Have you been struggling to figure out what to do with your life? You’ve probably heard the phrase “follow your passion” a thousand times. And as well-meaning as this advice is, the problem with it is that it’s of little help if you have absolutely no idea what you’re passionate about. So, if you’ve tried everything possible, here are three strategies to try when you just can’t find your passion in life.
Identify the real problem
Where passion is concerned, some people are luckier than others. Hands up if you have a friend who always knew she wanted to be an artist, writer, musician or doctor.
So why is it so easy for her to find her passion and so hard for you?
The truth is that there are many reasons why finding your passion may feel like an impossible task. For some, it’s because they were raised to prioritise intellect over intuition and as such, they have become very disconnected from their passion and purpose.
For others, a huge fear of failure may block them from acknowledging their true passion. Once they know what they want to do, they will have to pursue it and risk the worst thing in the world – failing at it.
And finally, for others, ‘a life passion’ as they understand it, doesn’t actually exist and this is the real reason they can’t find their ‘passion’ (more on this point shortly).
With this in mind, the first step to take when you can’t find your passion in life is to identify what exactly is really keeping you stuck. Deep down you know the answer to this, so sit still for a minute and ask yourself, “What does passion mean to me and what needs to happen for me to figure out what my passion is?”
Stop trying so hard
It’s an annoying oxymoron, but sometimes in life, the harder you try, the worse you perform.
Not thinking during meditation, loving someone you don’t love and not feeling disappointed when your hopes have been dashed – they are all pretty impossible tasks. And the more you try to do them, the further from your goal you move.
The same is true for finding your passion. Trying too hard cuts off the flow of inspiration and intuition you need to figure things out. Instead, you grow more frustrated with yourself because “everyone else has things figured out” and then the pressure mounts for you to figure things out RIGHT NOW… which just makes things worse.
So, what can you do instead?
Trying too hard cuts off the flow of inspiration and intuition you need to figure things out.
Put down that self help book, log off that personal development site and stop doing those career personality tests. If they haven’t yet given you the epiphany you’ve been looking for, they’re unlikely to do so now.
Instead, if you can’t find your passion in life, take the pressure off by settling for an ‘ok for now’ solution. Once you’re in a tolerable situation, you can then give yourself permission, space and inspiration to let things happen naturally.
Accept the possibility that you may not have a “passion”
These days, the terms “passion” and “purpose” are so romanticised, it’s easy to buy into the idea that your passion must be something that:
- you are obsessed with
- is exciting and glamourous
- has absolutely no disadvantages
- is wildly different from what you are already doing
- you have dreamed of doing from a young age
- you’re naturally very good at
- ticks all the career boxes for you (is well paid, fun, flexible and prestigious)
Of course, the reality is that a passion is something that gives you purpose and fulfilment – that’s it. It’s different for everyone and there’s no guarantee that you’ll be good at it, it will be exciting or it will be something you want to spend every waking moment doing or talking about.
So if can’t find your passion and you’ve got a romanticised idea of what that passion should look like, that may be the very thing that’s keeping you stuck.
Destroy the belief that your passion is something far removed from what you are already doing, and instead start looking more closely at the things you do for fun and naturally gravitate towards.
Join our insider club
Ready for a gutsy career move? Sign up to get alerts about game-changing career opportunities, such as work abroad opportunities and exciting jobs for career changers.