I am Sharmin Banu, Leadership and Career coach working with mid-level technology leaders to bring more growth, purpose and joy.
Too often I hear, “I know I hate my job, but I don’t know either what else I would do- I don’t know where my passion is”. I don’t find it surprising at all! As a matter of fact I have had the same question a while ago; it took me months and years to find out where my passion is.
According to Wikipedia, Passion can be expressed as a feeling of unusual excitement, enthusiasm or compelling emotion towards a subject, idea, person, or object. A person is said to have a passion for something when they have a strong positive affinity for it. In my personal definition passion is something that makes our lives more exciting, meaningful and fulfilling.
As a coach I learned a simple methodical approach to help my clients get in touch with their passion. Basically my approach is to find out the values [see footnote for definition] that are the basic ingredients to make a person excited or passionate. My assumption is that if a person is involved in activities that contains those core ingredients, they will feel their passion.
I ask the client to do following tasks sequentially. Note that each of them will take some time:
a. List down some occasions from past when you felt excited and felt great about yourself, the activity was very meaningful to you.
b. When you think about those occasions, go one level deeper. Notice what value or set of values were present there.
c. Notice which values are occurring more frequently. Those common ones are good candidate to be your core values.
d. Think of some activities where some of those values will be present.
e. Make a plan to try out some of those activities. Continue doing it for sometime.
f. Notice, what do you feel?
As a former software engineer I am very much tempted to draw a flow chart and show that this process can repeat until you find the activities you are excited and passionate about – but you get the idea.
It is very important that you keep an open mind, learn from the experience, and are ready to take some risk and stretch in order to find the “perfect” combination of values and the activities to apply those. This is when you will discover your true passion and get excited about your life once again.
The bigger question however is – how serious are you to find out your passion? What will it give you? How courageous can you be to face the truth? How ready are you to trade in your personal or financial comfort to make your life more exciting and fulfilling? All the answers have to be “very much” before you start the quest for your passion!
Value – Each person has his or her unique priority for personal values. While people tend to feel quite strongly about these qualities, values are neither positive nor negative, nor are they good or bad. They do, however, have a profound influence on the quality of life. Some example of values: courage, innovation, love, care, learning, spirituality, nature, autonomy, accomplishment, community, challenge, etc.