Here’s a Truth: When I was a teenager, I had lots of passions. I wanted to do a lot of things. I wanted to have a lot of life in my life.
I went to college … and my expectations of my life adjusted to my surroundings. I saw many other students struggling with the same questions I was asking – “What am I here to do on this planet? What is the purpose of my life?” – and not finding answers, same as me. No angelic epiphany for me, no bright, shining beacon to walk toward.
I kept looking outside of myself for my life’s direction. But my purpose was not outside of me. It was inside of me. I didn’t trust myself and couldn’t hear what I was saying to myself. My brain was yelling so loud that I could not hear my heart.
My brain was screaming extremely LOUDLY: “How will you make money?” “How are you going to afford [fill in the blank]?” “Where’s all the money and success coming from?” “What if [name of group] doesn’t like you? Then what, you failure?!”
Every time I had a nugget of a plan, my brain kept beating me up: “Oh that will never work.” “Someone has probably already done that before.” “Don’t take a risky gamble … you might fail and THEN WHAT?” It took me 14 years to stop listening to my brain. My brain was fear-addicted and I believed everything my brain was thinking at me.
Can you relate to this at all?
So, how do you uncover your passion, your purpose?
Step 1: Stop listening to your brain. In fact, tell your brain to “Shut It!” as often as you can. Your brain is a can opener … it solves problems and That’s all. Don’t ask your brain to drive your life … that’s not what it’s good at. It’s good at solving math problems, or comparing A to B, etc. Because it’s good at warning you of potential danger – “Don’t go near the edge of the building!” – your brain makes for a lousy life director.
Step 2: Start listening to your heart. Your heart wants you to listen to it. Your heart has been calling you every beat of your life, patiently waiting for you to wake up to its rhythm. Get quiet; listen to your heart. Feel the dreams you had before ‘reality’ or ‘adulthood’ or ‘college life’ infected them. Be ambitious – write down five things – really, really big things – you want to accomplish before you finish your professional career. What those five things are is up to you; in my seminars students have given examples that worked for them: “Cure juvenile diabetes.” “Raise the standards of health care for an entire country.” Pick five things you would do if you absolutely knew with 100 percent certainty that you COULD NOT FAIL.
Step 3: Tell someone. Describe your dreams, your plans, your hopes, your goals to one other person. Watch them closely for their response. Are they inspired? Are they motivated to do more in their life than they are doing now? Keep these people close to you; they want to help you succeed.
Are they scared? Do they ask if you are being ‘realistic’? These kinds of reactions tell you a lot about how they are living their lives. Don’t listen to their brain, and be mindful that they are letting fear run their lives.
Step 4: Write down your five things every day. Do it first thing in the morning; do it while you’re brushing your teeth if you have to. But write them down every day. Remind yourself of who you really are and what you really want to achieve in your life.