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 this path may not be the easiest, 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, friends, 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, uncertainty, 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 Neill, a world-class coach. At first, it boggled my mind, but as I let it sink in, I realized the power of this simple question.
Take your time with this one, and write down your answer. It boils down to what would make you happy right now, even if you didn’t have to reach some future goal.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
And if you want to dive deeper, you may be interested in my book, Find Your Passion, which takes what you learned in this article even further, and guides you through the process of tapping into what makes your heart sing.
Photo by Milos (CC BY 2.0)