Have you ever noticed how confusing it is to know what you really want in life?
And even when you have an inkling, it's confusing knowing whether or not the inkling is the best way to go.
Confusion is what keeps us stuck. Confusion creates frustration and anxiety. When you don't know which path to follow or what you should do next, the most common fallback position is to remain stuck.
We think, “If I don't know what to do, then the best thing is to do nothing.” But that's just a recipe for life-long inertia. Doing nothing may be useful in some situations, but when it comes to finding your passion, doing nothing is the worst thing you can do.
But aside from doing nothing, it appears the only other options are to try not to think about our confusion or attempt to “force” ourselves to feel OK about the status quo.
That might work for a time. But you can't trick your psyche.
Ultimately, your deeper desires and a longing for something more will create that same old restlessness again. If this cycle happens enough times, then you're setting yourself up for depression or some other kind of internal crisis. You can't suppress your life force forever.
The entire process of uncovering your life passion and then figuring out how to make it part of your life requires hundreds of choices and decisions.
Most of them aren't black and white decisions. Each possible path or choice has potential consequences or outcomes that are unforeseen and potentially difficult or painful.
We have years of conditioning, limiting beliefs, emotional roadblocks, and perceived expectations that further confuse us and shroud our vision of what we really truly want for ourselves.
We think we should follow a certain path, take a particular job, marry a particular person, live a specific lifestyle — but we wake up one day and it feels all wrong. The life is being sucked out of us, and we can't fathom why.
That's why I created and teach an entire course devoted to helping people sort through all of these roadblocks and decisions so they can move forward with more clarity and peace of mind.
Not that it's always easy, but having clarity lends a level of peace to make difficult decisions that are ultimately in our own best interest.
But you can't take a course every day, and if you are working toward finding your passion (or just thinking about it), it's nice to have a few tools in your pocket to cut through some of the confusion you are likely feeling.
Here are three confusion-busting strategies you can apply in 15 minutes or less as decisions and choices arise on your passion search.
1. Use the flip of the coin trick
This very simple little trick is actually really powerful.
If you are trying to make a choice around what you have now and something else — or between two or more options or directions — this trick allows you to tap into your intuition and desires very quickly.
Let's say you are trying to decide whether to stay with your current job or find a new one, then you grab a coin and assign “stay with my job” to heads and “find a new one” to tails. Flip the coin — and try to flip it high. When it's in the air, pay close attention to where you hope it will land.
Are you silently urging it to land on heads or tails? This exercise can reveal what your deeper self might already know.
Once you do this, ask yourself a few questions.
- Why did I want it to land on this side?
- Does this direction support my core values?
- If I could immediately transport myself to this outcome, would I be happy?
- Was it my deeper self or my fears urging me to want it to land on heads/tails?
- If you discern your fears were driving your hope of where the coin would land, ask yourself if you would still want the same outcome if your fears were guaranteed never to come true.
Of course, this trick doesn't give you specific direction, nor should it be the sole indicator of what is best for you. But it does give you insight into where your desires are pulling you.
Read Related: Is Finding Your Passion A Waste of Time
2. Phone a friend
Actually phone several friends. Pick 3-4 people who know you well but don't have a vested interest in your life decisions (ie: not your spouse or parents).
Try to select people both in your personal and professional life who have a good idea of who you are, what you are good at, and some amount of history with you.
Ask them for 10-15 minutes of time to answer a few questions. Then ask them these questions and be sure to take notes.
- What do you view as my strongest personal and professional skills?
- If I weren't doing what I'm doing now, what could you see me doing that I would do well and really enjoy?
- What do you see as my biggest mental, emotional, or practical roadblocks to making a change and pursuing my passion?
You may be surprised how the people close to us see things in us that we can't see ourselves. They may recognize skills, inclinations, or aptitudes that we take for granted.
Maybe they see you as a leader or organizer, but you don't notice this in yourself or see it as a useful skill.
Hearing your strengths and blind spots reflected back to you by someone who sees you from the outside is extremely useful and insightful. But you must be willing to really hear what they say and take action on it.
How can you apply the insights they share to uncover or pursue your passion?
In what career fields might these skills be useful or applicable?
How could you use their insights to do something meaningful that serves a higher purpose?
And how can you address the roadblocks or issues they see in you in order to live your passion?
Your friends might help you brainstorm these thoughts further.
3. Take an assessment
A personality assessment is a quick and easy way to determine your type of personality, your values, motivations, interests, and your skills.
They can help you assess what type of person you are, how you relate to other people, how you view the world and your aptitude for a certain type of occupation or career.
When you read about your personality type and the information related to career, relationships, lifestyle preferences, etc., you will become more self-aware and see clearly where your strengths and weaknesses are.
Once you find out your personality type with any of these tests, read as much as you can about your type to gather information and gain the clarity that will help you with your life passion decisions.
Your passion should support and reflect your natural personality type and aptitudes. Understanding yourself better through these tests will help you narrow your field of options.
Here's a good free assessment that takes about ten minutes to complete: personality assessment.
Once you complete these three exercises, gather all of your notes from the feedback and results you received.
Review the notes to look for patterns or areas that particularly resonate with you. These are strong clues toward the direction your life passion is calling you.