I’ve been on a hunt over the last year as I’ve watched my husband thrive in the midst of writing and finishing his book (which you should visit his website and preorder as soon as it becomes available because it’s amazing). Seeing him come alive in such a fresh way has inspired me to find the same joy. To be totally honest, my first gut reaction was to be a bit jealous of him and to feel like I have no idea what I’m doing with my life. Here he goes from amazing NFL player straight into being a renowned author and speaker. It’s a tough act to follow. But the more I sat with it, I realized I was jealous because I hadn’t felt like I had found the thing that I wanted to pursue that hard. Which then caused me to turn inward and think to myself, “Why am I not doing the things that make me come the most alive?”
I think it’s so ridiculously easy to get caught in the flow of life’s traffic. You find a good job you enjoy, you have friends that are great, and you have a certain amount of energy to expend every day after you finish the demands of the day. I know that I have been using my free time to relax, to unwise, to hang out with Clint and my dog, and I’ve been very content with that. Having a great marriage is actually a bigger priority to me than having a wonderful job, because I think if your relationship with Jesus is thriving and you’re happy in your marriage, you could be doing any sort of job and still feel full. But if you want to tap into that good good gravy of life, finding that passion in your work life is the next step to take.
So I went on a hunt. I felt so unmotivated in my own mind that I honestly needed to listen to other people talk about their own passions to reignite mine. So I started listening to a podcast that I HIGHLY recommend called “Don’t Keep Your Day Job”. You can go listen to it here. Each week, she has a new creative person who talks about how they got where they are and how they are able to make a living doing the thing they are most passionate about. And if you’re like me, you’re thinking “oh so everyone who is passionate about singing gets to be Beyonce….ya right” And you would be right in your sarcastic cynicism. BUT, all the people who are passionate about singing have found a way to sing, make money, and make that the income for their life. Win, freaking, win. So I was inspired to say the least.
Step 1. Make A Simplified List
So I made a list. What the heck am I even passionate about? I think it’s harder to come up with that list than you think. I usually crush any idea with certain aspect of logic before they can even develop. Because yes, I’m passionate about horses but am I really going to buy a barn and teach horseback riding lessons? No. Because I think I would hate that. But anyway, I made my list of things that I just simply LOVE to do. And it doesn’t have to be something I could even turn into a job, remember this is just step 1. My list was: Jesus, creating (images, art, interiors etc), photography, musical theatre, comedy, public speaking, women’s ministry, writing, decorating, hip hop dance, horses, homes.
So my list was pretty random, but hey we got something to work with.
Step 2. Actually Go Do It
I write here, and I already get to work as a photographer for an awesome company. I recently discovered how much I’ve loved getting to help on set shooting interiors (two things I love combined, bingo!) So even more recently I made a decision to go and actively try a few of those things on my list that I wasn’t already doing currently. So, I signed up for a 6 week stand-up comedy class (which I’m currently taking right now and loving). And I’m going to audition for musical in Dallas when I get an opportunity. Now, am I going to become a stand-up comedian? Probably not, but the point is, I’m crossing things off the list, I’m learning new things about myself that had been left dormant because I hadn’t been pushing myself to do anything new. I had stopped allowing myself to be put in uncomfortable situations. I had stopped trying new things because I was honestly afraid to fail. But if I looked back at my life and I never tried anything new, I would be disappointed. I want to go down every avenue of possibility where I may not be using the full potential that I have. I want to use every gift I have to create the passion in my life I desire. So get up, go try it, go fail, it’s fun.
Step 3. Stop Doing What You Don’t Like, Keep Doing What You Do
I get how oversimplified this is, but that’s the point. You really just need to try new things, new ways of doing old things, things that make you happy. Eliminate anything that you’re striving for that doesn’t bring joy. It really is that simple. Obviously keep your job, but maybe look for a new one with a few small changes that help point you in the direction you’re trying to go. If you’re in a very analytical job but you want to be more creative, try to switch roles within your company to have a few more creative tasks, or be the analytical addition to a creative team and learn from them. What I’m learning is that there really is so much time and so much grace to find out what you want to do. I still don’t know what I’ll want to do forever (and I don’t even think that’s how it works, I think you can end up having at least 2 or 3 careers in your life) , and I remember my parents telling me they didn’t know even when they were in their 40’s or 50’s. I don’t know if we ever feel like we’ve arrived and that shouldn’t be the goal. The goal right now is to take the step to find out what makes you come alive. What makes you smile, what makes you want to wake up in the morning, what makes you stay up late to work on? If you shift your schedule to implement those things, it will slowly create a path for you. But if you give up and leave all your passions behind, they don’t come knocking on your door to ask you to take them back up again.
You have all the power in the world to do what you love. When you believe that, you can have the courage to go out and try. Start finding ways to do the things you love every week, and stop doing the things that are weighing you down. And when you get to that sweet spot, (dear Lord please let me find it soon, amen) work as hard as you possibly can to be the best at it. Because every day there’s someone else who is working just as hard for that dream- and it just comes down to who is going to fight for it. And life’s way too short not to fight for passion. Girl, you got this.
What are you passionate about? I’d love to see your lists in the comments below.