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?
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.