Finding your passion: 5 questions if you don’t feel passionate about anything
What if you are out of goals and passions? What if you don’t have a cause that stirs your heart?
This is a question a couple of people have raised recently, and it’s an important one because it can get us into a funk. As one friend said, “I feel in a ‘no-man’s land’ with no purpose. It’s not a good place to be”.
My goal with Purposeful People is to set your soul on fire with clarity around the cause and the contribution that you are called to, and help you live to the fullest. But without a sense of passion, of conviction, the whole process can break down.
So here are 5 questions to ask yourself for finding your passion in life when you don’t feel strongly about anything.
1. Your quest: Love or lust?!
Firstly, a warning. For some of us, finding your passion in life can mirror how some people look for romance: the buzz of attraction, the emotional high, the feeling of excitement. That’s all well and good, but a deeper quest is to find a long term partner and forge a relationship that can thrive once the initial rush has passed.
So perhaps passion is the wrong term anyway. If the love of our life cannot keep us permanently in the throes of passion, it is unlikely that a cause, a profession of a topic can.
As an example, a friend recently told me how fulfilling they found their work to be. They never expected that from this particular job, but by committing to the work and mastering it they grew in passion for it. They ‘grew into‘ their passion.
So ask yourself: am I looking for a ‘buzz’, or for an enriching cause to commit myself to?
2. Your theme: Beauty, justice or ideas?
I forget who said it – Dallas Willard I think – but I find it helpful to think of three ways that we can bring goodness into the world:
- Beauty – bringing goodness into the world by artistry. Making beautiful things.
- Justice – bringing goodness into the world by social action. Defending the weak.
- Ideas – bringing goodness into the world by changing the way people think. Bringing a transformational message.
You are probably wired for one of these. Which one is it? You are likely to find your passion in that area.
If you’re unsure about which one resonates most, ask yourself: What kind of goals and passions have you had in the past? Can you list 5 that have been particularly meaningful? What common themes do you detect?
3. Your season: Abiding or apathy?
If you are feeling out of passion, perhaps it’s a seasonal thing.
Are you in a time of “abiding” (rest) – perhaps following a time of intense or excessive work? Sometimes all we need is a rest! Or does it feel more like apathy/lack of vision?
4. Your environment: Nourishing or negative?
The environment we are in can make all the difference. Some contexts encourage and stimulate passion; others can crush it.
Ask yourself – is my environment nourishing my passions or negatively affecting them? You may need to think about what you may need to change: this could range from removing yourself entirely from that context to adding some extra element to encourage you.
For example, I am an initiator of projects, an innovator, and a leader. As a Christian, I’ve often found church contexts quite frustrating as in many cases the culture and leadership is not geared to support and rally around new initiatives. And it can be hard to sustain creativity and passion in an environment where it is not valued. One way I have kept myself going is by creating a network of like-minded individuals who meet every month for encouragement and support.
5. Your vision: Self-centred or scattered?
Finally, consider the scope of your vision. There are two extreme perspectives we can adopt that can both lead to a lack of passion.
- The first is taking a myopic and probably self-centred view. This happens when our vision is reduced to the bubble of our work, family and friends. We fail to see the needs of the world beyond our own daily troubles, and wonder why we don’t feel any great desire to make a difference.
- The second is having a scattered vision. With so many things we could get passionate about, with so many worthy causes and projects around us, we don’t focus in on any of them! We end up caring a little about a lot of things, but don’t care greatly about anything.
Instead of these extremes, try to focus in on one area in which you can serve. When it’s all about you, it will be hard to generate a real sense of passion. When it is about serving beyond yourself, you may find the passion will come more easily.
Now go and actually answer those five questions to diagnose the issue! I’d love you to leave a comment if you feel able to, just saying which of the 5 questions is the most important one right now.
You could also consider signing up for my free “One-Minute Strategies” email course that is designed to get you moving via a couple of actions each week that just take a minute or so each.