The One Place You Haven’t Searched For Your Passion

Posted by in Career Success | 14 comments

When we search for our passions we often look in the wrong places.

We first look for where we find the most pleasure.

Binoculars portrait (dscn4659_mod_vign_sm)Creative Commons License gerlos via Compfight

While that can be part of the process, the real solution often lies in the place we least expect it.

Our wounds.

How I Was Wounded

When I was working as a counselor to kids and their families I ultimately quit because I could no longer handle the emotional pain.

The kids I worked with had few positive options in their environment and often their little lives were heartbreaking.

In the process of trying to help these kids and families I became what Jeff Goins refers to as being wrecked (affiliate link).

I had truly seen and experienced the brokenness of humanity and there was no going back.

I felt helpless to be able to make an impact.

So I quit, emotionally drained, confused, and unclear about where I was going.

Then I stumbled my way onto a completely different career path.

What I didn’t know at the time is that I had planted the seed for my passion.

Through that process I learned our deepest wounds can often be the catalyst for doing something extraordinary.

So the first place to look for your passion is to look into your pain.

Where have you been hurt?

What cut you so deeply you’re almost embarrassed to think about it?

That’s where to start.

Although pain is something we like to avoid, it is often part of the process to discover what it is you really care about and want to focus your life’s work.

What’s Your Wound?

I know you’ve been wounded.

How do I know?

Because you’re human.

We’re all wounded at one point or another.

Some deal with horrifically unfair wounds imposed on us by others.

Others of us deal with self-imposed wounds.

Regardless we all experience the wounding process in one form or another.

How Do You Use Your Wound To Find Your Passion?

The first step is always honesty and truth.

If you’ve written your life story, go back and look for the lies.

Look for the parts you wanted to polish up and get ready for public consumption.

This time write just for you.

True pivot points in our lives typically involve some level of pain or wounding.

The second step is to find a way to serve others dealing with the same wound.

This can be a little tricky because before you can serve others fully you must be healed.

You’ll still have the scar but it will no longer hurt.

You can’t show someone else the way out unless you have gone through the door as well.

When you know your pain you know your passion.

Working in your passion is an amazingly fulfilling and meaningful way to live your life.

Yet it comes at the price of delving into your deepest wounds and pushing through the pain.

If you’re willing to suffer for a time you can experience the joy awaiting you on the other side.

I hope to see you there.


Question: How can you use your wound to do work you’re passionate about?

  • I’ve experienced this in my own life. Even currently, with helping people with work, I know what it’s like to have a job that’s killing you on the inside. I’ve heard Bill Hybels speak on this (he even wrote a book along the same lines, Holy Discontent). Thanks for sharing, Adam!

    • Yes Drew, if all the statistics are correct there are a whole lot of people who go to work every day despising every minute of it. After a period of time it can literally kill you on the inside. Physical problems begin to show up that can often be resolved by getting your work aligned with how you were designed. I’ll have to check out Bill Hybels – thanks for the recommendation.

  • Adam, I love this concept. I don’t think people always trace what they enjoy back to their wounds, but this is even true for myself. I was working in a job that I didn’t enjoy or feel good about and was fired! This forced me to take a serious look at what I did and didn’t enjoy and move to work I was thrilled about, but oh boy was it humbling and extremely painful. That experience has been a catalyst for the last 8 years of my life…

    Thanks for posting!

    • Thanks for sharing your story Scott. Yes, sometimes those types of situations in our careers force us to reevaluate our career direction. It sounds like you used that experience to move into an even more successful season in your career and life. Thanks for your comment.

  • Karen Gregory

    Great message and one I have been struggling with lately. I know what I want to be doing, but I also know that there is a price that needs to be paid for that dream… and that’s a scary leap of faith. Thanks for the encouragement. Need to move forward no matter what.

    • You’re 85% of the way there Karen if you know what you want to be doing. Most people get stuck there. All dreams come at a price and it can be very scary to decide to pay that price. I don’t know what your dream or your price are but when you’re intentional about your life you will have succeeded no matter what.

  • Alana Mokma

    lol. You crack me up – sometimes I cannot believe how timely your messages are! This week I hosted a passion workshop at my house. Afterwards, I was thinking more about my own passions – I think I’ve been avoiding this – perhaps because it is still painful – but I’ve been discovering one of my passions is to help other women learn how to love themselves, for the very reason you mentioned above – it is one of my wounds. I know I’m very much still in the process. I know once I am fully healed, I can be even more of a resource to others, but I also do not discount the power my story has as I continue to share with others even what it is like to be “in process.” Being so close to how it feels NOW, I can be empathetic to others who are in the now.

    • I love that you are doing passion workshops at our house Alana. Teaching others is a great way to embrace the healing process. It helps us to process through our own wounds and instruct others on how to move through the pain. The old saying about learning more when you teach something is really true. Keep embracing your wound Alana and you’ll find people flocking to you to find out how to overcome their pain.

  • My passion to help others realize and live their vision was enhanced during a great struggle in our life. It was humorous that God energized my passion to encourage others to succeed in their vision when I was not. I found myself encouraging people who were dealing with the similar thing I was dealing with. During that time of struggle my website and blog was formed to encourage, equip and empower individuals to realize and live their vision. Thanks for the insightful post it was right on time.

    • It’s funny how that works Bernard. When we are forced to teach others how to overcome obstacles we also teach ourselves. Glad to add value for you.

  • Adam a very insightful post – I’ve read before also that if there’s something – an issue – that makes you angry and upset that this could also be a clue to what you are called to do. For example it upsets me and makes me angry when I see overweight children being fed fast food by their parents. I want to show them a better way and why it is so critical to their overall lifelong health.

    • Yes, I think you’e right Ann. Passion is an emotional response to something so when we experience an emotional trigger we need to pay attention to that clue. You can tell when someone has a passion for something because they have an internal drive that motivates them more than money, power, fame, or anything. Thanks for your comment.

  • Wesley Wiley

    Excellent post Adam! I remember hearing a long time ago that we’re like Jesus in that it’s our greatest areas of pain that will provide others with their greatest healing.

    • That’s a great way to say that Wesley. I’m also reminded of what Gaspar Cassado, a world renowned cellist used to tell his students. He would tell them, “I’m so sorry for you; your lives have been so easy. You can’t play great music unless your heart’s been broken.”