You are not alone! Your quest for meaning and passion is shared by many readers of this paper in the letters I’ve received from them. So I’ve come up with a plan for you that will also be relevant for anyone eager to live a more passionate life. Passion doesn’t have to come through work, but given the time it takes up in our lives, it makes sense to combine the two. And don’t assume life would automatically be better if you didn’t have to work. Some of my clients are individuals whose family wealth means they don’t have to do a day’s work in their life. Nonetheless, they still have to figure out what they can do for fulfilment and often envy those of us who have the structure and discipline of earning a living. So it’s true, money doesn’t buy everything! Here’s my Plan for Passion:
1. You Do Know What You Want. Stop telling yourself that you don’t. Everyone knows what they want, though it may be buried under layers of self-doubt, fear and other people’s opinions. Assume with me that you know exactly what you want. Be courageous and admit the truth to yourself. Now what is it? You may have the answer in front of you. If not, proceed to step two.
2. Stop and Think. A wise person once said there isn’t a problem that can’t be fixed by sitting in quiet contemplation. I agree. Thrashing around looking to all and sundry, canvassing others’ opinions, makes it impossible to hear yourself think. Now you have a baby, your scope for quiet moments is under pressure. Nonetheless, everyone can find 15 minutes of downtime to stop and think. Don’t give yourself an agenda during this time. Simply enjoy the experience of allowing your thoughts to pass on by and your entire system to calm down and unwind. Keep a notepad by your side to jot down persistent thoughts or insights. Over time you’ll develop inner awareness and clarity.
3. Define Passion. Reaching 40 and not experiencing passion puzzles me. Are you saying that you’ve never experienced a time of feeling utterly alive? When you felt truly “you”? What are you expecting from passion? If you’re expecting a continual high, you’ll be disappointed. The thrill of passion may drive you in a particular direction, but the daily reality of doing the work is often, and unavoidably, more mundane. I was a parliamentary candidate at the last General Election and, however passionate I may be about green politics, handing out leaflets outside tube stations is pretty tedious, but it was all part of the job of saving the planet. Be careful that you’re not being unrealistic about the daily expression of your conviction.
4. Forget about Money. Imagine you’ve won the lottery and you never have to do another day’s work in your life. After the shopping and the holiday, what would you do? However idealistic your answers, take note. You’re getting a glimpse of your ideal life. Hold on to the images and resolve to bring some of them to life, either as part of your working life or outside of work.
5. Understand Your Essence. What lies at the heart of you? What really matters to you? Think about it like this: if you were imprisoned for a long stretch, what would you not stop doing? It may be something specific like singing, writing or keeping fit, or something less obvious, such as inspiring and motivating others. This is what is vital to you. It’s part and parcel of who you are. It’s your very essence. A meaningful life depends on you expressing these intrinsic impulses. And, luckily, you didn’t need to be locked up to get in touch with the real you - so go out and express yourself!
SEND YOUR QUESTIONS TO ME AT email@example.com . NO PROBLEM IS TOO BIG OR SMALL. The first 50 e-mails will receive a Fiona Harrold Online Life Coaching Course of their choice. Please visit www.independent.co.uk/legal for terms and conditions. Fiona Harrold is author of several self-help books including The 10-minute Life Coach, Hodder Mobius, £6.99; www.fionaharrold.comReuse content