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Julia Child didn’t taste her first French meal until she was 36, yet following that meal, gradually her predilection for eating and then cooking French food turned into a life long passion. Ian Fleming, the the renowned creator of James Bond, didn’t begin to write his first novel, Casino Royale, until he was 43, then churned out 12 novels in 12 years. And Edith Wharton, the author of the The House of Mirth and Ethan Frome, after being discouraged by her parents from writing as a young girl, finally dove back in when she was 35 and created her own financial wealth from her talents.
Discovering what one is passionate about is not an easy task, but it does eventually reveal itself if one keeps looking (scroll to the bottom of the post for posts dedicated specially to this quest). But once we find our passion, there may be times when our interest wanes or we begin to question whether or not we should keep investing our time and energy into what we have discovered.
Let me begin by saying, if indeed what you are pursuing is what you are passionate about, these moments of doubt are not a sign that you should stop doing what you are doing, but rather a time to re-energize yourself. And it is this re-energizing that must happen on a regular basis. Much like our bodies needing to be fed, hydrated and rested each day to do our best the next day, we must do the same for our passions if we wish to flourish. But how exactly can we reboot our interest in something we fell head over heels in love with years ago? Here are ten tips to keep in your arsenal and use regularly.
1. Step away from the financial aspects of your passion for a day or two
If your passion is what you do for a living, and what an amazing career to have if that is the case, the pressures of making sure it is accruing enough money so that the bills can be paid can often be the wet blanket that dims our passion. To determine if this is indeed the case, take the time to make sure your finances are in order so that you can step away for a few days and just focus primarily on what it is that made you get involved with this particular work in the first place. By submersing yourself into the passion of what you do, the burdens of financial stress is lifted and often that is just what you need to strength your creative mind, ultimately bringing in more revenue.
Upon returning to the financial part after taking a needed respite, try to find a way to streamline your finances. Whether it is to create a simple budget system or to purchase a program such as QuickBooks, consider this an investment in yourself and your future happiness.
2. Investigate others’ lives who have traveled the path you are just beginning
If you are an athlete, read a biography about a successful athlete that you look up to. If you’re pursuing political science, read a biography about Winston Churchill or Abraham Lincoln. In other words, place yourself into the world of someone who inspired you to jump into what you are doing currently – see their struggles, discover how they overcame them, be inspired by their story and most likely you will be refueled to jump back in with fervor.
3. Delegate the necessary have-tos
Often what stresses me out the most with my busy schedule is not being able to complete all of the have-tos (cleaning the house, raking the 40 bags of leave in the fall, etc), and while these chores certainly need to be completed, if I can figure out a way to delegate or simplify them, I’m freeing up my time to spend time doing what I love – writing, reading, traveling, cooking, looking for endless inspiration. If at your place of work or in your life, you are too busy doing things you have to do to keep your life running, but the life you are running makes it so you aren’t able to enjoy doing what you enjoy doing, rearrange your life, edit, delegate – do something. It is important to prioritize one’s life so that you are in the drivers’ seat, rather than letting life have its way.
4. Schedule a break to recharge
Regular vacations or weekends in which you are able to be free from responsibility or away from the office without the phone attached to your ear are necessary to remind yourself what you love doing what you are doing. Even if you’re only able to take one vacation a year, take it. Just taking the time to be reassured that your passion is worth your continued involvement will set your mind at ease when you have to dive headfirst back into the fray for the many months ahead.
5. Be willing to take a risk and try something you’ve been aching to do
Often the best way to reboot your interest in your passion is to do something with it you’ve never done. Love cooking, but have never attempted a soufflé? Give it a try until you’ve mastered it. The success you eventually arrive at will boost your confidence and add a jump in your step to get back in the kitchen and take it up a notch.
6. Step into nature
The fact that we live in a knowledge or intellectual based economy is an amazing accomplishment, yet at the same time it is a way of living that finds many of us staring at computer, tablet or smart phone screens incessantly. By choosing to step into nature, whether by hiking, bike-riding, camping or strolling along the beach, is a wonderful way to re-energize your mind. Appreciate all that is created around you and determine what you are not utilizing and what you are becoming too dependent upon. When we realize how efficient and breath-taking nature is, we can be reminded of how blessed we are and often realize we might be making problems where there aren’t any.
7. Step away from technology for a day and see what your mind does
By following tip #6, to fully gain the benefits, you most certainly need to step away from your technology from time to time. So what if you don’t capture that beautiful sunset. Studies have proven that you’re more likely to remember it if you don’t take a picture of it and take the time to lose yourself in its beauty. The gifts of technology are great if we remain in control, but we must be able to remain the master so that we can find moments of calm, inspiration and clarity when we need it.
8. Investigate to find the drains on your energy and find a solution
If you are feeling less than inspired about your passion, plug the leaks. Somewhere you are being drained unnecessarily, and that means it is time to put on your Sherlock Holmes deerstalker’s cap and flush out the energy leeches. It could be people who are negatively draining you of your energy or it could be obligations you have signed up for, but did so without realizing there aren’t 30 hours in the day. Find them, plug them, move on.
9. Change the environment – travel, move, rearrange the furniture
Opening a new book, stepping off of a plane into a new city, state or country, creating a new perspective from which you sit in your living room – all of these are a change of environment that will allow you to be nudged or pushed out of your rut and begin to see things differently or see entirely new sites. No matter what our experience is (good or not so great), there is always a lesson to learn, a new sight to analyze and something new to discover about our life and ourselves.
10. Record your thoughts
Never underestimate the power of keeping a journal (click here to learn more). Whether you discover aha moments while you’re writing or while you are going back over older entries, there are insights that will leap off the pages if you are honest about what you write and diligent about paying attention to what you’ve written.
11. Imagine for a moment your life without the ability to pursue your passion
And if all of the other 10 ideas mentioned fail to keep you interested in what you believed to be your passion, imagine your life without being able to write, to swim, to travel, to parent, to teach, to protect, to build, to lead, etc. Would you want that life? I didn’t think so.
Often our passions get strangled by the obligations we either have to do to keep our lives running smoothly or believe we have to do. Be very protective about what you bring into your life and into your schedule. Your passion is a life-source for contentment, joy and becoming your best self for those around you and more importantly for enjoying your own company – do not let that flame die.
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