Do You Really Need Passion and Purpose?

The short answer is no.

You can get along just fine without a passion or purpose in life. In fact, most people do. Most people are reactors in life. Most people do about what's expected (or less) and wait to respond to whatever is coming at them.

For me, the more important question is, “Do you really want a life without passion and purpose?”

Frankly, that question didn't dawn on me until I reached my mid-forties. Prior to that, I had a few goals in life, mostly driven by societal expectations and getting certain needs met.

  • I wanted to make good grades in school so I could go to college. Check.
  • I wanted to go to a reputable college to get a good education. Check.
  • I wanted to get a job after college so I could live on my own. Check.
  • I wanted to do well in my job so they would like me and promote me. Check.
  • I wanted to get married so I could create the perfect family I didn't have. Check.
  • I wanted to be a great mom so I could give my kids the upbringing I wanted. Check.

But then slam, bam, boom.

My kids grew up and didn't need my constant nurturing and attention. One left home and the other two pass me in the night with a cursory nod and a hand out for cash.

I was left holding the bag, and the bag was empty. My purpose was winding down, and my passion was drying up.

I had spent most of my 20's marking time in a career that was good enough, but it was really just a weigh station until I found the right guy and started a family (the family I always wanted but didn't have growing up).

That's not a bad goal, but it was a goal based on needs unmet, a hole in my heart, rather than a passion for unleashing my potential, my desires, my abilities, my values, and my life purpose.

As I said, I didn't even know those were options.

I saw passionate, purpose-filled people along the way, but I assumed they were born that way. I assumed the had something I didn't. That was just how the chips fell.

So fast-forward again to a few years ago when my oldest daughter left home — when I hit the wall and wandered around the house re-cleaning the clean spots. Since my previous career in PR wasn't founded on passion, I couldn't reignite the flame to start it again. There wasn't a flame.

I won't bore you with all of the details of my angst and searching over the following few years, but suffice it to say I was a blind person seeking something unknown.

  • I didn't know where to start.
  • I didn't know what to do.
  • I didn't even know what I was looking for.

One day I had a book land in front of me just at the right time. It was called Fearless: Creating the Courage to Change the Things You Can by my friend and fellow coach Steve Chandler. In the book, Steve says you don't have to be a reactor in life — you can be a creator.

You don't have to wait for something to come along, to land in your lap, to make itself known. You can create something from scratch, just the way you want it, from your own passionate imaginings.

That was exciting to me. It gave me the first glimmer of hopeful expectation. But I still had a huge barrier: I had no idea what I wanted to create.

Some people know exactly what they want to create, but they don't know how to go about it. Others, like me, are uncertain about what excites them, what they feel passionate about.

I had bypassed that stage in my 20's. I had unknowingly put myself on hold, waiting for the man and the family. I hadn't questioned, tested, explored, risked, or stepped too far out of my comfort zone. Good enough was good enough for me. (And my good enough was pretty good.) Maybe this is your situation too.

But something else Steve said shifted my thinking even further. You don't have to wait until you know your passion to go after it. Just try something. Take a test drive. Sample from the Pu Pu platter of life! Allow yourself to feel passionate about creative experimentation.

So that's what I did. I jumped into creative experimentation.

  • I took personality assessments to learn more about who I am and what motivates me.
  • I read a lot of great books to inspire and educate me.
  • I asked myself a bunch of questions.
  • I joined workshops on finding your passion and purpose.
  • I went to a career coach.
  • I researched a variety of careers, especially coaching and counseling.
  • I learned what kind of education I needed for those two careers that “felt right” to me.
  • I read as much as I could about coaching programs, and even thought I wasn't 100% sure, I enrolled in a course.
  • I graduated from the coaching program and set up a coaching business, including a small blog to market my services.
  • I discovered I loved blogging, so I took a blogging course.
  • I started blogging regularly and created a professional blog. I discovered that I had enormous passion for the combination of coaching and blogging (Oh, hello passion. I see you have finally arrived!)
  • I have created a passion course for others, a habits course, a self-confidence course, written ebooks, guides, reports, guest posts, done interviews, created videos, started other blogs, coached and helped thousands of people.

Do I really need passion and purpose?

No.

Is my life better with it?

How can I express to you how much better it is?

How can I make you feel what it feels like to wake up in the morning and rush to the computer because I'm so excited about what I'm doing, what might be waiting for me, what I can create today?

How can I express the way the words are rushing from my brain to my fingertips right now because this is so damned fun, such an amazing fit for who I am, who I want to be, and the purpose I have for my life?

Maybe you are getting the message!

Do YOU really need passion and purpose? Probably not.

But do you want it?

If so, it's time to stop reacting right now, and be the creator of your life.

Here are ten reasons why you want to discover your passion.

Comments

  1. That last line gave me goosebumps…I’m in love with the idea of creating my own life – custom ordering exactly what I want! But sometimes it seems impossible…like people who have done that always lived that way (kinda like you mentioned – as if they had something you didn’t). Especially when I read blogs like yours, it’s hard to imagine its humble beginnings..So it’s super inspiring to hear your story and know that, even for you, it was a journey – and that you started without a clue! Thanks for sharing your wisdom and experiences, Barrie. 🙂

  2. William Veasley says:

    It sounds like you have been pretty focused your whole life! Your checklist is also pretty impressive and I hope someday I can make some of the same checks off my list! I feel like I have a lot to say, but I better not go on too long (sometimes I can over due it).
    Most people do not need passion and purpose in their lives because they are lazy, no good “couch-potatos.” Personally, I have to have passion and purpose. I know my passion and I know my purpose on this earth. Sometimes, I have a battle with my conscience (usually at least three rounds) because it is either girls (love) or pursuing my purpose.
    I was in a relationship and it was nice while it lasted (not saying I could not make another last), but it really had me off focus. My school work was not as good, I stopped writing as much, and I was spend most my time with her.
    You are probably going to tell me I have to manage my time and make time, but for a writer . . . twenty four hours in a day is already not enough as it is!

    Would love to hear your thoughts! ( :

    Thanks for the inspiring article! Wish you the best!

    God bless,
    William Veasley

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi William,
      Well, there is more than one type of passion! Falling in love definitely wrecks havoc on your focus, but it is a pretty thrilling time. After the initial euphoria dies down, you can create balance in your life between your relationship and your work. We need that balance. I know how it feels to love what you do so much that you let the rest of the world slip by. But balance is essential and healthy. I don’t know that it is managing your time so much as it is seeing the intrinsic value of allowing time for all good things: sleep, exercise, creativity, fun, work, and relationships. (Not necessarily in that order!)

  3. Joanna / Forma Física Postparto says:

    Barrie, I feel like I am you, way back in your process. I am making good progress to find what it is I am passionate about, and I feel the pieces of the jigsaw are coming together but but there is still a sense of waiting for the Eureka moment to come to me. As a friend recently said to me, “You are not going to find your passion by sitting at home, you have to get out there and do something, and the thing will come to you. There are vocations, jobs or business ideas that you are not aware that exist yet”, So, when you said “You don’t have to wait until you know your passion to go after it.”, this struck the same chord again.
    I’m in the experimentation stage, but I seem to find more things that I’m UNcomfortable with rather than comfortable. 🙂
    I guess it’s about plugging away, exploring and being open to opportunities when they arise…and then being honest with yourself about how you feel in each situation.
    Thanks, it was a breath of fresh air to read this, and I too was moved by the last paragraph 😉

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Joanna,
      Don’t give up! Keep experimenting. Even the things that seem OK but maybe not perfect — go down the path a bit with them to make sure it isn’t a good fit. Sometimes fear of the unknown disguises itself as “a bad fit.” My passion didn’t hit me over the head. It evolved. There is trial and error in this process. 🙂

  4. Thanks for this inspiring post. I just looked up the Steve Chandler book on Amazon, however, and he has some highly questionable reviews, including more then a few 1’s, the lowest possible rating. While reviews aren’t everything, I found this concerning enough not to purchase the book. Perhaps he’d like to comment on that here and address some of the criticisms.

    • Barrie Davenport says:

      Hi Carrie,
      I guess different strokes for different folks. I found Steve’s writing life-changing for me. I love his style of writing, but mostly I love what he teaches. He has walked the walk. You might check out his website at http://www.imindshift.com/

  5. I can relate to a lot you said in here! So far all of my goals have been based on needs unmet. I envy those who know exactly what their passion is, but I’m looking 🙂

  6. Julian Coelho says:

    God created us to live with a single passion: to joyfully display his supreme excellence in all spheres of life. The wasted life is the life without this passion. God calls us to pray and think and dream and plan and work, not to be made much of, but to make much of him in every part of our lives.

    other things are important, but ultimately, nothing matters if this is not there. Do everything for the love of God, otherwise its completely wasted, no matter how much good you do.

  7. Hi Barrie,
    I’m a regular reader of your Blog. What an inspiring post particularly because I was recently also reflecting on the topic of ‘Passion and Purpose’ for my site http://www.BabyBoomersFinancialFreedom.com One of the steps in the 7-Step Guide that I wrote was on searching for that ‘Circle of Passion’ as described in Jim Collins ‘Hedgehog Concept’. After reading this post of yours I probably need to go back and review my thoughts.

    I need to also read Steve Chandler’s book. I can relate to what you shared with us regarding Steve’s comment of being a ‘creator’ and not just a ‘reactor’ in Life. It reminded me of a quotation from George Bernard Shaw that has inspired me in a lot of ways. He said: “The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they don’t find them, they create them.”

    Thanks again for this inspiring blog. Keep those creativity and inspirational juices flowing.

    John
    https://www.facebook.com/jhngg