15 Tiny Actions to Strip Yourself Bare and Reveal Your Passion

In a recent survey, I asked my readers what they most worried about so that I could address those topics on Live Bold and Bloom.

There were lots of different answers phrased in a variety of ways. But most of the worries boiled down to this: “I don’t feel passionate about anything.

How do I find my passion?”

Is this you? Do you feel passionless — as though everything you do is a shade of dull gray?

Is work boring or empty, or just plain awful? Do you lack adventure and fun in your life? Do you feel stuck but have no idea how to get unstuck?

This was me for a long time, and from all appearances I had (and have) a great life. A wonderful family, beautiful kids, a nice home — blah, blah, blah.

But something pivotal was missing for me, something that would make me want to jump out of bed in the morning rather than negotiating with myself for ten more minutes of sleep.

I felt empty because I wasn’t great at something, nor did I feel really enthusiastic about anything. I also felt like it might be too late for me — that I was too old to start something new.

In spite of those negative voices in my head, my spirit kept telling me that I did have something valuable to offer the world, something that was fulfilling and joyful and gave me a reason to jump out of bed.

And guess what? I did find my passion. I became a coach, a writer, and a blogger. My passion has become helping others find their own!

A life passion isn’t something that drops on you from the heavens or appears from thin air. Discovering your passion is a process of self-discovery and detective work.

It requires stripping yourself bare and examining the “real you.” This is the you without limiting beliefs, old wounds, ego-based pursuits, and fear.

If you want to begin today to bare your true self and reveal your own passion in life, here are 15 small actions you can take to get started:

1. Shift your thinking. If you believe, like I did, that you aren’t great at something, or you don’t feel excited about anything and therefor have no passion — then release that notion. If you believe that you are too old, reject that falsehood. Those are excuses which will keep you stuck.

2. Become aware of joy. Get a small pocket notebook and keep it with you. Keep track of the times when you feel happy and fulfilled. What are you doing when you feel good? Write it down in your notebook. Pay attention to what feels good to you.

3. Pinpoint the major drag. What’s causing you the most frustration ? Your job? A relationship? Your leisure time? A general lack of purpose? Isolate the primary cause and the elements of it that bring you down.

4. What were your dreams? When you were younger, or even now, what did you dream of being, doing, achieving, discovering? Write those down in your notebook. Dredge them up and reignite those dreams.

5. Acknowledge your skills. Maybe you aren’t a virtuoso at something, but you have many skills. You may not recognize them as skills, but others do. Ask your friends and family what you are good at — no matter how small. Make a list of your skills, and make note of the skills you really enjoy.

6. Let go of shoulds. Many people hold themselves back from happiness because of the word “should.” I should stay in this job because I can’t find a better one. I should become a teacher because my parents want me to. I should not try something new because I’ll look foolish. Dismiss this word from your vocabulary while on your passion search.

7. Try something new. Anything. Go for a weekend trip to a new location. Take a class on bird watching or painting or dancing. Strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know well. Shake up your life a bit. Peep out past your current existence. It will broaden your perspective.

8. Be a voyeur. Investigate someone else who is living an amazing, passionate life. Check out Chris Guillebeau, Steve Chandler, Danielle LaPorte, Carolyn Rubenstein, Mary Jaksch, Leo Babauta, Gretchen Rubin, and Farnoosh Brock. These are all regular people who have learned how to live passionate, adventurous lives.

9. Unlock your past. If you have something holding you back, an old trauma or past anger, do something about it, or you will undermine your efforts at passionate living. How can you live with passion when you have a hole in your heart? Go to a counselor or other helping professional and heal the past so you can create your future.

10. Define your values. What is important to you? What values define you? Your passion must be centered around your primary values so that your life reflects who you are.

11. Sketch out a vision. It’s two years down the road. Who are you now? What are you doing? Start sketching a vision for yourself, as though you have no limitations on who you can be or what you can do. Just pretend for now.

12. Research. Start to create a little curiosity and interest in possibilities. Look online at other careers, or adventurous travel, or classes in basket weaving. If you’re single, check out eHarmony or Match.com. What do you have to lose?

13. Consider an education boost. You don’t have to go back to get your MBA to change careers. There are many certification programs that train you to begin something brand new. If you have the time and money, then go for the MBA!

14. Weigh your priorities. Money is often the factor that holds people back from their dreams. If I had to choose between a lot of money but living in mediocrity or living with less money but feeling happy and fulfilled — I would choose the latter. How about you? If so, decide the least amount of money you and your family could live on, and work from there. You might have to move, scale back, live lean. Is it worth it to you?

15. Keep trying. The process of finding my passion took a couple of years. You may have to try a few and eliminate a few things before you discover what feels great. It may creep up on you rather than knocking you in the head. Have patience. Keep digging.

You do have a passion, but you can’t wait for it to come to you. You have to go find it. Actually, you have to uncover it because it’s already with you.

35 thoughts on “15 Tiny Actions to Strip Yourself Bare and Reveal Your Passion”

  1. Hi Barrie! Great headline and absolutely gorgeous picture!
    I’m actually the opposite, I’m way too passionate. I have more passions than I have time to dedicate to them. I had to streamline my passions and I pick three to devote my attention to at the moment. I then prioritized the main three passions so I could allocate my time accordingly to their hierarchy. Once I get my three main passions going full force I can pull another passion out of my bag of passions. 🙂
    Thanks for the wonderful tips and the beautiful reminder. Loving blessings!
    .-= Andrea DeBell – britetalk´s last blog ..Great Masters Right Under Your Nose =-.

    • Hi Andrea,
      What a lovely problem to have! And what a great solution. A bag of passions — I love it. Like Halloween candy. It’s hard to choose which goodie to bite into first. Thank you for your kind comments.

  2. Hi Barrie,

    What a great post on passion!

    Like you I know how it feels not wanting to jump out of bed each morning. Instead I have experienced times where
    I didn’t want to get up because I didn’t know what I was getting up for. No matter how much I slept, I felt tired. But on other days when I had my passion, I have found that I needed very little sleep and could still get out of bed feeling energetic. What a difference passion makes!

    I agree with you that discovering your passion is a process of self-discovery. You must know yourself deeply and cut away the layers before you can find your passion.

    I love your 15 simple tips! The ones that resonate with me the most are:

    1. Shift your thinking.

    You need to get rid of negative beliefs before you can uncover your passion. These beliefs serve as shackles that chain you to a life of dullness and mediocrity.

    2. Become aware of joy.

    Being aware of the things that make you joyful is important. By following your bliss, you will uncover your passion sooner than you expect.

    5. Acknowledge your skills.

    You are bound to have certain skills which you can share with others. Being aware of these skills is helpful because you learned them for a purpose or out of interest. By teaching these skills to others you might stumble upon your passion. At the very least, you learn how to teach to pave the way for your passion in the future.

    8. Be a voyeur.

    Looking to the lives of others as role models and examples is a great way to gain some ideas for finding your passion. These examples can inspire you to live your own life in your own way that is filled with the passion you seek. It helps if you find someone whom you can identify with the most.

    14. Weigh your priorities.

    This is very important. If you are unclear about your priorities you may never uncover your passion. To follow you heart requires sacrifice, time and effort. Unless you are very clear about what is important, it is hard to lead a live full of passion.

    15. Keep trying.

    Never give up. The moment you give up, surrender and admit defeat, is the moment you lose your hold on your passion and slip back into a dull life. Yes, the going may be tough, but to lead a life of passion, I will not complain. Life otherwise is hard to swallow.

    Thank you for sharing this great post!
    .-= The Vizier´s last blog ..Learning From the Mistakes of Count Dracula =-.

    • And thank YOU for expanding on it so beautifully. I always appreciate your very thoughtful comments Vizier!

  3. I’m with Andrea on this one. I could think of a million things I would like to do/blog about…..

    But there are those nasty time constraints…

    But I’m happy to say I do jump out of bed every morning eager to go to work reading blogs, writing posts and networking. Must be on to something….

    • Thank you Katie! You are also a passion-living example. And I love the way you work to re-focus yourself on your passion daily, just as you describe in your current post. Beautiful!

  4. Dear Barrie, what an honor to see my name next to the amazing people who have made extraordinary lives out of their ordinary circumstances – I am so touched you think and see me that way and I have now big shoes to fill for any readers who check out my site from your glowing words. Thank you! And I know that THIS is your passion – it’s wonderful you have not only found it but committed to seeing it through! Thank you again for the kind mention!
    .-= Farnoosh´s last blog ..From Fear to Motivation in 22 Radical Thoughts =-.

    • You are so welcome Farnoosh. I don’t know many people as ignited about life as you are. I am amazed at your adventures and accomplishments.

  5. Barrie,

    This really rings true with me. I am at the point where I am certainly going to make my work my life’s passion and calling. I love all the tips provided to help gain self-awareness and insight about those areas in life that are most important to us. I think that finding themes that keep repeating in life are areas to make note of. Throughout our entire life there are things people consistently think about and always come back to no matter what type of professional endeavor is taking place. I think these themes are where our passions and niche can be found. I think it can help to ask others in our life to be very honest and tell what themes they have noticed as well. Thanks for sharing!
    .-= Joe Wilner´s last blog ..Rise and Grind – Inspiration to Conquer the Coming Week =-.

    • That is a fabulous insight Joe. Yes, we do have themes in our lives, and often we don’t realize they are the “stuff” of our passion. I’ve always been really fascinated by people and personal growth, but I never thought it could translate into a career. But it has. Thank you for your thoughtful comments — as always!

  6. Hi Barrie! Oh boy…first thing that comes to mind is “if only I had time for all my passions!” Having a lot of passions isn’t necessarily a good thing, because it can be very distracting when I know I need to focus. If I had my way, I’d design gardens and build fishponds and waterfalls all day: the combination of physical work, being outdoors, growing things, and designing/creating is just so calming for me and it’s just a natural thing that comes easy. Writing and reading, drawing/photography/interior design/languages/travel,…I love so many things. But blogging combines a lot: designing, writing, creating, socializing, thinking, exploring, imagining, problem-solving….it’s an international thing too so I can imagine traveling lol….blogging is a good passion to have 🙂

    I know a lot of people who aren’t sure what their passion is–which easily puts them in about the same place as distracted folks like me chasing many passions–and I’m sure this post will help! 🙂
    .-= Leah McClellan´s last blog ..Living in the Now =-.

    • Thanks Leah. I would guess that many bloggers do have lots of passions — and that’s why they blog! Have you read Leo Babauta’s new book, Focus? It is written for someone like you, with so many things to do and too little time. 🙂

  7. This is a great list, and your course is a great idea. I’ve been clear on my passions for 20 years. In fact, I walked away from mainstream success to devote myself to those passions–book writing and dogs (and I managed to combine the two into a book on dogs 🙂 ). I used to be surprised when I talked to people who didn’t know their passion, but now I know it’s more common than I thought. You’ve created a very useful road map to help people find their passions.

    I’d add to your #15, keep trying, not just to keep trying to find your passion, but once you find it, keep with it even in the face of rejection or seeming defeat. This is something that I’ve had to learn over time.
    .-= Ande Waggener´s last blog ..Yes- You Can Be Courageous =-.

  8. Barrie-
    I just discovered this site and I love this list. It took my also 5 years to finally figure out what my true passion is and I’m very thankful for the process. At some point I believe that I did every one of the steps you’ve outlined here so I know there’s truth in your words.


    • I am so glad you found my blog and that you were so kind to comment. It’s wonderful that you found your true passion. For many people, it does take a while to figure it out. Having some guidance and actionable steps really helps the discovery process — as you know!

  9. Great stuff as usual, Barrie! I especially like 5 and 6. Sometimes if we’re caught in a rut, it’s important to see ourselves through the eyes of those who care about us. It can give us that boost that we need when we feel negative.

    “Should” is a dangerous word. I recognized this years ago, not only in my own thoughts, but some of the people who were close to me would start lots of sentences with “You should” instead of asking what I wanted or what I planned to do. I started taking that as a blip on the radar of people to be more careful with.

    Oh, and FYI, I got my MBA years ago mostly for someone else’s “shoulds.” It was a fantastic experience, but not very much in line with my true passions.
    .-= Paul Strobl´s last blog ..20 Ways to Ruin Your Life =-.

    • Hi Paul,
      Thank you for sharing your insightful comments. You have inspired me to monitor my own language for “shoulds” with other people! So do you use that MBA? I’m sure it’s not wasted.

  10. In my seminars, I always say, “Passion Is King. Only When You Breathe It In Can The Transformation Begin.”

    Thanks for the great post.
    .-= M. A. Tohami´s last blog ..The 5 Golden Keys To Activate The Power of Passion In Your Life – Part 5 =-.

  11. This is a great list of practical steps for uncovering something that is so vital to a fulfilled life. I am also passionate about the importance of passion, and feel so blessed to be living a passion-filled life these days.
    .-= Amanda´s last blog ..A Prayer for Forgiveness =-.

    • Hi Amanda,
      I am passionate about the importance of passion too! And I feel equally blessed. It took me a long time to find it, but now I wonder how I missed it all these years. I’m so glad I did the work to uncover mine. 🙂

  12. I would like to share this story on Facebook but I’m afraid the picture of the naked woman will get my FB account suspended.

    Too bad the photo assigned to this article is not family friendly.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.