Years ago, when I told a colleague over lunch that I was leaving the full-time practice of law to pursue a life immersed in chocolate and cacao, she, at one point in the conversation, said “finding your passion is overrated.” Reflecting on that conversation now, I have to say that I agree with her.
I know she didn’t make that comment to belittle my decision. This was a colleague who had expressed frustration about both her work and personal life for years. I imagine she felt overwhelmed and her comment was her way of rationalizing her own choices aloud, almost as if to console herself.
Maybe my decision made her feel compelled to rethink her life: What’s my passion? What am I supposed to be doing with my life? What’s my purpose? Do I feel fulfilled? How do I know what I’m passionate about?
It really is so much pressure that we place on our shoulders to figure it out and to do so before more time slips away, particularly for those of us who have invested ourselves in one career and are weighing moving into an entirely different field. Then there’s the external pressure from family, friends, and colleagues to pull you in one direction or another, sometimes for selfish reasons and other times for selfless reasons.
But instead of worrying about finding your passion, what if you looked at it from the perspective of: When do I feel most alive? What both excites me and scares me at little? What makes me feel somewhat uncomfortable, but not so uncomfortable that it overrides my joy from taking that first step?
Rather than deliberating an all-encompassing change that is so overwhelming that it terrifies us into inaction, what if we did what makes us feel alive again?
Live your best life,