There’s a phrase I hear from many of my clients that breaks my heart every time.
Just last week I heard it again from a new client (who we’ll call Casey). She desperately wants to find her passion and feel like she has some sort of clear career direction, and yet, midway through our session she confided her biggest fear about this.
She asked me, in a slightly anxious tone, “What if I don’t have a passion or talent? What if I’m the kind of person who’s just not passionate about anything?”
Even though I’ve heard it more times than I can count, this question always hits me square in the chest.
Not only could I so clearly see how insanely untrue it was for her — seriously, every single client I’ve ever worked with has been hugely talented, passionate, and fascinating, even if they couldn’t see it at first — but it also made me remember feeling the exact same way several years ago.
IF YOU’RE WONDERING IF YOU EVEN HAVE A PASSION … YOU’RE NOT ALONE
As Casey continued opening up about her deepest concerns, it reminded me of all my own old fears.
Because Casey didn’t think she had an innate calling, she’d come to believe that she would simply never enjoy working.
She’d given up on ever feeling passionate about her work.
In fact, her goal when she started coaching was simply to feel “not miserable” about her job. She’d come to the conclusion that she would probably never really enjoy her career, so she came to me hoping I could help her feel better about settling. The worst part was, she was so disconnected from her desires, passions, and motivators, that she admitted to me that she worried she was becoming “boring.”
Yeah … that didn’t fly with me.
Week after week, I helped Casey reconnect with the amazing aspects of herself that she’d been taking for granted, burying under outdated beliefs, and simply ignoring for years.
I’ve heard hundreds of people voice the same fear that maybe they don’t have a “thing” … maybe they’re just not passionate about anything. As normal as this fear is, it’s never true.
To be alive is to have passion, preferences, interests, curiosities, and ideas. It’s part of our very human-ness. To be a human inherently means you have the capacity for passion … you may have just temporarily disconnected yourself from your passion.
DID THE UNIVERSE FORGET ABOUT ME?
You know how some people have known, since they were 5 years old, what they wanted to “be” when they grew up? My mom, for example, knew she would become a nurse when she was in elementary school, and she never wavered in that knowing. And she’s happily been a nurse for her entire career. I think that’s amazing!
But I’ve never been one of those people.
If you’d asked me as a kid what I wanted to do as a “grown up,” I would’ve given you a different answer depending on what day you asked. There were a few things I always enjoyed — reading, writing, spending lazy afternoons outside, having long, deep conversations and making up elaborate stories with my best friends, etc. — but they were mostly things I did just for fun. They weren’t anything you could make a “real” career out of.
When it came time for me to get my first “real job” several years ago, I couldn’t help but feel like, if the Universe was responsible for doling out passions, talents, and strengths, maybe it had somehow forgotten about me. Maybe I’d been left out. I was pretty sure I just didn’t have a “calling.”
Thankfully, some small, persistent voice inside of me didn’t allow me to give into that fear. I had a tiny spark of hope that I really could feel passionate about my work in the world.
THE ONE SHIFT THAT CHANGED EVERYTHING
For years, I’d been limiting myself based on self-judgment and tons of fear.
I judged myself for being “good but not great” at several things. And I didn’t believe I could have a real career based on my natural talents, which were mostly “soft skills,” like communicating and relating to people. If I’d given into those fears, Clarity on Fire would never had existed.
Everything shifted for me when I finally gave myself permission …
… Permission to explore what truly energized me,
… Permission to pursue an unconventional path,
… Permission to believe that my interests and natural talents were “legitimate” career options.
Permission changes everything.
My client Casey was disconnecting herself from feeling passion based on beliefs she picked up from her family. She loved yoga and told me she secretly dreamed of becoming an instructor and eventually opening her own studio, but her family (who were mostly doctors, lawyers, or accountants) didn’t view that as a “legitimate” career. So she shut the idea down before it had even fully formed in her mind.
Permission changed everything for Casey, too. She let go of her family’s beliefs and is now in yoga teacher training, where she’s feeling more alive than she’s felt in years.
When you give yourself permission to explore your interests, desires, and talents, with no judgment and no limiting beliefs clouding things up, you open up the door for reconnecting to your passions. As soon as you take the limitations off of yourself (because no one else will remove them for you), you allow yourself to feel curious and passionate again. You allow opportunities and doors to open for you, often to things you never thought possible.
HERE’S WHAT I KNOW FOR SURE
It’s taken me a few years to really, truly believe this (and to see enough “proof” in the lives of countless clients), but I can now tell you with complete certainty: Everyone has a passion. I 100% believe that every single person is wildly talented and capable of amazing things.
The problem is that most of us are extremely disconnected from our talents and desires because we never gave ourselves permission to explore and appreciate our own uniqueness.
Everyone has a passion. Give yourself permission to explore yours in a judgment-free zone.
Kristen (+ Rachel) SaveSave
“so disconnected from her desires, passions, and motivators, that she admitted to me that she worried she was becoming “boring.””
Whaaat? Someone else feels like they’ve lost herself, just like I do? And its true. I HAVE become boring, even though I’ve always been curious about EVERYTHING. As I’ve gotten older and become disenchanted with job after job, my spark has fizzled.
Why is it so hard to pin down the ONE thing that I am *truly* passionate about + also really good at?
I think it’s hilarious that someone else who goes by the name Chris wrote a comment that could have come straight from my own mouth.
I’ve always loved learning and curiosity would have taken all nine of my lives and then some were I a cat. However, there aren’t jobs that allow you to just sit around and think and wonder and explore. (I think. This site is making me question that.)
I’m glad I found this place, and that I got to read my own words from another Chris’ mouth!
I feel the same way that both of you do – and the part about becoming boring is something I have been worrying about for months now!!!! I always thought I was an interesting person, but now can’t even seem to have a proper conversation with people as I seem to have nothing of interest to say. I’ve been in my job for 6 years and while I loved it to begin with I’ve become more disenchanted as time has gone on. To the point that I am sat at work right now writing this. I’m not doing my best anymore which could make me cry (and has on occasion). I have no passion for it anymore and am starting to resent it. I can’t stand the micro-managing and the back stabbing (we are not treated as individuals, but as cogs in a machine). I need to get out or risk losing myself! So glad to know I’m not alone in the way I feel.
Thanks in advance for sharing the video…I’m looking forward to watching it!
This sounds like something I need.
I was just having this conversation with my husband last night. Can’t wait to hear your input. Thanks.
I’m not so sure that everyone has a passion. Or rather, not everyone has a passion that can be a job. What if your passion is joking around with your friends? Or being entertained? Or having nice things? In my entire life (a few days shy of fifty) I have never found an activity that both energized me AND that could also be a job.
Hi Jon! Actually, we totally agree with you! If you haven’t taken the Passion Profile Quiz yet, we highly recommend that you do.😄 It sounds like you might be a Thriver, based on how you’re describing your feelings about the concept of passion. After you take the quiz, I’d listen to this episode for more of debrief on the 4 major profiles, and how each relates to the concept of passion and career differently! https://clarityonfire.com/4-passion-profiles/