47 – Are you following your passion?

Hey everyone, I hope you have had an amazing week.

Last week I introduced the concept of Ikigai and I wanted to explore that in more detail with you. Just to recap, Ikigai is a Japanese phrase that describes your purpose. The Japanese believe your Ikigai is your reason to jump out of bed in the morning.

I was privileged to see Ikigai in action this week. I had the opportunity to spend some time in the company of the British Latin American Dance champions. They gave a demonstration of how they work together as a team to become the best at what they do and I had the opportunity to ask some questions about what drives them and how they sustain their passion for what they do. I am not going to go in to too much detail as I will be doing a separate blog about that experience in a couple of weeks. However, it was perfect timing as we start to explore the topic of finding your passion. It was so evident to me how much passion they have for what they do, they literally radiate when they perform.

Ikigai covers four distinct areas and  also explores the inter-relations between these four areas.

The four areas are:

  • What you love
  • What the word needs
  • What you can be paid for
  • What you are good at

This week I want to focus on discovering what you love.

I recently asked a question in my Private Facebook Group and it received some interesting responses. The question I asked was

“What do you want to say when someone asks you what you do?”

I received a varied mix of responses on this ranging from “I love what I do now!” to “certainly not what I do right now”. There were also comments saying that if they were not focused on paying bills they would be doing something more creative.

Assuming you work a traditional working pattern of 35 hours a week it equates to:

  • 140 hours per month
  • 1680 hours per year
  • 67200 hours per average working life span

We spend so much of our time working over our lifetime, it is so important to be doing something you enjoy but how incredible would it feel to be doing something that you LOVE and are passionate about?

I often hear it said that if your work is something that you are passionate about and sets you alight, it probably won’t feel like work. I believe this to be so true!

Finding your passion can be incredibly challenging and can feel soul destroying when you believe you should have a passion or a purpose but you just don’t know what it is. I have been around that loop!

Some people are very fortunate to find their passion and purpose early on in life and to be able to pursue it no matter what. You see this in the world of sport frequently. Young athletes discover they have a talent for something and spend hours of their time dedicating themselves to the pursuit of their dreams and aspirations either through competition or moving in to coaching when they get older.

Some people have multiple passions over their lifetime. What ignited them in their 20’s was not what they wanted to do when they hit their 40’s. It has become much rarer these days for people to stay in the one career. People have ‘portfolio’ careers where they have explored several passions over time. For example, Lorraine Pascal was a model and has now carved out a successful TV career as a baker.

Some people never pursue their passion as a career. Instead, they focus on pursuing a career they find worthwhile but satisfy their need for a passion through a hobby. Spending time on their hobby is enough.

In my experience, people set themselves all kinds of limitations around how they could pursue a passion as a career. For example, I have recently worked with a client who had developed a passion for coaching people to help them release their limiting beliefs. She had placed limiting beliefs on herself about the potential ways she could use this in her current career to make it more fulfilling. She believed there were no possibilities for her to action this in her current role and so didn’t explore the options. The reality is that there are many ways she can do this.

If you are currently not feeling energised and excited by the career you are in or the role that you do, here are some questions to get you thinking differently…

  • If money was no object, what would you be doing right now?
  • What activity makes you feel alive?
  • Think of a recent time where you had fun. What were you doing? Be specific about what made it fun
  • What activity do you currently do that you could spend hours doing?
  • If you had a spare hour right now and no limitations, how would you spend that hour?
  • Do you have a hobby that you used to love that you no longer spend time on? How do you feel about that?
  • What did you want to be when you were younger and why?
  • What do you find yourself dreaming about?

Make a note of your responses and reflect on them.

Your purpose and your passion will leave clues!

What was interesting to me about the dancers I met this week, was that they were not driven by financial goals. When they talked about their aspirations, they talked purely about the mastery of their art. They spend as many hours of every day as possible dancing, learning, perfecting and sharing what they do. They do it because they are passionate about dancing. They know that if they continue to learn and progress, then eventually they will receive financial reward for their achievements but it is not what motivates them.

So often we give up on our dreams because we believe we can’t make a living doing what we love. I’m not sure that is the case.

There is something magical about seeing someone loving what they do. It is inspiring and captivating and it encourages a little bit of hope in us all that we too can live our purpose and passion and make a living from it too.

Next week, I will explore the next area of Ikigai which is discovering what the world needs

Until next week,

Be extraordinary


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