In my late twenties, I was being told that I should focus on one particular profession or interest, as having many of them in life may sabotage my future.
On one hand, I wanted to take that advice because it came from someone who is rather accomplished in her profession. But on the other hand, I felt that is NOT the answer for me and I felt there is a bigger story behind it all.
But I just didn’t know how to articulate and explain all the connections between my choices and subsequent experiences.
I was tormented by 2 imaginary scenes:
A.) In the not-so-near future, someone would say something behind my back along the lines of this: “What a waste of potentials, she could have done better with her life.”
B.) In my old age and set ways, I sadly regret what I didn’t dare to do and be true to “Who I am” but became the person who others expected me to be.
I have to admit, it was a challenging time in my life.
I was really eager to find out my passion and purpose of life so that I can work REALLY hard on them and to prevent the two scary imaginary scenarios from happening. I wished I was one of those who just KNEW what they want to do when they grow up, full of purpose and fueled with passion.
However, that was not my path, nor the right learning progression for my life.
Other people’s opinion is just an opinion. Trust your inner knowing.
Years ago, I graduated from prestigious universities and started my career as an economist. But before long, I went into TV & media and a few years later I got hired as a consultant. So it may look like I was all over the map.
On the side, I slowly found my passion in learning about spirituality and living in a more conscious manner. Various life experiences (both good AND bad), mentors and self-reflection lead me there. All the jobs and major life events have built and shaped me into the person that I needed to be. The time it took and mistakes I made are all for my own learning, and probably, benefits too. Eventually, I became a transformational coach, speaker and author in the field of personal development.
Looking back, I have to say even though it was hard at times, I have followed my bliss and I am feeling deeply inspired and grateful about my life now.
In the years I was trying to “figure it out”, I realized we don’t have to try so hard and to be 1000% sure, our passion and purpose will be revealed to us, simply follow your interest or curiosity and follow through with actions. Most importantly, listen to your inner voice not everyone’s opinions.
Finding your passion and purpose in life is an inside job and it takes time
What I have learned in my own hard-earned self-exploration is that finding your passion and purpose is an inside job. There are numerous books and talks advocating how important that is, and all the “how-to” ways to find your passion or purpose. They may help you to “look” in the right direction, but ultimately, you can’t rely on any tests or advice from anyone, it is an inner learning experience.
You have to come to an inner knowing what is calling you and what it may translate into. It took some time, but step-by-step, I came to KNOW myself in a way no one can ever tell me so. I love doing what I do, and I am no longer a hostage of my own fear about under-achievement or misalignment with who I really am.
Passion and Purpose in Life can be related or simply co-exist, without being the same thing.
First of all, we may have a purpose or calling that is related to work or career matters. Say, creating a non-profit for a humanitarian cause, or a business start-up, or become a curator of an art museum or a visual artist. But we may also have our own unique purpose that is about relationships. We may deeply call to be a great mother, a loyal friend, a supportive family member or a life-long partner for our spouse.
In fact, I see in most cases we have both or one becomes more apparent at a different stage. We are inspired to take on a certain endeavour in life as well as become a certain individual for the people around us.
For some people, their passion is highly related to their purpose. For instance, in the example of the curator of an art museum, it is likely that the curator is also passionate about art and drawn to work in the ways that are most suitable.
On the other hand, you may have a passion but it is completely unrelated to your work. You simply need “Me Time” to attend to your passion but you don’t have the urge to necessarily turn your passion into your profession.
And please don’t worry if your passion is music but you are called to become an accountant, despite the fact that you hated numbers. It won’t happen. There is a divine intelligence in all things.
Multi-passionate beings and ever-evolving life purpose
Last but not least, we can be multi-passionate beings, take me as an example, I love yoga, dancing, speaking and learning. I know my purpose is in coaching and working with people, but elements from my passion certainly help too. I like to do seminars or public speaking as a way to coach others, and my life-long interest in learning gives me new ways to relate to people or put context into different scenarios.
Moreover, our life purpose may evolve through time and maturity. Life is an on-going dance, even if you feel your purpose is to accomplish a certain task, there is always more lessons or experience to come, and they will lead you into another purpose or change it into a different form or shape.
It is ok to have multiple passion and purpose, you may not see the connections now, but you will later. Regardless, your passion leads you to become the person you need to be, to fulfil your purpose. So take it easy, don’t stress if you don’t know what your passion and purpose are exactly, it is not a timed competition, you are a spiritual being having a human experience. So go and experience life. As I have learned from the great mythologist:
What we are seeking is not the meaning of life, but the experience of being alive.— Joseph Campbell
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