I want to make sure I’m being empathetic about all this “follow your dreams” talk.
The idea of chasing our dreams is one-sided if I don’t acknowledge the uncertainty and fear that complements the journey.
The chasm between where you are now and where you want to be is intimidating to cross.
Trying something new is entangled with growing pains and discomfort.
And due to this, people give up. They stop making progress.
They end up feeling stuck, stalled by the grandness of their vision and needing to know “how” it will happen before taking the next step.
They getting older and older, life keeps passing by, and the life they really wanted becomes a remnant of past possibilities.
Don’t let this be your story.
Don’t confuse feeling stuck with passivity and helplessness.
If you feel stuck it’s because you stopped moving forward, not because you can’t.
You’re Never Really Stuck
Life is an ongoing trip with new destinations and new moments.
It never really stops. It’s always unfolding, layer after layer, like a never ending onion.
Feeling stuck is just that, a feeling. We feel stuck when we stop intentionally growing.
If you don’t feel passion, it’s because you aren’t cultivating or creating it.
A leadership coach I admire named John P. Morgan says, “Passion is grow not discovered, and purpose is created not found.”
I really like this idea because even if you aren’t doing work your love you can still create more meaning and purpose in your life.
So, this post is for the part of you that’s hungry for a challenge, the part of you that wants to run free, climb trees, and jump for joy, the part of you that wants to discover, experiment, create, play, and evolve.
Here’s some ideas to get unstuck and create more passion.
1. Go on a mini-quest
In his book The Happiness of Pursuit, Chris Guillebeau explores how a quest can bring greater purpose to our lives. According to Guillebeau a quest has certain criteria, such as having a clear end point, being challenging, and sacrifice being made by the wayfarer.
For our purposes, it doesn’t have to be monolithic or life altering (though it can be) just something that helps bring more adventure and meaning into your life.
Call it a mini-quest. Go travel somewhere you’ve never been. Go exploring.
For example, I went on a mini-quest with Yes You Are over Labor Day weekend to play a festival in Davenport for a nice tinge of adventure in my life.
What mini-quest could you go on today?
2. Start a project
With all the tasks and duties of daily life, all the tedious errands, it’s common to get lost in the clutter and lose our sense of self.
When we lose our sense of self we lose passion. Our soul fades.
Start growing your passion by creating inspiring projects. You Have a Calling was a project. (Also a mission, refer to tip number 3). It’s a creative project that I can continue to sculpt as time goes on.
Maybe you want to start a band, or start a meet-up about a lifelong interest, or train for a long distance run. Projects give us a sense of purpose and something to achieve.
3. Fight your battle
The German philosopher and iconoclast Friedrich Nietzsche believed that, “He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.”
We need a mission, not just obligations. A mission gives life meaning. If you’re bored or lacking passion it’s because you don’t really care about what you do.
There’s a part of you that wants to stand for something; to do something you believe in.
There’s a way you can contribute and make a difference. There’s a battle for you to lead.
What great mission would you love to devote more time to? What do you want to be different about the world?
“Those who stand for nothing fall for anything.” – Alexander Hamilton
4. Get uncomfortable
Do you get tired of living with the same routine day after day?
Entrepreneur magazine humorously informed me of the term “Walk of Same,” the definition being – the trudge down the hall to the weekly staff meeting.
Structure is one thing, but mindless predictability is another. When we aren’t challenged we stop growing. Passion quickly fades without a glorifying mountain to climb.
Learn to get comfortable with what Brian Johnson calls the “dynamic tension” of stretching yourself. A good challenge will make you feel alive and invigorated.
5. Be fiercely curious
Avoid your senses getting dulled by approaching your work and life with a curious mindset. For me this comes through a love of learning. Wanting to know more about life’s mysteries, leaning into what’s unfamiliar to me.
According to an episode of the Unmistakable Creative, guest Todd Herman explains that the way to keep growing is to live your life with more “I wonder” instead of “I have to.”
Wonder and curiosity keeps us seeing new possibilities.
What do you want to learn about?
6. Leisure is good for the soul
A simpler path to experience greater fulfillment is through leisure time. Leisure is down time where we pursue hobbies, interests, and other outlets, and research shows numerous psychological benefits to having such leisure time.
For instance, it helps us emotionally by detaching from the seriousness of life. It helps connect us with others who share common interests and gives us a sense of autonomy because we’re doing what we want to do.
If you want to start small, this is a good step, because it doesn’t require lifestyle change, just prioritization.
Hopefully one of these ideas will encourage more passion and engagement in your life.
How can you can create more passion?