, I was afraid of people not liking what I put out there, and not getting validation for my work.

5. How is that stopping you now?

Take your answer from #3. Let’s stick with fear, in this case you’d ask yourself how that is stopping you from moving forward.

In my case, fear made me confused, overwhelmed, and uncertain. It paralyzed me and I painted disaster scenarios in my head that stopped me from taking action.

6. How could you solve those problems?

When you drill down into what’s stopping you, it goes from a thing to a process. Fear might become the pictures in your head, or sensations in your body.

You can brainstorm solutions to your problems, change the way you represent your fear, or eliminate the sensations. These latter things are what I do with my coaching clients.

7. How does X mean that you can’t do Y?

Let’s, again, stick with fear. How does fear mean that you can’t find or follow your passion?

If it’s just you scaring the shit out of yourself, why can’t you move forward anyway? If you’re afraid of what people will think, shouldn’t you be more afraid of what you think, since it’s you scaring yourself?

All of these things are going on inside of you, not outside, and you can still move forward despite being scared.

8. If all your problems were solved, what would you do?

If all of my problems were solved right now, I’d be more bold, take more action, and take things to the next level.

Funnily enough, this is exactly what I’m doing, so keep your eyes peeled.

But sticking with the question, if you had no problems, worries, or fears, what would YOU do?

9. What are your interests?

What do you enjoy doing? When I got started, it was obvious to me. I loved personal development and online business.

These two topics were my life, and still are. I read, listen, and soak up everything I can, but before I got started, I didn’t believe in myself.

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I finally realized that I didn’t have to believe in myself to get started, and I took action, which is why you’re reading these very words.

10. What were your interests?

Some people have suppressed their interests, because they’ve been told it’s impossible to do what you love, or they’ve told themselves that.

If you’re one of those people, look into the past. What did you used to enjoy doing? What brought passion, purpose, and fulfillment into your life?

11. How do you know that you don’t know?

Many of my clients tell me that they don’t know what they want, and I ask them, “How do you know that?”

This has them confused, because it’s something they haven’t considered. It opens up doorways in their mind.

A common answer might be: “I feel it.”

To that I might respond, “So you feel it, and have your feelings ever been wrong?”

That’s just the start. I encourage you to play with this, because what you believe to be true isn’t true, it’s just what you believe.

12. How do you stop yourself?

If you don’t know what your passion is, ask yourself how you stop yourself from finding your passion, or how you stop yourself from taking action anyway.

What do you do to make it not happen? And what would you have to do to discover your passion?

This works with following your passion as well. How are you stopping yourself from making progress, and how can you flip that around?

13. If you had to teach me how to do your problem, how would I do it?

This is a fun one. If you had to teach me how to not find my passion, or follow my passion, or whatever is stopping you, how would you do it?

Write down the process. When you bring the whole process to awareness, you’ll see that there are steps to it, and it makes it seem ridiculous.

It also helps you stop it in its tracks the next time it rears its ugly head.

14. Always?

Most people tell me that they’ve never known what their passion was, but when they tell me that, I know that they are always lying, because we’ve all had glimpses of what it’s like to truly enjoy life.

Your passion doesn’t have to be one thing, it could just mean being in the flow and enjoying the present moment.

Keep it simple!

15. How will you know?

How will you know that you’ve found your passion and that you’re on your way to realizing your dreams?

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What internal or external signs will tell you this? This is a great question to give you clarity on how you’ll know when you’ve reached your end goal, or even that you’re on the right track.

16. If there was a miracle tonight… how would you know?

This is an extension of question #15. What would have to change in your life for you to experience a miracle?

If you’re having trouble finding your passion, what would have to change in order for you to discover your passion?

17. What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?

If Superman gave you a magic potion that gave you immunity from failure, what would you do?

Would you write a book, start a blog, begin public speaking, or go out and hug people?

18. What will you do when you’ve found your passion?

This is a great way to go deeper. What will you do when you’ve found your passion? Or what will you do when you’ve realized your dream life.

Is there something you’re putting off? Many people disguise goals, or finding their passion, as something they need before they can do what they truly want.

In essence, they’re lying to themselves. Are you doing the same?

19. If you pretended to know?

If you pretended that you knew what your passion was, what would it be?

If you pretended to have clarity, what would your next step be?

This is a great question that suspends disbelief and allows you to daydream about the possibilities.

20. What would happen if you didn’t?

What would happen if you didn’t have to find your passion in order to enjoy your life?

This isn’t about having something. You already have everything you need to be happy, joyful, and satisfied.

What would happen if you gave up the search for passion and just went out and had fun?

21. What makes you come alive?

What’s something that makes you come alive?

For me, it’s helping people overcome their perceived limitations, so they can find and follow their passion, and get paid to do what they love.

This is a good question to freewrite on. Put the question at the top of a blank page, and dump everything on your mind on paper for 20-30 minutes, and see what comes out.

22. What’s important to you about living your passion?

This is a question that drills down into what you truly want. I want you to ask this question over and over again until you reach a state that is beyond words.

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A client of mine that I did this with had the following kind of progression when I asked this question: Helping People >> Passive Income >> Realizing a Dream >> Being Recognized >> Feeling Complete and Feeling Happy.

In the end, what he really wanted was to feel complete and happy. He discovered that he was already feeling complete and happy, so he already had what he wanted. This is the perfect place to take action from.

23. What will happen if you don’t take action?

What will your life look like if you don’t find or follow your passion 5, 10, 20 years from now?

Will you be happy? Will you regret that you didn’t take action, or will you be okay?

Most people will regret it. I know I would, which is why I take action now, despite my fears.

24. What will happen if you take action today?

What would your life look like if you took action today? What would it look like in 5, 10, 20 years from now?

Would you be fulfilled, satisfied, and happy?

Also, remember that this isn’t about being happy in the future and neglecting the present moment. This is about working towards something you love, while enjoying the here and now.

25. What steps can you take?

The last question is what steps can you take right now?

If you’re not sure what your passion is, what steps can you take right now to get closer to discovering what it is?

If you already know what your passion is, what steps can you take to move forward?

To live a passionate life, you have to take action.

Conclusion

Let’s wrap things up. This is a heavy article, because if you’ve gone through and written down the answers, you’ll have discovered things about yourself that you didn’t know about.

If, on the other hand, you read through the article, and didn’t write anything down, I suggest you go back, and do so.

If you still won’t do it, then you’re making the choice to stay where you are, and as long as you’re okay with that, that’s cool with me.

If you’re waiting for something magical to happen, please don’t, because in the end, you’re the only one that can create the life of your dreams.

25 Questions That Will Help You Find and Follow Your Passion I Henri Junttila

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Anthony Dejolde

TV/Radio personality who educates his audience on entrepreneurship, productivity, and leadership.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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