One of the issues I hear often from clients is that nothing really interests them.
They’ve tried a number of things and have some life experience but they still haven’t found what they’re looking for in their work.
We can go through all the personality assessments, exercises, readings, and coaching but they still can’t seem to wrap their hands around their passion.
In my experience this has to do with something that goes deep for them.
I believe we were all created to have desires and interests unique to us.
So somewhere in their life they learned to keep those desires and interests hidden.
They developed an ability to keep their desires hidden away for safekeeping for a better time.
It may be they had an overly critical parent who squashed any expressed enthusiasm.
Or perhaps they witnessed someone in their life pursue their dreams and passions only to fail in their pursuit.
Many times it was just a subtle unspoken message in the family and culture they grew up in that said they were only allowed to do practical things to bring in income rather than chase “foolish” dreams.
Whatever the reason, they learned to let the air out of the tires of their passion before someone else did.
It is a defense mechanism and it was needed at the time to deal with their environment.
However, now they’re adults and this defense mechanism is so ingrained they can’t imagine thinking in any other way.
The solution to overcoming this obstacle begins with understanding what you have control over and what you don’t.
There are five things you can do to help yourself overcome this obstacle:
1. Identify how you developed this defense mechanism. What were the circumstances in your life that made it unsafe to express your enthusiasm? Was there a particular person who influenced this? A situation or environment that led to covering your desires? Find the root cause.
2. Forgive the person involved. If there was someone who directly influenced your decision to hide your desires you must get to a place of forgiveness with them. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you’ve forgotten or that it doesn’t hurt. However, forgiveness means you don’t want or need anything from that person any longer. You’ve freed them from their obligation to make it right with you. In reality, you’ve freed yourself from the prison of bitterness.
3. Write this down and put it on your wall. “You have permission to find your passion.” We can often feel like we don’t deserve to find our passion. Give yourself permission and remind yourself daily of that permission.
4. Start small. What kind of food do you like? What are your three favorite movies? Begin to identify the little things in your life that you like. Pay attention to the things you recommend to your friends and co-workers. Those are small windows into the emotional cave that houses your passions.
5. Redefine passion. Those who have stuffed their enthusiasm and desire for a long time have difficulty knowing what it feels like. Often they put pressure on themselves to find the one thing that gives them unending bliss and excitement. Understand life doesn’t work that way. Sometimes our passions are exciting but sometimes they exhaust us, bore us, become unpleasant and burdensome. Passion doesn’t fulfill us and we shouldn’t expect it to. Passion gives us fuel to work through the difficult days and tasks involved with sacrificing, serving and doing work that is meaningful to us.
If you find yourself in this situation please know there’s nothing wrong with you.
You adapted to your environment and you were doing everything you could to succeed in that environment.
Yet, now you’re in a different environment and what you did to protect yourself is no longer helping you to have a meaningful and enjoyable life.
You’ve been protecting your passions for so long.
Why don’t you let them come out and play for a bit?
You never know what you might discover.