“Your purpose is to follow your passions.” -Google Images
Sounds easy enough, right? Follow our passions and it will surely lead us to a more fulfilling life.
Or will it?
Here’s the thing you need to consider before you follow your “passion”.
Sometimes hobbies are mistaken as passions. For example- I love photography, and I love learning more about how to take good pictures of my kids, capture images that will reinforce a message I’m sharing in a presentation, or help me find the right angle at which to stand so I look good without having to do the awkward duck lips or hands on my hips. Some might say I’m “passionate” about photography. But I don’t love it enough to be motivated to be good enough so people will pay me to take pictures.
I also love movie quoting. One night, during my freshman year in college, my roommate came home after a date with a guy she didn’t really like but had agreed to go out with. I thought it would be entertaining to quote Ace Ventura (Pet Detective, not When Nature Calls-a very important distinction) from beginning to end as he sat and watched in horror and shock. We didn’t see him much after that. That’s when I knew I had a gift. Although I have had aspirations to create an organization called N.M.Q.A. (National Movie Quoters Association), where members have to converse ONLY using movie quotes, again I don’t love it enough to go through the work to actually make it happen.
So here is my advice for anyone looking to change careers or figure out what they are truly meant to do.
FOLLOW THE ENERGY
“Your experience of life expands with the more energy you have.” (Matthew Kelly, Off Balance)
Take a minute to think of the times in your life when you are so full of excitement, so full of energy that time seems to stand still. Those moments when you felt so alive and so at peace with what you were doing and where you were. Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi, a Positive Pshychologist, calls this “flow”.
Following your energy is the only way you will find the inner strength, motivation and grit to do the work that needs to be done. The research, the learning, the fear conquering, and the rejection handling.
Here are a few questions that might help you to follow your energy:
1. What are some things (outside of your family, of course) that give you so much joy, you can’t imagine not having them in your life?
For me- exercise, humor, music and professional growth are a few. If someone told me I couldn’t exercise anymore, I couldn’t expand my mind by reading profound books, I couldn’t get my grove on as I listen to classic jams such as Warren G’s “REGULATOR!!” (I know you just yelled “Mount Up!”), or I couldn’t make people laugh by telling them about my embarrassing moment in yoga class (you’ll have to message me for that one), I would feel as though they were taking away my air. These are a MUST HAVE in my life. Think about what gives you energy. Write them down.
2.What could these things have in common?
I read an awesome article by Fast Company the other week on how to increase imagination. One of the tips was to arrange a “blind date” between 2 ideas. That’s exactly what iMoveU is!! It’s a result of me asking myself over and over, “If I were to combine exercise, personal growth and humor, what would it look like?”.
3. What is just one thing you could do that would help you increase your energy flow?
Experts say research indicates that people are much more likely to achieve their goals when they focus on one at a time. Add 3-4 goals and you are less likely to achieve any of them. (By “experts”, I mean a life coach who taught a free class I took at the YMCA several years ago. I haven’t gotten around to Googling it, so I’m going to take her word for it.)
When we spend our days going through the motions, or holding on to fear, stress, anger, anxiety and doubt, we lose energy. The more you follow what gives you energy, the more energy you will have to give to those you love. I started working on iMoveU about 2 months ago. I’ve never slept less and had more energy in my entire life. I think I required more sleep before because I had such high levels of stress in my life. I’m not saying I no longer have stress, but it’s the good kind.
5. Where can you find inspiration to help you find and sustain your energy?
I’m inspired by so many people on a daily basis. That’s why I created iMoveU. In short, iMoveU because YOU MOVE ME. I’m just here as a messenger to share with the world the amazing things I see and read.
4. How can you reframe your questions?
Several years ago I read the book Leading With Questions. It’s a goldmine of information, and it’s a must read for anyone looking to work with and influence others.
I think often times people confuse goals with results. If your goal is to lose 10 pounds and you ask yourself “How can I lose those 10 pounds”, you might be motivated to do it in an unhealthy way. Instead, ask yourself “How can I make clean eating and exercising irresistible?” or “How can I live a healthier lifestyle?” It might take a few failed experiments, but eventually if you keep asking the question you will find what works for you, and those 10 pounds you haven’t been able to lose for years will fall off and stay off as a result. I’ve tried just about every exercise DVD under the sun. All versions of P90X, Insanity, Focus T25, Ripped in 30, Kettlenetics, Dailey Method….the list goes on and on. I’ve found a few that are my favorite and I use those when I don’t have time to go to the gym or run outside. Sometimes my boys attempt to do them with me, making it even more rewarding.
I have a huge sweet tooth. Although the meals I eat are healthy, I can plow through a box of girl scout cookies like Kobayashi in a hot dog eating contest. If I ask myself “would you like a king size bag of skittles?”, heck yes I want to taste that rainbow! But, if I ask myself “would you like to poison your body with artificial colors and flavors such as red #40, some of which are linked to cancer?” No thanks, I’m good.
5. Do you know who you are trying to reach?
To be successful, you need to know exactly who you are trying to reach and what problem you are solving for them. I know iMoveU isn’t for everyone. I’m 100% ok with that. In the menu of life, I’m offering seared ahi tuna with a side of kale chips and quinoa. If you prefer a burger and fries, I probably don’t have what you are looking for. When I tell people about my idea, they often times ask me how I would modify it for those who don’t really exercise or don’t want to. Although I will always provide examples of modified moves (maybe you are just now choosing to exercise, maybe you just had a baby and are not in shape, or maybe you just had surgery and need to be careful with your wrist), if you don’t want to get off your butt and move, if you don’t believe you should challenge your perspectives and broaden your horizons, then iMoveU isn’t for you.
In summary, follow your sources of energy, connect the dots and see where life takes you.
(This blog post was inspired by several creatives who have shared similar messages over the past few months, including: Amber Rae, Derek Sivers, and Seth Godin.)