Quick announcement: Once or twice a year we do a FREE online workshop. This coming Tuesday, January 31, we’re doing one about 3 ways to have an exciting, inspiring, fulfilling career … even if you don’t believe it exists. To attend live OR get the replay, register here. Now on to the blog!


Lately, I’ve been telling any new client I meet:

“I wish I could tell everyone how I REALLY feel about this whole ‘finding my passion’ and ‘career coaching’ thing.”

And then I realized … I have a blog. Maybe I could, you know, share my thoughts with people? Like I’ve been doing twice a month for years now?

But in all seriousness, I know why it didn’t immediately occur to me to share how I felt.

It had everything to do with perception.

When you have a blog and a business, you’re taught how important it is to keep working your proverbial corner so that people have a clear idea of who you are and what you can do for them.

And while that’s wise advice for anyone trying to make a name for themselves as an expert, it also means that you’ve got to amputate big pieces of what you do, think, and feel (at least publicly) for the sake of not confusing people.

For me and Kristen, that’s often meant not talking about the depth and breadth of what we do.

Sure, we could say on our site, “We help people figure out every single thing about their lives.” But true as it may be, it’s not very compelling. As far as business goes, it’s worked way better to keep our footing solidly on the corner of ‘career’ and ‘passion.’

But sometimes, I itch to go a little deeper. I’ve got complicated feelings about this whole passion and career and life thing that we’re all trying to do … and while I may not be able to talk about those feelings on a sales page, I’m pretty sure that’s exactly what blogging is for.

I’M NOT SURE IF ANYONE ACTUALLY CARES ABOUT PASSION

That sub-heading alone is a pretty wild thing to say, given that we have two courses and a quiz with “passion” in the title. {Insert wide-eyed, red-faced, panicked-looking emoji here.}

But the longer I coach, the more I’m realizing the truth:

When people say they want to ‘find their passion,’ I think they really mean, ‘I suspect there’s something bigger, deeper, and more fulfilling to life than what I’ve got, and I want to know what that is and how to get it.’

Do most people like the idea of waking up in the morning excited, energized, and looking forward to the work ahead of them? Yes.

Do most people want to spend their lives doing something meaningful that they care deeply about? Yes.

So, naturally, they believe that ‘finding their passion’ is the way to have both of those things — the constant energy and the deeper meaning.

But here’s the problem with that:

‘Passion’ is not synonymous with ‘career,’ and yet most people treat it as if it is.

Because the vast majority of us have to earn a living some way, and given that working takes up almost all of our daily time, it’s normal that most of us get triggered into existential angst by our jobs.

We’re spending most of our lives doing something we have to keep doing in order to survive, and usually that job is (at best) mediocre … and just as often, it’s actively bad.

The outcome is that we start feeling stuck and overwhelmed and confused.

And then we start asking the bigger, deeper questions about life, like:

“What is the point of this?” and “Is this all there is?” and “If this feels so wrong, then what could possibly feel right?”

AND HERE’S THE KICKER

Because most of us get triggered into asking those big, existential, point-of-life type questions because of our career situation …

… we think the answer happens the same way — through our career.

We start thinking, “If I could just figure out my passion, then I wouldn’t feel like this anymore. Everything would make sense. There would be a point to my life and all of this angst would go away.”

This isn’t wrong … but it’s also not totally right, either.

Your career is one way that you might get triggered into asking the deeper questions about life and what you’re doing here, but it’s not the only way.

There are plenty of other avenues that get people to the same place. Maybe it’s a romantic relationship, or a health crisis, or a near-death experience, or moving across the country.

Honestly, just about anything can shake you, wake you up, and make you start questioning your path and your purpose.

What all of these catalysts have in common is that they make you think about how you’ve been spending your time, the kind of person you want to be, and what your deeper values really are.

And that is what people are really getting at when they say, “I want to find my passion.”

What they’re actually saying, but have a hard time finding the words for, is:

“I want to get clear on how I’m spending my time here on Earth, what kind of human being I really want to be, and what values I’m meant to live out while I’m here.”

They sense, without knowing how to say it, that that’s where deeper fulfillment and purpose actually come from.

WHICH MEANS … IT’S NOT REALLY ABOUT WHAT YOU DO

It would be convenient if the way to find deeper meaning, purpose, and lifelong fulfillment was as simple as, “My passion is being a doctor!”

Then, all of us could go shopping for passion. We could pluck our pre-packaged “doctor,” “lawyer,” “teacher,” or “astronaut” boxes off the shelf and live happily ever after, without having to think about any of the deep, existentially scary things ever again.

But by now, you know that’s not how it works.

Your passion isn’t just about what you do — the title you give at a networking event, or the label they’d slap on you if you ever appeared on The Bachelor — it’s about how you live your life. ALL of it, including your career.

The path to deeper meaning and fulfillment is about living a life that’s a full expression of who you are and what you value. Your job is one important piece of that.

The thing I value the most is freedom. Everything I do, and everything I am, revolves around that:

Most of us never get asked what we deeply value, so we never get the chance to live a life that’s a reflection of our innermost values.

Plus, it’s likely that you, like nearly all of us, have buried any chance of personal fulfillment under layers of crap that you’ve taken on over the years — fear about what people will think of you, guilt about breaking with your parents’ beliefs, shame about not wanting what you ‘should’ want, and on and on.

And now, you’ll get what I mean what I say that is what I actually do:

Yes, I help people find their passion. And yes, I help them get clear on their career direction. But really, I help people figure out who they are, what they value on the deepest level, and how they really want to live their lives. Then I help remove all of the junk that keeps them from making that possible.

IF THIS IS HITTING HOME FOR YOU, YOU’RE IN THE RIGHT PLACE

If you like the idea of your whole life — your career, and everything else — being meaningful, fulfilling, and energizing, then the Passion Plan Virtual Experience might be the perfect place for you.

It’s a 4-week online experience where we, Rachel and Kristen, expertly guide you through every piece of the ‘finding my passion’ process.

Week by week, you get access to new videos and assignments. We also have a live hangout every week where we have deeper conversations and answer your questions. And one of everyone’s favorite parts is always the forum, where you can connect with other people going through the experience and get your questions answered by us.

Enrollment opens next Tuesday, January 31st. If you add your name to our VIP list, you’ll have the opportunity to grab a free coaching session with one of us when enrollment opens.

We’re only doing this twice in 2017 — the next time will be in the fall. So if now feels like the right time to stop spinning your wheels, we hope you’ll join us!

Now, I’d love to hear from you! Come share your reaction to what I shared today, in the comments.

TOO LONG, DIDN’T READ? LISTEN INSTEAD!

If reading long blogs just isn’t your deal, you’re in luck:

We’re now recording our blogs for you!

Here’s Rachel reading this week’s blog:

IF YOU LIKED THIS, THEN YOU’LL ALSO LOVE …

What I’m doing to follow my passion more in 2017

From crying in your office to landing a dream job

If you’re waiting for your passion, you’re doing it wrong

What if I’m not passionate about anything?

Much Love,

Rachel (+ Kristen)

9 comments | add a comment | Share this > Tweet this > Email this >
  1. Fantastic. Love. This part really hit home for me:

    “I want to get clear on how I’m spending my time here on Earth, what kind of human being I really want to be, and what values I’m meant to live out while I’m here.”

    <3

    Have you guys ever considered an implementation program for graduates of PPVE? A group accountability option? That would be really helpful for those who can't make the coaching investment, but need the support. I have some other thoughts on it, if interested.

    1. Hey Rachel! You know, we have never thought about that, but we’re very open to considering it, especially considering we’ve got some clear votes of affirmation from other past PPVE-ers :-). Why don’t you email me with your thoughts?

  2. Yes! What’s so true about this is after having you as a coach, Rachel, I am in the same exact job. Still! And a few years ago, it would’ve made me sad and confused and wondering what I’m doing next. What I realized is, sometimes it’s okay to actively wait for the right job while pursuing my “passion” separately. And it’s okay to question and redefine my passion as I grow. Finding out what deeply matters to me helps me face my career and my current reality with a new perspective. Where I once felt stuck, I now feel observant and grateful. Where I once desperately wanted to rush to the next thing (thinking it’d be the “thing”), I’ve learned the hard but important practice of patience and asking for the things that are truly important to me. And because of that, I’ve met interesting people that have impacted by life and have learned more about who I am and what I want at life than I ever would have if I would’ve just woken up and instantly had the “thing” (title, salary, etc.) that I thought I was searching for. People see it in me too – even my doctor recently said I inspired her. Miss you! And if anyone is considering the Passion Virtual Experience – I’m here to tell you it’s SO worth it! It took me much longer than 4 weeks for things to click and I’m still putting in work – but the understanding you gain and the tools you’ll receive can be life changing.

    1. This is such a great statement, Sara! Thank you so much for sharing it and updating me! You know, I’ve seen people get their dream job on the first try, 2 weeks after they’ve started looking. I’ve also heard from people 18 months or 2 years later. You just never know what life has in store! And you’re right — you *could* treat that time that you’re ‘waiting around’ for things to work out very passively, OR you could actively look for ways to appreciate it and things that you can learn while you wait. I’m so glad you’re focused on the latter! 🙂

  3. Brilliant!
    Thank you. Thank you for this perspective.
    We live in such a dichotomy which sometimes sends me into a tilt-a-whirl of cognitive dissonance; thanks for stopping the ride with this blog 🙂

    “Passion is not synonymous with career.” – YES!

    With gratitude,
    Jenn-

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