Stuck? 25 Questions That Will Help You Find and Follow Your Passion

Find and Follow Your Passion - Picture by Milos Milosevic on FlickrFinding 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.

14. Always?

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.

Conclusion

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.

Get the FREE Ebook and Discover:

  • How to turn your passion into a lifestyle business
  • The two ways to find your profitable passion
  • The biggest mistake you can make (and how to avoid it)
  • And so much more!

Comments

  1. Carol Wills says:

    Thank you so much for this essay, which will have life-changing effects for me and for many others. I need to forgive myself, find my passion in life, and move on–and your questions and comments on being stuck really meant something to me today.

  2. I don’t know what my passion is….
    all i can get to is that i want peace and fulfillment and satisfaction from my life..
    For the second question i couldnt even get a single answer.

    • The second question is a tough one, so don’t worry about it. If you can’t answer all of the questions, that’s completely normal. Not all of them are necessary. Keep answering the ones you can, and use “I don’t know what my passion is,” as your starting point.

      Knowing that you want peace and fulfillment is huge, so don’t downplay that. I also wouldn’t worry about the fact that you haven’t yet become crystal clear on your passion.

      Like I said in the article, you don’t necessarily have to find your passion. Focus on what you enjoy doing right now and do it. Think about the next smallest step you can take and don’t worry about the future.

      The next smallest could be anything, such as sitting and doing nothing, until you feel compelled to do something.

      In short, be nice to yourself. Passion is just a concept I use to point to what is beyond the word, which is enjoying what is here and now ;)

      • Thanks Henri.
        That brings a whole new perspective for the concept of passion. But that also leaves me with a lot of overwhelm and uncertainity. But as you said its all the part of the journey.
        So then i love writing and ive been writing a lot for the past three days spending almost 3-4 hours may be i should continue it because its what brings peace to me now.

  3. Nice job Henri, clear, to the point and insightful questions…if one has the courage to ask them selves these questions and truthfully answer then the sky is the limit…I am off to re read them and begin answering! Thanks mate,

    Craig

    • You’re right on, Craig. These questions are not for everyone, because most people are not yet ready to answer them, but even so, those that do answer them will learn something about themselves.

  4. It all comes down to feeling the fear and taking action anyway no matter how hard it is. If you truly desire what makes you happy, you’ll find a way to make it work. Even if you have to go hungry for a month or two. Thanks Henri, very, very helpful!!

  5. This is the problem. This is the question I NEVER get answered.  What if you don’t KNOW what you want?  What if THAT is what makes you stuck?  What if, like me, you’re STUCK with indecision? And you just can’t make a move because of it?  

    That’s what’s happened to me, and it’s taken me over.  For a LONG time. 

    I just don’t know WHAT I want. 

    Everyone has said “be with it and it will come to you” or “meditate on it” or “eventually you will see clearly”. Well I don’t.  It never happens.  Or people just say “just make a decision and go with it, even if you’re unsure”. But I always get paralyzed and often end up doing nothing.  Or I make a decision half-heartedly and then stumble and either look back regretting the other choices, still being unsure, or end up changing my mind, still with that uncertainty, and humming and hawing, with the same issues, often driving people crazy. 

    “Just follow your passion” doesn’t work for me.  It doesn’t get me anywhere. I have lots of passions.  Lots of things I enjoy, but, at the same time, lots of times where I just don’t know what’s right or what works for me.  Either I don’t make a move (paralyzed) or I make a decision and immediately feel a lack of conviction, ambivalence or regret… And it stifles me.  

    And it’s not fear.  Sure, I *have* the fear like anyone else, but it isn’t what really holds me back.  I can make decisions, but then regret them.  

    And I can be mindful and present, but as those experienced in mindfulness know, you need to “feel into” those emotions.  And I feel a dull anxiety, all the time, and (although I know they’re not actual emotions) I just feel my confusion and indecision and fogginess.  And I stay with them for hours of meditation etc.  To no avail. 

    I dont KNOW what career path I want to follow.  I don’t KNOW what woman I want to be with or whether I want to stay with my current partner or not.  I don’t know where I most want to be or what I most want to do.  I don’t know what gives me the most joy.  I don’t know what makes me the most happy.   (Please realize I have lots of passions and I’m very good at *many* things, so “follow your heart” is no help to me, nor is “do what gives you pleasure”… Some things give me pleasure for a while, but then I feel shaky and unsure of the move I’ve made, and often quit or duck out.)

    People say “just feel into it. Be with it. Listen to your soul.  Listen inside of yourself.  Spend time meditating.  Find your truth.”. Believe me… None of this works for me.  I’ve done it to death. 

    I’m probably frustrating most of you.  And I’m sorry.  It frustrates me too.  Hey, I’ve been to 3 counsellors and therapists and even THEY got frustrated with me and gave up.  But in the end, I still have this problem, regardless of who gives up on me.  I’ve read many books on decision-making, but it doesn’t work for me (although I’m open to any suggestions on books/articles if anyone still feels they can help me). 

    I’m really not trying to brag in this next comment, but I need you to understand… I’m very talented and skilled in many areas and many fields, and I’ve been evaluated as very intelligent …and this is not to boast… It’s just to show you my predicament.  I can’t just “do the things I’m good at” because I’m very good at most of them.  Science, arts, languages, mathematics, design, sports.  I’m really good at them all, to the extent that people are blown away and can’t believe I’m way better than average at all of them.   (And really, please… I promise I’m not saying this to boast or impress you, but to make you realize what I’m dealing with).   At this point most people say “well, you can’t be that intelligent or you’d be able to make a decision” or “just pick one” or “well, you should be grateful… I wish I had all those talents”.  Say that if you want, but those are just *judgments* and I’ve heard them all, and they don’t do anything for me.  If you don’t want to help, that’s fine, but please don’t say the judgments—they just create a rift between us.  But I don’t blame anyone for being irritated, impatient, or frustrated with me… Because people rarely “get” what I’m dealing with.  I’m frustrated with myself too. 

    I just feel like that part of my brain (frontal cortex) is broken/damaged/impaired.  I really wonder if that’s it.  But no brain scans/MRIs show anything abnormal.  But all I do is sit with my indecision. 

    But I’m sure there is someone out there who’s had the same problem and has found a solution.  Which is why I’m still open to help…  

    And if you have any ideas… I thank you :)

    • Hey Dan!

      You bring up a great question, and one I have to write on more.

      To be honest, I don’t have the perfect solution for you, and I won’t say that I understand you. In the end, you are responsible for what happens and what goes on. Only you can figure this one out, no one else.

    • Hey Dan,

      I, as well, won’t say I completely understand but in a lot of ways, I do.

      I’ve been told I’m very intelligent when it comes to many things in life. I have a problem, though, of over-complicating everything. My only advice is, and I’m not trying to be mean or anything, or cause you more trouble, is to be with the moment.

      Don’t try and look for anything. Maybe you already have it and trying to look for it is causing you all this craziness. Just live for the moment and whatever feels right to you at the time.

      If you look back and regret what happened, take note of what you did and how it felt at the time and how it feels during the regret but don’t let it bother you so much.

      Just do what feels right, right now. I, too, haven’t really found my passion, though I’m crazy in love with music and enjoy listening to it all the time.

      In the end, being open as you are, is probably the greatest thing you could do for yourself as you keep on going and actually DO try things.

      Again, while it may help or not help, my advice is to just be happy with how things are right now and when something gets to you, move on from it and enjoy THAT moment, too.

      • Hi Eric,

        First of all, thanks. I appreciate your reply and your insight, as well as your kindness.

        I have indeed tried being mindful/present as much as I can, and being with the moment. In a lot of cases, this definitely helps. I have focused on acceptance and “taking things from where you are” and going with that.

        Unfortunately, it’s when it leads into bigger things that it becomes a problem. Especially when those involve other people’s lives, particulary with indecision and ambiguity about staying with a girlfriend, having each other’s needs and fulfillment addressed, or a major career choice. Those are the points it really affects my life greatly, and often negatively.

        But thank you for the insights. I appreciate it… I really do. I continue to search. It is a frustrating problem, for sure :)

        Thanks,

        Dan

        • I should also mention that the idea of “do what feels right” is a real problem for me. I can never get a good feeling of what “feels right”. It just feels confusing most of the time, and that’s what ends up paralyzing me.

          It’s also been suggested that I have gotten into the habit of overwhelming myself as I enter into decisions, and the confusion has become a habit. Even though I try to be calm, take lots of healthy time with the decision and be very mindful, it still leaves me with that sense of confusion and anxiety around the decisions. In the end, I have ended up making some pretty damaging decisions. :)

          Anyway, I do appreciate the feedback, sincerely. I only mention these exact issues/details I have because I am hopeful that someone has been in the exact same circumstances and will someday say “hey, I have the solution to that!” :)

          Thanks again,

          Dan

          • Heh Dan,
            Your situation intrigues me a ton. I too have many passions and cringe when people say “pick just one” or “do what you love” because I love many things. And because I love many things, I’m often left in indecision land because I don’t want to make a wrong decision or I’m waiting to see all my options. But trying to pursue all of them at once has often exhausted me and left me numb almost as if I don’t know what my passions are anymore.

            What has helped me is to lighten up. It really can drive you crazy to always be on a quest that feels unattainable. I’ve had to ask myself, what can make me happy right now? Simple, little things, like loving a pretty sky, adoring a song on the radio, loving a particular client session, etc. Bask in those feelings and follow them. Notice the small decisions you make that you feel good about. What you ate that day, choosing a particular seat in a theatre to sit at, being kind to someone. Things that almost seem trivial. Then build the happiness and decision muscles from there, which will lead you to making decisions that feel good in bigger things like relationships and careers choices. My sense, and this is not knowing a ton about you, is that making that connection between happiness and decision is key for you moving forward.

            Those are just some thoughts that hit me as I read your posts! Whatever you do, don’t give up on you. The world needs your brilliance. I call it sparkle.

            Warmest,
            Paula

  6. Henri,

    This is a very powerful article and though I didn’t (yet) write anything down, just had time for a quick read through, I’m going to get deep into this in the next few days as that will help me with some other things I’m doing.

    You know, I’m really glad you’re following your passion and didn’t let fear stop you. Had you, I, and many others, wouldn’t have an awesome blog to keep up with and a very cool friend behind it.

    Stay rockin’!

  7. Thanks a lot for the guide. I will have this baby steps first. Making small goals then proceed to the next level. truly inspiring. Thank you.

  8. Great questions, Henri!

    I believe in the saying ”The quality of your questions determines your destiny” and these questions are great :-)

    It would be a miracle if I would get an answer for the question ‘How can I change the life of as many people as possible in a fast and positive way?” during this night

    :-)

    Thanks for sharing your questions!

    • Hey Marc!

      What would happen if you took that question and made it more actionable, like: “How can I make a positive impact for one person, right now?”

      Start small, because small leads to big. Like you said, the quality of your questions determines your destiny!

  9. I loved this post! Thanks so much Henri. As a coach I’ve used many of these but a few were new and opened me up to a new perspective — in particular #7 and #13. Here’s another one for you: What do you have to believe about yourself in order to fulfill your passion or goal?

    This gets into self confidence, worthiness and lots of juicy mindset stuff that can often hold people back. But once uncovered and replaced with a new belief, it can be an extremely powerful tool!

    Thanks again,
    Paula

    • That’s another great question, Paula. Thanks for sharing it.

      Sometimes it’s amazing to me how just a few questions can completely shift the way we think ;)

  10. Great post! It can be extremely overwhelming if not taken one question at a time. I haven’t written anything down as I just quickly thought about my answers, but I found that I think about a lot of these questions almost daily.

    The one thing that has to be remembered is that when you get to the end, you have to realize that you have to take action. If you don’t take action then you can’t really get out of your funk.

    Also, if you aren’t sure what you want to do or what your passion is, then just try to find something that interests you and do it. Often when we just sit there and think about what we want to do we either talk ourselves out of it or scare ourselves out of the fact that we really can do anything that we want to do.

    So just do something and eventually you’ll find your passion. You’ll find that thing that excites you. And in the process you’ll learn a ton about yourself and pick up a new outlook on life.

  11. Hello Henri,
    This is a very good list of questions. For me the most important question is #21: What makes you come alive? When you REALLY like what you do, you just don’t want to stop doing it, you enjoy every moment, you feel excited and empowered.

    Another question I would suggest is: what do you like to talk about? Let’s say you go to a party or meet new people, or given an opportunity to give a talk. What would you choose to talk about? It would probably be something related to your passion.

    Thanks,

    Yuval

  12. Wow Henri. This is an amazing article and an amazing collection of questions. I really see how going through these questions and taking your time to answer them will point you in the direction you need to go. Really great post.

  13. Rohan Golwalkar says:

    Henri,
    As usual thanks for this simple and to the point article.

    Dan,
    As you said you are good at many things – that itself sets you apart from lots of other people.
    Not every one can have one single “passion” – i think you should not go crazy about this and may be try diving your “lots of interests” into a routine for 30 days – like you design a schedule for the gym.
    Also Like @Paula suggested “try checking what you want to do right now” – you want to design right now go for it,feel like singing go for it without stressing too much.
    And if you still don’t get to the answer – trust me, do not worry too much about it.It is fine to have mutiple interest and to like too many things.

    Cheers
    Rohan

  14. I really am a smart person with many many interests and I cannot narrow down my passion. I love to read #1. To do book reviews, wish to be paid to do them. I love to blog. I love cats, writing, editing, paralegal, law…and organizing. I just cannot seem to narrow it all down. Any Ideas?
    I have five blogs…one for writing, one for divorceissues…and one for book reviews…and two more! Trying to keep up and not have a job to boot! I cannot narrow mine down. HELP?

  15. Joseph Campbell’s rallying cry–”Follow Your Bliss!” is my organizing principle. Your thoughts and work encourage each of us to identify, reclaim and follow our bliss. Thank you for reminding us of all that is possible with passion as our guide.