Over the past five years as I have mentored many entrepreneurs and a common question that arises is “if I am to be happy and satisfied with my life I should be pursuing my passion(s), right? But how do I define my passion(s) and more importantly how can that translate through to a happy and successful life (which includes earning enough money by pursuing my passion)?” In my discussions with the people that I mentor the role of passion and finding a path is paramount to success – for if they are not passionate about what they are doing or aspiring to become then they are just “punching the clock” and will never reach their full potential. So here are the 3 easy steps that I go through with the people I mentor (the process can take up to a year to become fruitful – so patience is also key!!).
Step 1: What Are You Passionate About?
The 1st step is to define what you are passionate about. What do you like to do; what gives you energy (as opposed to “sucking energy” – which is that physical or mental feeling of having to actually motivate yourself somehow to do it); what do you dream about (day dreams as opposed to sleeping dreams); where does your mind naturally wander to on repeated occasions; what are the situations when your self-talk is positive more than negative. Write all of these down over a two week time period (even a month). Also it is good to write down the things that you really hate to do or that “suck energy” to do – that way you are clear about these “no go” avenues. Then after the couple of weeks, or month, review your list and look for the common elements or qualities that you feel most comfortable about or are drawn to (the warm fuzzy’s) – again list them out and narrow them down. Is there one that emerges as a Number 1 passion (and perhaps others that can be sub-categories of that Number 1)? If so, great, and if not, narrow your list to the Top 3 only. Having only one is best but sometimes it is impossible to get there so 3 is the next best (but no more than 3!!!).
Step 2: Identify Your Criteria
Now with that Number 1 (or Top 3) passions what are the activities, roles, jobs, avenues, parameters and other criteria that will help create an opportunity to align with your Number 1 (Top 3) passion. For example – when I wanted to create one of my previous businesses one of my criteria was: “I have to be able to walk to work”. This criterion would then allow me to stay local, get some exercise, have quiet time alone during the walk to meditate and appreciate nature and most importantly be able to volunteer at my children’s school to coach basketball and stay a part of their lives. It had nothing to do with what the actual business would or would not be but it satisfied one of my Top 3 passions which was to maintain balance in my life (yes – I have never been able to narrow down to just a Top 1 passion myself!!!). Build this criteria list over a couple of weeks and then review the list and narrow it down to the Top 3 (Max 5) criteria that absolutely need to be there in order for your Number 1 (Top 3) passions to be satisfied. Write out the Number 1 (Top 3) passions and Top 3 (Max 5) criteria on a page and review this list at least once a day. I tape mine to the inside of the mirror in my bathroom so when I brush my teeth every day I read it.
Step 3: Activate the Opportunities!!!
The last step is to start looking for opportunities that would match up with your Number 1 (Top 3) passions and Top 3 (Max 5) criteria. Most importantly, by writing them down and reviewing them daily you allow your sub-conscious to continually scan your horizon and surroundings looking for them even when you are not even thinking about them. It is very much like when you buy a new car and then all of a sudden over the next few weeks you keep seeing that type of car – this is called reticular activation -and is the process of your sub-conscious mind “seeing” things that are important to you (assuming the new car you just bought is important to you) and then pointing them out to you. That particular car brand and the number of them were always there before, but because you had not defined it as being important they did not register with you, your sub-conscious did not point them out to you. By writing down your Number 1 (Top 3) passions and Top 3 (Max 5) criteria and reviewing them daily you will now be able to see the opportunities. As each opportunity presents itself from your sub-conscious you can actually now consciously review it against your Top 3 (Max 5) criteria and Number 1 (Top 3) passions. If they don’t align then keep looking. When you find one opportunity that aligns with all of these them start pursuing it. Do your due diligence on it. If there are no major roadblocks, warning signs, fires, gut checks, uneasy feelings, etc. then continue to proceed; if there are then keep looking at other opportunities until you find the opportunity that satisfies your Top 3 (Max 5) criteria, Number 1 (Top 3) passions and passes all of your due diligence tests. This can take up to a year (or even longer) to find that perfect opportunity and alignment for your future path – but it is well worth it and the patience to go through it.
I look forward to hearing from those of you that try this and what happens!!! Send me your story!