Stop Searching For Your Passion
Ep. 134
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    Why are you searching for your passion? Really think about it. You try to find it because you think that once you find it, you will love your work and finally be happy. What you’re searching for is that happiness or fulfillment. Not the passion. And, yet, so many of us are hating the journey there. We think something outside of us is what is going to finally make everything better. But it doesn’t work like that. The question isn’t “What is my passion so I can be fulfilled?” it is “How can I be fulfilled right now so I can start discovering my passions?” Today on the podcast, I teach you what to work on in order to find fulfillment today. No passion needed.

Show Transcript
Hello, my friends. Welcome back to another episode. I am so excited. You are here. I'm a little fired up. I was going to do a completely different episode. The last two episodes have been about goal setting and how to set better goals. And I had a third installment. I'll still give you that soon, but I've just been thinking about this concept a lot. And after I posted the podcast from last week, which was about destination goals versus journey goals, and we talked extensively about how you pick a goal where you are going to enjoy the journey. It's the point of it is to expand yourself and grow. And if you're hating the entire journey, when you get to that destination, it's not all of a sudden going to be rainbows and butterflies. So you're setting yourself up.

That's the basic gist, but I recommend if you haven't listened to go back and listen to that episode, I posted in my Instagram stories, I think the quote was something like enjoy the journey between where you are now, where you want to be something like that. And I asked people, how many of you are enjoying the journey right now? And I mean, I don't think I should be surprised about 40% said, they're not and 60% said they are. And it's gotten me thinking a lot. And I really wanted to do this episode about how we can live a more fulfilled life. And alternatively, why you're asking the wrong question when you are looking to figure out what your passion or your purpose is. And so we're going to get into that. And I'll explain more deeply, but here's the thing. I get a lot of inquiries from people about how do I figure out what I'm passionate about?

How do I figure out what my purpose is? What the one thing I should be doing, right? It isn't obvious to me. And once you go on this journey, you'll start realizing how ridiculous of a question that even is to ask anybody else as if any other human being can tell you what you should be doing with your life. Not even your parents, not anybody. It doesn't matter how close they are to you. Nobody can know what you need to be doing with your life. But I want you to ask yourself, I want you to think about that question. What is my passion, right? Why do you want to figure that out? Why is that even a question that you're asking and I think we don't really go this extra layer. We think, of course, I want to figure out what my purpose is or this calling or whatever.

My passion is the one thing as you be doing with my life. But I really want you to ask yourself, why am I even trying to figure that out? The reason you are trying to figure that out is because you think at once you figure that out, then you will be happy, right? Once you start doing that thing, then you will have what all these people talk about of like being lit up and being in a flow and not feeling like you're working and all of that stuff, right? That's what you want. You want the happiness or the ease or the motivation or excitement of doing work that lights you up. So you think I have to find the thing outside of me. I have to find this thing out here. So that once I discovered that answer, I can work toward being happy, right?

I can begin doing the work that creates this incredible life I have for myself. And so you may not even be realizing that you are picking a destination goal without realizing you're doing it right. You don't think of that as a destination goal. We talked about in the last episode, you don't realize that you're not enjoying the journey to get to this thing because we couch it in different terms. Maybe that's not a goal for you, right? You never sat and did a goal-setting session where you said, my goal is to figure out my passion, but the reason, however, you label it, the reason you are on this search to figure out, what should I be doing with my life is because you think, if you figure that out, you're going to be happy. So that's what you're going after.

You think you need to discover this thing outside of yourself in order to be happy. And I just want you to know that you can be happy and fulfilled right now. I understand that that is a hard concept to accept when you are in a place where you feel deeply unhappy, we have been taught as a society, that things outside of us are what cause our feelings, right? We've been taught that it's everything outside of us that we have to try to control in order to feel a certain way. It's our husband or our spouse. It's our kids. It's my boss. It's the type of work I'm doing. It's all these other things. And then I can feel the way I want. And that is why so many of us feel so out of all the time, we feel as if we have no ability to manage our own emotions because when it's not up to you, how you feel it's up to what other people are doing will directly cause your feelings without any input from you.

You have no control. You have to then try to control everything outside of you in order to get that feeling. And that is what so many of us are doing. And that is why we're on this hamster wheel. That is why so many of us go to the next goalpost, right? By the next thing, do the next thing that gives me a hit of dopamine. That makes me feel a little bit happy for a little bit of time. And then when that wears off, then it's like, I have to find the next thing. Right? And that is why, if you listened to the podcast for a long time, I've talked a lot about the fact that the answer is not just getting another job. And so many people do this where it's like, they go to a career coach and they think I just have to switch my career.

And then they jump to something else and they're still not happy. And it's not surprising once you realize, because you're taking the same human brain from one job to the next, right? If you struggle with people-pleasing and not putting up boundaries and being a perfectionist, it doesn't matter what kind of job you're in. You're going to bring those qualities to the next job. Now you are hoping that maybe this job, the boss won't take advantage of it, right? You're hoping somebody else will put up boundaries for you. Somebody else won't just try to take too much. And so then you don't have to feel uncomfortable saying no, or I can't. And that's sort of the hope, but I want you to see how difficult of a game you're playing. Right? You're hoping that with each move, you're going to find some magical plays where you don't have to feel these uncomfortable feelings that you're having.

And you're giving so much of your power away. When you think everything outside of you has to be perfect or has to be a certain way for you to feel happy. And what happens a lot of times, when people do end up finding something that they do love, let's say, we see this all the time with people who already know what their passion is, right? Let's say they've had a passion, let's say their loved painting all their life. And then they start painting and they turn that into a business and they're super stressed out and they start hating painting. And then you start getting the advice from people where they say like, you should never turn your passion into profit, or you should never turn your passion into a business because then it'll lose all of the love. No, it will not.

If you know how to manage your brain, because what happens is that you are now not only doing the painting, you now have a lot of other fears and thoughts to manage. You have the fear of rejection of, what if nobody buys it? What if people don't think it's good enough? When you put it out there and nobody is buying, you have to manage all of that. And when you know how to do that, when you think the only way I'm going to be happy is if I can paint and nobody says anything bad about it ever. And nobody ever doesn't buy, or I don't have any failed launches. And it's a huge resounding success. Then I'm going to be happy. And we've already talked about this. Intellectually, you can understand that that's not true, but I want you to understand that even the thing that you are searching for outside of you, even if you find it, which I hope all of you do, I hope you find that purpose that you're looking for.

That calling that passion, whatever you want to call it, I hope you find it. I just want you to know that if you don't do the work that you need to do before you get there, it won't make you happy. And I say this from experience, right? I went to law school to be a public interest attorney. I wanted to help people. When I went into a big law firm, the first couple of years I've talked about it. I went to pay off my law school debt, and I knew I would be miserable there because I didn't care about the work and my whole identity and ego and everything was wrapped up in the fact that I am here to do social justice work. I'm here to help people. I'm not here to make money. And so I just kept waiting for the next thing. I just have to get out of here.
That's why I'm unhappy. It's not my own doing. That's made me so miserable in this job. I need to find this public interest work. That's my purpose that I will feel like I have so much more purpose. And then I went and became a federal public defender. And when I tell you that, when I saw this job description, it seemed as though the heavens had parted and somebody brought down the most perfect job for me. I can't even explain to you. I remember telling my husband, this is my dream job. And I was worried that I wasn't qualified enough because I wasn't. And I thought, if I just get this job, everything else will be fixed.

And I got the job and we all know how that story turned out. Right? And it was a really rude awakening for me. And it really required me to grapple with these ideas that I had created now, yes, the work I was doing felt very purposeful and that helped drive a lot of the motivation to do the work. But everything else that made the law firm life miserable for me also made the public defense life miserable for me. What I was doing was great for certain portion of the time, right? Having that motivation to help, but it doesn't motivate you, you know, 40, 50, 70 hours a week when you're working on it. When the vast majority of the stuff that I was doing, isn't tied to helping somebody, your brain gets back to like, Oh, this is awful. This is a lot of work.

This is too tiring. There are no boundaries. I don't want to work on weekends, whatever the thing is. Right. And so I just want you to understand that your goal is not to find your passion is not to find your purpose. It's not to find some dream career. Your goal is to have a fulfilled life is to feel fulfilled and happy in your life. And I promise you, you can feel that right now, wherever you are. That doesn't mean that you can't look for another type of job that does not mean that you can't try to find something that lights you up more, or you can't try to find something that pushes you and lets you experience more just because you want to. Not because you're so desperate because you feel like you're going to die in this job. You want something else to push you as a human, to see what you're capable of to use other facets of your personality.

That's why you should switch. Not because I'm so miserable here. And I think maybe if I jumped to this thing, maybe that'll fix all my problems because you're just in for a rude awakening. That's the only thing I want to prevent. A lot of times when people do that and they're still unhappy, then they start thinking maybe there's something wrong with me. Maybe I just can't be happy. Maybe I'm just one of those people who won't ever find their passion or have a job they enjoy. And I want you to know that's BS. And if you're thinking that it's wrong, the only problem quote, unquote that you have is that you don't know how to manage your own mind. That's it? And that's the good news is, is like, it's actually a fairly easy thing to fix. It's not - I should say simple.

It's not easy, but I want you to realize that's where you need to be focusing. You don't need more money. You don't need a thinner body. You don't need a new career. You don't need anything else to be happy where you are right now. And that's where I want you to start focusing. How can I live a more fulfilled life right now with what I have. I'm not saying that those things like money or increasing your health, if you have, or having health problems or whatever, new can't add happiness to your life, it can, but it will also create problems in other ways. And so I'm not saying you shouldn't strive to have the most mindblowing life that you can have. I'm all about that on this podcast. And I want to show you that even what you think is possible is so small in comparison to what is actually possible for you.

And I want you to go for that. I just don't want you to hate your life the whole time until you get there. I don't want you to make decisions out of fear instead of out of an excitement for what you're going to experience. And so I want to talk about the three things that I think you need to focus on in order to have this fulfilled life. The first one is managing your mind. I've said that a couple of times now, what does that mean? We've talked a lot on this podcast about the fact that life is both good and bad. I think the baseline is really understanding that okay, is really getting what the human experience is and learning to view that as not a problem, right? Learning, instead of saying, I had a bad day, what if you just had a human day?

What if knowing that every day is not going to be great, just take some of the pressure off of having to love every part of everything, right? Every part of your job or every part of your relationship or whatever, just knowing that there's good and bad. And when you get to whatever other place you think you need to be going, that will also be both good and bad. It will be 50 50. And so managing your mind comes in recognizing that when you are feeling sad or frustrated or, you know, worn out, overwhelmed, whatever, when we have these negative feelings that in our society, we have been taught to believe that something has gone wrong and something needs to be fixed. Right? The language we hear is, when you're sad, it's like, Oh, what's wrong. And as parents, we try to fix when our children are sad, make them happy.

And so when we send these messages that it's not okay to just be sad, to just accept that today and said, it's just the way it is. I'm gonna feel it. I'm gonna see how it feels in my body. I'm going to be okay with it. We add on shame. We add on guilt. Why can't I just be grateful? I don't know why I do this. We have all this drama. We argue with reality. We think, well, you know, we start blaming. If my husband just did this, then I could be happy instead of just, okay, I'm just sad about this situation. That's okay. Managing your mind comes in through stopping a lot of the stories, the limiting beliefs that you have realizing that their stories in the first place, understanding that they're just thoughts and that there is no moral attachment to the thought that you have, except for the one that you give it.

So you can stop the stories that you're telling yourself yesterday on a coaching call with one of my clients, she's a lawyer. And she was talking about going all in on this career that she has at a law firm. And then she also talked about how she has from when she went to law school, much like me. She had thought about doing public interest work and doing nonprofit work. So she didn't know really which way to go, does she quit this job and start doing nonprofit work? Or does she go all in? And we did a little bit of coaching. And then she realized that she never let herself go all in at the law firm and really try to enjoy the experience and see how far she'd get and see if she actually liked it. Because she was always guilting herself into thinking that she'd sold out by going to a law firm and that she should have gone into public and just firm.

And that she was, you know, whatever the, the story is that she had whatever, all of the money stories that we have, we're greedy, if we're going out of her money or whatever, it's all a story, but she'd caused herself so much pain in that career. And she had convinced herself that she hated the career because she never let herself actually enjoy it or to see if she could enjoy it or to see what parts of it she actually enjoyed. And this is what I'm talking about. When you can stop ruminating in your pain, when you can stop validating your pain over and over again, to see, you know, whether it's your spouse or to your friends, when you stop saying, let me give you this example. Have you noticed with somebody let's say a spouse or anybody, when you start focusing on something that you hate about them, it grows.

I mean, you can't notice anything else, but that thing that you hate about them, right? You, your brain looks for that evidence. It will point it out every single time and it will highlight it more and more. It's the same thing with any pain that you have. If you're constantly thinking about what you hate about your career, that is what you're going to see over and over again. You're going to talk about it with your coworkers. You're going to come home and talk about it with your spouse. You're going to about it to your friends. And then that thing becomes almost unbearable because that is the only evidence you are seeing in your brain about what it is like to work in that office. And you've created stories about that and you're making yourself miserable and you think it's just that work. You think that I have to leave this law firm or I have to leave wherever in order to be happy.

But if you just let go of a lot of this story, if you stop ruminating in that pain, if you learn how to manage your mind and really see where these stories come from, then you can look at and start exploring. How can I love where I'm at? What is the 50%? That's good about being here? What are the things I do like about here? And I promise you, when you focus on that, it starts making work a lot more pleasant. Now you might be asking, how do I learn to manage my mind? That's a great question. I very highly recommend coaching. I will forever spend money on coaching my own brain because I realize how impactful it is for my life in every aspect, whether it's my work, whether it's relationships, whether it's how I show up as a mother, whether it's my relationship to myself really everything.

So you can get yourself, a life coach or a mindset coach. You can go to therapy, you can do programs. You can read books, you can read, listen to podcasts, just make it a priority to start learning and getting aware and questioning your own thoughts. Just don't take your thoughts as if they're fact as if you're just reeling the news. This is just the weather. No, this is just your interpretation of the reality that you've created for yourself. So that's one, two is working on your relationship with yourself. And as a result, working on your relationship with other people, you might be wondering, what does this have to do with the work that I'm doing? Or the work I do for my career? And my simple answer is everything. Every issue that you have at work stems from your own self-concept for everybody that wants tips that comes to me and wants tips on people, pleasing or perfectionism or procrastination, or, you know, the need for external validation, the need to achieve all of that comes from a place of denying yourself.

Love, right, is thinking that you need other people to validate you is putting other people's needs before your own is not knowing how to put up boundaries. It's not trusting yourself to be able to take care of yourself is not having the confidence in yourself that you will figure it out and that you don't have to beat yourself up. Right? So many of us that negative self-talk has become so loud and so unbearable. We are our own biggest bullies and we have no idea how to stop it. And so we sabotage a lot of things in our lives, right? Whether it's our health or our relationships or our work or career. And I talked about earlier, how a lot of times, if you haven't dealt with this part, this is how it's going to show up in the next job, too. If you have such a deep seated need to be liked, that you can never say no to a boss.

Guess what? Changing the career. Isn't going to help that if you have such a strong need for external validation and you don't trust yourself to make a decision, guess what? Finding your passion and starting a business is not going to help that. And so I think that you should go after all of the dreams that you have. If you want to start a business, you want to go after another career. I just want to set you up for success in that. And so I want you to work on this relationship with yourself. How do you view yourself? How do you view your past? Do you love yourself? Do you have confidence in yourself? Can you rely on yourself? Do you rely on yourself, exclusively, meaning that you don't trust that anybody else can help you and you've completely cut other people off, right? Are you so scared about vulnerability that you will not let anybody else in?

All of these things are the trauma is that we don't deal. And then we continue the suffering throughout our life. And we don't understand why, right? We go from job to job. We go from relationship to relationship. We keep trying to fix things outside of us in the hopes that it will somehow fix how we feel inside. And I just want you to realize the power that you have in feeling happy now, without changing anything around you, outside of you, if you just work on that. And lastly, what I will say is I want you to think about what your ideal day would look like. If you had found this unicorn job that you're looking for... let's say you find the most passionate project that you have ever experienced. You're going to lose track of time. You're going to love it. Everything's going to be amazing.

I want you to think about what does your world and your life look like? It could be an ideal day. It could be an ideal week. I want you to really sit and think about, are you working with other people? Are you working alone? Are you doing something creative? Or are you doing something analytical? Are you working all day? Are you not? How many hours a week do you work? Do you have a boss? Do you manage people? Do you work completely by yourself? And if you do work by yourself and let's say, or not, however you work and however many hours you want to work, what are you doing with the rest of the time? Let's say you have your dream life. You're making as much money as you want. I want you to put a number on it. Let's say you want to make six figures or you want to make seven figures or you want to, I don't care.

Pick the number and then tell me in detail, write a list of everything that, that would afford you in your life, in a given week. Now I'm not talking about like, you can write the house and stuff too, but I'm just saying, let's say you have the house and you have all the stuff that you need. Okay. And we understand that money or having more time would let you travel. Maybe there are certain experiences... You want to experience a concert here and there or whatever. Those are all great. And those are all things we can think about later. But I'm thinking about the day to day, week to week, right? The mundane, when it happens, what does that life look like? And I want you to think about if you could outline your dream day, what would that be?

Because here's the thing. A lot of times the things that we think our dream life will afford us are things that we can do right now. I realized this very clearly when I did this exercise and I realized that I wanted to work for myself because I wanted to have all this time during the day. And I wanted to take time in the mornings to drink my coffee slowly while I read and not have to jump into work. And I want it to be able to stop in the middle of the day and do yoga or go for a walk and then come back work. And I wanted to be done by a certain time so I can make dinner. And this was my dream life. And then when I looked at it, I thought, I can do all that right now.
And yet I don't because my brain is constantly telling me I have more work to do. There's more to do. Right? I'm trying to get this business off the ground. There's another podcast to record. You. Can't take the time off right now to just rest. You can't take a nap today. Don't be lazy, whatever. You know, my story is in my head and we all do this. That is why so many people set destination goals and then get there and then just move it. Right? That is why so many people who think that what they want is fame and fortune. Get that fame and fortune and are still unhappy because yes, in the beginning, maybe you'll buy a couple of things and it's really cool. And then you'll have the same human brain. And I want you to realize that there's a lot that you can start incorporating from your dream day now.

And you can have that fulfilled life. Now what, you can stop putting it off and saying that, when I have this great job, then I'll all of a sudden have more time to journal or something or whatever that we've created in our lives that we think is going to be this ideal day. You can do that. Now I had another person in my group, coaching programs say on the call, it was great. She'd done this exercise and written out what her dream activities are, the things that she'd be doing if she had everything she wanted. And one of the things that she had written was volunteering for organizations that she loved. And she realized that she was already volunteering once a week at a place that she loved. And so she was saying that the next time she got up to go volunteering, she thought herself, well, here I go, just live in my dream life.

And it's such a beautiful example because so many of us do this. We're doing the things that we think we want to do. You know, when we have our ideal life and yet we're rushing through it, we're not actually enjoying it. We're going to the next one. We think that it's the next thing. We've lied to ourselves that we're going to get to some place and all of a sudden have it all figured out. And all of a sudden everything's going to make sense. And we're going to have, you know, have the most perfect balance today. And we're going to not put ourselves first, but you don't get there and arrive. And then all of a sudden, everything is perfect. You get there because you start implementing the things you want to do now. Right? You start deciding I'm not going to open my email and start work before I'm done with my cup of coffee.

I'm going to take that 15 or 20 minutes to read about in the morning. I'm going to do that right now. I know that my brain is going to be screaming and telling me it's time to start working. But if that's the ideal life I want to live, I'm going to try that out. Now, maybe you try it. And you're like, Hmm, it's not all it's cracked up to be. I don't really want her morning routine. And maybe you change it, but don't lie to yourself and think that there's going to be some destination where all of a sudden, you're going to have this fulfillment. You get to have that now. And I want for all of you to have that now. And so I want you to start being more intentional about what do I think I need to feel fulfilled right now?

Can I feel fulfilled and happy with what I have? Can I start figuring out what are the parts I love? What are the things I'm going to focus on that make me so happy? And I promise you that the more you focus on building that fulfillment the faster you will figure out what your passions are, because you will start building in time to do things that make you happy, which will lead to your passions. It is not what is my passion, so I can start living a fulfilled life. It is how can I start living a fulfilled life so I can rediscover my passions. And so I hope that you take this as a wake up call to start figuring out what your ideal day is, what your ideal life is and how you can start living into that right now, if you want help with this, I am starting a six month program that is focused entirely on this concept and this topic, we will dive deep into managing your mind into your concept, into how you deal with other people and into figuring out what it is that you actually want out of this life and what your passions are and how to start going after that.

If you would like to go all in on this, if you're ready to invest in yourself and you're ready, you know, I really want people that are committed to doing this work and are in a place where they want to do this work. I would love for you to apply and set up a time to chat, and we can see if it's a good fit. So you can go to quitter and apply there. And hopefully I can help you get on your way to living a fulfilled life right now.

All right, you guys, I hope this has helped and I will see you next week. Thank you so much for listening. I can't tell you how much it means to me. If you liked the podcast, please rate and review us on iTunes. It'll help other people find the show. If you want to connect or reach out, follow along on Instagram and Facebook at lessons from a quitter and on Twitter at Twitter podcasts, I would love to hear from you guys and I'll see you on the next episode.