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Nicole Williams

Nicole Williams

July 2, 2015

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Pinpointing Your Passion

It’s the most exciting process to witness. A young woman lamenting on how she can’t find her passion, only to be asked, “What topic of conversation do you absolutely have to participate in?” Suddenly, she’s got 10, 15, 20 answers. Her face lights up and she lists off ideas faster than she can speak. Inevitably, her brow soon furrows. She stops. “But this is just about conversation. I need to find my P-A-S-S-I-O-N.”

People talk about passion with a capital P. They say the word with reverence, like you need to hold a séance or consult a Ouija board to conjure it up from the Great Beyond. From books to magazine articles to reality TV, finding our passion has become our new religion. It’s a solemn, serious mission we accept with the gravity of a search for the Holy Grail. But once people start answering simple, basic questions about their lives and loves, I can’t tell you how often they finally unearth the root of their passions.

And here’s the most important thing to remember (this is crucial!): Passion is not a synonym for magic. When you tap into your passions, you’re not going to feel the world slide into slow motion, see fireworks explode in your head, or hear Pavarotti singing the soundtrack to your life. Passions are everywhere – they are the topics you debate with your friends, the films that tell stories you cherish, the way you feel when you take care of your four-year-old niece. Passions are big, small, dramatic and subtle. They’re everywhere you are.

If you are having trouble identifying your passions, here are a couple of questions to ask yourself:

What are you good at doing? If you’re not sure, ask yourself what you enjoy. Most often we enjoy what we excel at.
What gives you energy?
What do you have strong feelings or opinions about?
What are you known for? What do you do better than anyone else in your circle of friends or family?
What are you talking about or doing when others observe you ‘come to life’?

This is an excerpt from Wildly Sophisticated: A Bold New Attitude for Career Success.