There’s a lot of talk about following the path to your passion: one will find happiness and unending joy, money and profit, and unlimited energy to do more and be more. But how do we even find the path amongst the many paths of traditional education, jobs that pay the bills, responsibilities that keep us busy beyond the 9-5.
Reflecting on the significance of our past helps us to plan forward and take meaningful action. Whether that is leading from our strengths, or following up on profound moments and building on transformational experiences, or realizing repeated mistakes and results that don’t or move us forward. Consciously reflect on what is truly working and take action. Our power of evolution lies in our ability to take perspective and make choices that lead us to work or a job that allows us to act from a higher place of awareness.
Knowing our strengths and/or accepting what is not our strength can move us forward with more velocity, like fuel for a rocket. Some of my most profound growth moments involved letting go of trying to be someone I wasn’t or trying to develop skills that either didn’t come easily or went against my natural strengths. It’s the feeling of swimming upstream, rather than downstream. Sometimes we need to develop some new habits and discipline, which may not come easy, but evolution means that we learn to adapt to our conditions and either develop skills to make a process work more easily. Sometimes it is consciously re-locating to a place or community that suits our preferences and allows us to work more efficiently.
How do we know what we meant to do? We have to try a lot of things. Sometimes we must unlearn or de-condition the mind from one influential environment to one that is less structured and perhaps more personal. One way to do this is to go on retreat or taking time on vacation where we allow ourselves time outside of our daily schedule to imagine, envision, and write our ideal future.
Janet Atwood, the author of the Passion Test, developed an exercise of developing a list of our passions. Check our these resources that employ her techniques to whittle down our wish list of dream jobs and long bucket list of things that would be “nice to do,” and results in a manageable list of verified areas of passion, great interest and accomplishment:
When the inspiration arises to align your work and values, or to explore new possibilities, thank your lucky stars. It is not easy. It does feel like unknown territory for which there is no road map. But I believe it is a path worth taking. When what we do for work matches who we are, it is that feeling of swimming down stream, rather than upstream. In Sanskrit, the term dharma, refers to the cosmic order, or in the context of our lives, it is the purpose or reason for our lives.
Word to the wise: don’t quit your day job unless you have a plan and proof to make your passion profitable
See also these sources on dharma:
Here are some more resources for exploring your path towards passion: