Discovering Your Passion and Your Purpose (Part 1) | Max Woolf

Max Woolf is a motivational speaker and career coach for Gen Y and beyond. Max speaks to organizations, groups, sports teams, and individuals to help them maximize their potential, live life more fully, and discover their passion and purpose. He has developed a new context for living that invigorates life experiences and improves quality of life called Living at the Edge.

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I know that many people (myself included) advocate for job and career seekers to discover their passion and find their purpose.  I know from personal experience that this is something that is very easy to say and very difficult to do.  It is daunting because for most of us, ironically, it involves a lot of self-exploration, soul-searching, pushing our own buttons, answering the tough questions, and holding ourselves accountable.

There is also a significant amount of risk involved with truly following our passion because what if we fail at what we love to do?  Similarly, finding your purpose in life creates its own conundrum:  If you’ve found your purpose, what next?  The point is: It’s difficult, it’s scary, it’s a challenge, and that’s what life is all about!

If you’ve ever spoken to people who have truly discovered their passion and found their purpose, you know how happy, confident, and successful they are.  They are being driven from within by an intrinsic satisfaction and sense of self-worth that is in perfect alignment with who they are, which means that they are manifesting success simply by living their lives.

Sounds pretty enviable, right?  So, what are you going to do about it?

This multi-part blog series is going to help us answer the million dollar question: What is my passion and what is my purpose?

1. Let’s start by defining passion.

  • Passion is something that you do with zest, ardor, and excitement.
  • Passion is the fire that burns within.
  • Passion is doing what feels right and makes sense.
  • Passion is who you are on a deeper more spiritual level.
  • Passion is the curiosity to keep digging when you’ve reached the bottom.
  • Passion is timeless and effortless, while also being something that you pursue tirelessly with all your might.

Do any or all of those definitions resonate with you?  (They might not, if you’re passionate about language, metaphors, euphemisms, and word-smithing, you might keep searching for that perfect word that suits your passion for language).  The important piece right now is for you to begin to develop your own image of what passion is (or might look like) so that you know what it is when you find it.

2. Now that we have defined it, we’re going to jump right into finding it.

Are you ready?  Seriously, are you ready?  This is where the real work begins—the fun and the excitement!

In order to begin this exercise, you’re going to need something to record or share your thoughts.  This could be a notebook, a laptop, an audio recorder, a friend, a parent, or a colleague.  Ideally, it works best with someone or something that can serve as a mirror for who you truly are in a non-judgmental, supportive way.

This is going to be an exercise to explore who you are in your most successful, your most influential, your most transformative, your must enlightening and your most inspiring moments.  I want you to read this list of questions to spark your creative energy through a discussion, journal entry, blog, or recording:

  • Describe a time in your life when you felt most successful, most inspired, and most influential.
  • Describe a moment or series of moments when you were achieving greatness in any aspect of your life.  Think about what you would put in your personal highlight reel if your life was played back to you today recapping the most powerful moments of your life.
  • Describe a time in your life that was transformative – a moment that occurred and you acknowledged that things could never go back to the way that used to be after this event, conversation, or thought.

While you are doing this exercise, describe how you were feeling, what emotions were going through your head, what did other people say about you, why was it so moving, what made it successful, why was it inspiring, how was it influential, why do you remember it?  Remember, this is in your entire life, whether it was in a relationship, in a sport, in school, or by yourself.  You could have manifested this physically, emotionally, mentally, or spiritually.  The key is to just let your creativity flow!  Don’t censor or judge, just express yourself!

I hope that you found this exercise useful and helpful.  I’ll be back to help you transfer this glimpse of your passion into something actionable to help you take the next step.  Check Out: “Honing Your Passion (Part 2)

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