There is a lot of talk these days about finding our passion and pursuing our dreams.
I think this is great; after all, we are here to enjoy life and reach our potential. However, where do we start? It can be a big, overwhelming question, in my experience. Even those people that find their passions can get stuck at times wondering where to go next.
Maybe the pursuit of our passions and dreams is part of the problem. The pursuit of anything separates you from it. We then have somewhere to get to, something to find. Of course on a practical level, finding our passion does involve trying new things, finding what we like and don't like, and a certain amount of searching.
I am beginning to think, however, that a better question might be: "What makes you come alive?"
Do you know what makes you come alive?
Ever since I can remember, I have loved reading about personal development. If I enter a bookshop, the first thing I do is head to the personal development section.
For a long time, I pursued my love of personal development by reading, attending courses and trying different techniques. But because I didn't really know how I could make this into a job, I used to describe it as a hobby and think that I hadn't found my passion yet.
When I discovered that my passion for personal development was my thing, the thing that made me come alive, I stopped worrying so much and just pursued it. Ironically, when I started to take personal development more seriously, I actually started making it into my job – I became a coach and mentor.
I am not saying that you have to turn what makes you come alive into a job. The important lesson I learned was to value what makes you come alive and pursue it even if you don't know where it might lead.
A great way to start identifying what it is that makes you come alive is keeping track of your daily activities and assessing your feelings about what you do. This gives you a chance to be honest with yourself about why you are drawn to some things and not others. If you start to realize that going out with a certain group of friends always leaves you feeling drained, then it is a good indicator that something needs to change.
An example from my own life is that I used to do both group and one-to-one coaching. Although both are in the personal development area I so love, I find one-to-one coaching natural and easy, whereas group coaching never seems to come as naturally to me. I realized a few years ago that one-to-one coaching is what really lights me up; since then, I have offered only this service to clients.
Reduce Your Tolerance
Since I started really getting on track with what makes me come alive, I have noticed my tolerance decreasing rapidly for things I don't want to do. We are here to experience joy, not to force ourselves through things that don't light us up. Reduce your tolerance for things that don't light you up and, as Joseph Campbell said, "Follow your bliss."
One of the stumbling blocks to realizing what lights us up can be society's expectations and other people's opinions. However well meaning these opinions and expectations may be, it does us good to switch them off so we can listen to our own voice.
"What makes you come alive?"
You are the only person that can answer the question. Other people can offer feedback or suggestions, but ultimately it is a personal journey. Stop listening to others and start listening to yourself.
Jen is a Life Coach and personal development blogger who can be found at Reach Our Dreams. You can connect with Jen on Twitter @reachourdreams – or, if you liked this article, why not subscribe to her RSS feed?