Find Your Passion With Something You Hate

There’s something I used to hate that I now feel passionate about.

I thought I would never even tolerate this something, much less feel passionate about it. Although I knew it would be good for me, and even though I tried to like it more times than I can count, I simply hated it.

I hated it because it hurt. It was hard. It was boring. I could never seem to do it as well as other people. And I never reached that state of joy that most people who find their passion with this something proclaim to reach.

In fact, every time I tried it, I would curse in my head and talk to myself about how much I hated it. I made deals with myself about how quickly I could stop.

I tried this something in my teens, my 20’s, my 30’s, and my 40’s. Hate, hate, hate, hate. And now, at age 53 (54 in 6 days), I have discovered I love this something. In fact, I’ve become passionate about it. What’s up with that?

Have you guessed what this something is? Well let me share it with you.

It’s running.

After all of these years of hate, I now love running. I feel passionate about running.

How did this happen?

Before I share the “how” with you, I want to share the main reason I’m writing this particular post.

It really isn’t a post about running. It’s a post about 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, and endless chances. It’s a post about passion and how you can find it where you least expect it or how you can get unstuck and change in such a way that you open your heart and mind to something that has been buried inside of you.

It’s about how it’s never too late to discover something you love, to try something new, to go after your life passion. I know this because I’ve done it. I’ve reinvented myself in virtually every aspect of my life — and I didn’t start until I was 48.

And so many of my life reinventions were things I never previously thought I would do, or was capable of doing, or would even enjoy. Like running. Like going back to school. Like writing. Like starting a business. Like finding love again. Like learning to blog.

So my main message here is this . . .

Many passions can lie dormant within you.

You are capable of so much more than you can possibly comprehend. And so many of these dormant passions are locked away because you either consciously or unconsciously keep them locked up.

You do this because you’re afraid.

You have inertia.

You’re confused.

You can’t tolerate uncertainty or discomfort.

I understand those feelings because I’ve experienced them all.

But what if you unlock the gate to those buried passions and allow them to bubble to the surface? What if you challenge yourself to embrace the things you think you hate and to try again? What if you push yourself a bit harder, past fear, inertia, confusion, and discomfort? Something amazing might be on the other side. It was for me.

My running story

So here’s what happened with running for me. As I mentioned, I’d attempted running many, many times before. And every time I tried, I would encounter pain and discomfort. And as soon as I experienced pain and discomfort, I would stop running.

Barrie post runSometimes I would be too aggressive at the beginning of a run, and I would injure myself. This also provided a great reason to stop running.

And I had this notion that I wasn’t going to spend a lot of money on good running shoes until I became a better runner. But of course, wearing bad shoes can add to the pain and discomfort. So I never became a better runner because I’d stop when I felt discomfort.

I trained myself to believe that running wasn’t for me because it hurt, and I could never get past that. I trained myself to hate running.

I would attempt it again every few years, only to be thwarted by the same limiting beliefs I had around running. And as I got older, I could add more limiting beliefs to hold me back. I’m too old, it’s not good for my joints, I could really injure myself, etc.

But in the last few years, I have challenged and overcome so many other limiting beliefs I had about myself. I have come to believe that just about anything is possible. I’ve stopped worrying so much about what others think of me, or whether or not I’ll look foolish, or how bad it will feel if I fail. I’ve come to challenge just about everything I once accepted as “the truth.”

And this has opened doors of possibilities for an ever-expanding passionate life.

So I decided to give running yet another try. I was motivated to do this for several reasons.

  • I love being outside.
  • I really wanted to share the experience of running with a friend who’s a runner.
  • I have another friend who at the age of 52 ran a long marathon in the desert.
  • I heard someone speak who once hated running and then became a runner, and it made me realize I could push past pain and discomfort.
  • I knew from my experience with overcoming other challenges that you CAN reach a goal if you are willing to stretch yourself just a bit past your pain.

So I decide to approach running just as I would with any other experiment with a potential passion. I didn’t just jump right in. I prepared myself for the best possible experience.

I researched and read about how a beginner runner should start running (doing a walk/run and slowly increasing my running time and decreasing my walking time);

I went to a reputable running store and was properly fitted for good running shoes appropriate for my foot and running gait.

I talked to other runners about their experiences and challenges.

I set small goals for myself and pushed myself to run just a bit farther when I felt pain and discomfort. Which was all the time in the beginning. Everything hurt and my entire body screamed with resistance. But I made myself keep going, achieving my small goals,  until eventually the pains diminished.

I ran with people who motivated me to keep going.

When I had setbacks or interruptions in my running schedule, I didn’t allow that to derail me or use it as an excuse to stop altogether.

I continue to set goals for myself to improve my distance and time. I’m now running 4 miles and working toward 5.

As I have become more proficient and engaged in running, my hate for running has transformed into passion. I see and feel the changes in my body. I feel more self-confident and proud of myself. I enjoy the camaraderie of running with others. I love the physical feeling of overcoming pain, pushing through, and reaching the “runner’s high.”

What I once hated, I now love.

So I would like to offer you a small challenge.

  • What have you attempted in the past that you hated? Would you be willing to revisit it?
  • What is something you’ve avoided that (if you are being completely honest with yourself) you would really love to pursue?
  • What are the fears and limiting beliefs holding you back from some possible passion that could make your life more exciting and joyful?

Don’t accept “no I can’t” as your final answer. Push yourself just a bit past your pain and discomfort. Do a bit more research. Make sure you approach it in the best possible way to maximize success. Find your tribe or a mentor to inspire you. Set small and manageable goals for yourself, stretching yourself just a bit farther than you think you can go.

You might just find your passion in something you hate.

Please share this post with other life passion seekers!

9 thoughts on “Find Your Passion With Something You Hate”

  1. Thank you for a great article Barrie! So many people hit that slog and peter out after the beginner’s gains and before the upturn in confidence and success that comes with perseverance.

    I’ve experienced the same in the gym, the same in sales, the same in my photography – across the board.

    Seth Godin gives great guidance on this topic in his little book The Dip, which helped me to have an invaluable perspective on what’s worth doing – what isn’t – and the long journey in the middle that separates the committed and successful from the fearful and unmotivated.

    Thank you for your blog!

    • Hi James,
      Yes, I guess this is a post about perseverance, although I would have told you years ago that I didn’t want to persevere with running because I hated it! My excuse for not persevering! But so often “hate” is just resistance and our discomfort with discomfort. But if we push just a little bit harder . . . so much can be achieved. Thanks for sharing Seth Godin’s book. I haven’t read that one, but it sounds like a worthwhile read.

  2. “Many passions can lie dormant within you.” This is so true. I used to hate reading books so bad. I found it so boring just cracking the thing open would give the chills. But years later as I randomly picked up a book I couldn’t stop reading and today I just love it and read every day.
    I find this to be true in a lot of different areas in life. Things I couldn’t imagine myself ever doing voluntarily starts to become more and more natural until one day its a legitimate passion.

    Great job with your running Barrie! The good news is it only gets better and more pleasurable as you keep making progress. 🙂 Do you listen to music while you run?

    • Hi Patrick,
      Wow, your story is inspiring. I can imagine life without books, and I guess now you can’t either! It just goes to show you that you should question every belief you have about what you do and don’t like. Things can shift in a moment, and that shift can change everything. I do listen to music while running. I have Pandora on my iPhone and listen to that.

  3. What an inspiring story! You’ve really illustrated that we can shift our attitudes even about what we think we dislike. I can think of a few things in my life where this principle could be applied!

    • Thank you Sandra! So are you going to revisit those things in your life you think you dislike?

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