don't focus on finding your dream, just follow your inklings
Following your dream or passion is such a broad slice of a statement and popular piece of advice with no real tactical steps on how one can achieve that. And I’m tired of hearing and seeing it. For real.
Honestly, if you’re doing this life thing in a way where you truly do the work to unpack who you are, what excites you, and what you want to do in this world…you will have many dreams and passions. Some will come to fruition. Others will shift. Some will die. (And oh-em-gee, you wouldn’t believe the freedom found when letting an old dream die. Saving that revelation for another blog post.)
Anyways back to the original point…
In general, I think we could all take a break from this “find your passion” mental pounding. Though the phrase is often expressed with good intentions — more times than not — it causes so much shame.
For instance, if you’re in a transition period, if nothing excites you, if you’re surrounded by so much uncertainty, the last thing you want to hear is “follow your passion.” And when you don’t know what to do, that directive can feel so daunting and big, that you don’t want to even take one step. Which opens the door to the negative self talk, which further reinforces you not taking a step forward…and so on and so on.
So release yourself from the shackles of needing to figure out a lifetime in a day or month or 5 years. How so?
Here are a few ways you can combat that grandiose task and ease your way into identifying activities that organically lead you into feeling fulfilled that have worked for me. (Please note for the sake of transparency, these realizations came to me over a period of time from my own experiences…they did not magically appear during the time it took to write this post.)
- Sew into the areas that bring you joy. More than likely you may have already identified a hobby or an activity you find picking up from time to time but talk yourself out of exploring based on “feasibility” and not seeing a future with it. Before you beat yourself up, know that we’ve been conditioned in this world to filter possibilities and opportunities with “whether they can make us money” or “seem doable” with where we currently are in life or the resources we have. To counter that conditioning — what if you permitted yourself an hour, a day, a weekend, or a few days out of the month to pouring energy into the things you enjoy doing without a specific outcome in mind? You never know what may manifest from that intention. Exploring the things that bring you joy can ultimately lead you to more clarity about what you can activate in this very moment.
- Tap into any recent internal conversations where you may have noted something “looked interesting” or imagined yourself doing an activity that caught your attention. Those internal chats are such good data for an inkling worth exploring. Often times we don’t hear it because we’re too busy inhaling the narratives and scrolling the timelines of those we think have figured it all out and are living their “best lives.” Lean into your body and your senses, observe how you feel when those thoughts come to mind. Feeling excited and curious are good signs!
- Recall the last compliment someone gave you or what your friends, coworkers, colleagues come to you for help or an opinion on. It’s easy for those around us to see our natural gifts exuding from us than for us to recognize sometimes. By observing more of the ways you serve those closest to you, you could find some clues that pinpoint you to a natural gift and a new path to explore.
- And lastly, perhaps a not so encouraged piece of advice, be still…do nothing. There’s something about stillness that opens you up to a world of possibilities. Sometimes all the external searching makes room for anxiety, franticness and fear-based decision making. Take time to try to calm your mind and efforts while permitting some flow. Clarity may meet you there.
All in all, keep in mind that life is not static, you are a complex being. There’s no need to pressure yourself to find any one passion or dream.
If these words or experiences resonate with you — drop your comments below. I’d love to read them and have a feeling you’re not the only one :).
With so much love and ease and virtual hugging and all of that jazz,