Find your passion.

It’s amazing what we task the youth with...find your passion? How do you even follow up on that proclamation? Where does one “find” their passion?

Maybe you instead task someone to find meaning in their life. Paradoxically though, the more we search for meaning, the harder it is to find. And meaning can be fleeting, it’s not something we can hold on to and grasp.

So what are we left with? Purpose. I think purpose is more tangible. We find purpose in doing. I feel a sense of purpose when I mow the lawn. I feel purposeful when I serve the people I’m grateful to work for. I find purpose in encouraging others to be their best. I find purpose in learning, and I find purpose in expressing myself through writing.

On Monday, Eric Maisel, an author, psychotherapist, and coach, joined our community of Optimize Coaches (the Coaches I’m blessed to serve) to share some wisdom via a virtual call.

What I latched onto is what inspired today’s writing. Eric suggested, "Rather than craving meaning, live your life purposes." He continued on, "If you don't get any meaning from that, you are still living your life purposes, you're still living authentically, you're still doing the next right thing, you're still doing what you should be doing."

As he said that, I stepped back to consider, what are my life purposes? They are:

  • To serve others
  • To do what I can to make the world a better place
  • To connect deeply with the people I love
  • To become my best self through learning and application
  • To encourage and empower others to become their best self
  • To express myself through writing
  • To cultivate the best energy possible
  • To be a positive force wherever I go

What Eric said made a lot of sense to me, but I’ve been grappling with why. Why does what he said ring true? After looking up the definitions of passion, meaning, and purpose, I found my answer. Purpose is the only word that is both a noun and a verb. We can take action to live our life purposes every day.

Passion and meaning are typically considered to be outcome goals, something that can be attained or found, they’re nouns. Purpose, on the other hand, can be defined as a verb: to have as one’s intention or objective. Everything on the above list is in my control, they are all lead measures that I can intend to take action on. Every day we have the ability to bring intention to doing the things that we know bring us purpose.

Which brings me to three questions for you:

What are your life purposes? What are the things you do that provide you with a sense of purpose?

How often are you doing these things? Are you doing one of them once a week? Once a day? Do you do at least one thing that brings you purpose each day?

How can you bring more of your life purposes into your daily life?

So that’s what I would tell someone exiting high school, that’s what I’m telling myself, and that’s what I’m sharing with you. No matter the word(s) that resonate with you, we’d be best to include more of what we know works for us into our days.

As Tom Rath shares in Are You Fully Charged?

“Your overall satisfaction with life certainly matters. But you create more meaningful change in moments and days, not years and decades. It is easier to improve your own happiness—and the well-being of others—when you focus on doing it right now. Taking small, meaningful actions today is the best way to make changes. And eventually, these small changes will lead to important long-term outcomes.”

Take small and purposeful action, today.  


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