How To Find Your Passion: 23 Questions That Can Change Your Entire Life (Michelle Kulp) — bullet points

  • Hate: What do I absolutely hate about or hate doing in my job or in my life? (Be specific) We’re looking for clues here that will lead to your passion. Hate is a strong emotion so pay attention to it.
  • Youth: When I was a youngster, I always wanted to…? What kind of things did you like as a child? Your childhood often holds clues to your passions.
  • Guidance: What do people come to me for advice or guidance about? Not just in business, but on a personal level too?
  • Time: What do I love to do where I lose all sense of time while doing it?
  • Guess: If I had to guess what my passion is, I would say it is…? As you reflect on what you think your passions are, think about what brings your soul to life. Your passions are hinted at through your talents, tastes, excitement and curiosities.
  • Truth: What do I truly want, but don’t believe I can ever have?
  • Freedom: What gives me a sense of freedom when I do it? Every step you take in your life should be towards more freedom, not less.
  • Failure: If I knew I couldn’t fail, I would be doing …? Failure is how we learn. If we’re afraid to fail, then we’re afraid to learn. We can’t let this fear of failure prevent us from following our passions and dreams. We have to do it in spite of those fears. Every successful person has these fears, they just don’t allow these fears to prevent them from achieving their dreams and goals. You make a choice every single day when you decide not to take action towards your goals and dreams. I can’t tell you how many years I struggled with the imposter syndrome around starting and running an online business because I didn’t have any “credentials.” I finally got over it, but I wasted a lot of time looking for approval, validation and praise instead of just doing what I loved and learning from my failures. If you have an intense fear of failure, you will waste a lot of time and money looking for external validation and approval instead of doing the work. Many people want to start an online business, but until you actually put yourself out there and try, you have no idea about the process. It’s like writing a book, you can have a great idea and test titles and covers, but until you actually write it and put it out in the marketplace, you won’t know if people want it or not.
  • Success: If it was guaranteed I would be massively successful, I would be …? First, what does massive success look like to you? One person might say, “Massive success would mean my house is paid off, I have no debt and I can live fully on my retirement money.” Sometimes our fear of not achieving our dreams makes us shrink them or not be real with ourselves about what we truly desire. Dream big and write down all the details to what massive success looks to you when you know it’s guaranteed!
  • Future: What would the ‘future me’ – 10 years from now – tell the ‘current me’ to do? What age will you be? Where do you want to be living? What daily activities do you want to be involved in? Who do you want to be spending time with? How do you want to earn money? Of course, we want some spontaneity in our lives, but we also want to set intentions or else we end up living a default life and before you know it – your life has flown by.
  • Anger: What makes me so angry and heated I get all charged up? Listen to your anger and see what changes you need to make because of it. When I was angry at having to go to my 9-5 job at the law firm and leave my kids, my anger was telling me there was another path for me. Anger can be your friend if you listen to it.
  • Contribution: What would I like to change or contribute in the world? We all have the ability to contribute something to the world to make it better. It doesn’t have to be large scale or grand, just some way you want to contribute your time, energy, knowledge and expertise to improving the world.
  • Practice: If I had time to practice more, I’d be really good at? People think great writers or great artists are just born; what they don’t see are the copious amount of hours of practice they spend developing their skills. Many famous writers are really bad writers at first. They become great writers because they continued to write and they gradually got better. That’s the art of practice.
  • Flow: When I am in a state of flow, I am…? Mihaly Csikszenthihalyi, a well-known psychologist, once said: “The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile.” Csikszenthihalyi calls this mental state “flow”. Flow is about stretching your mind to its limits, concentrating and losing yourself in an activity. Can you think about a time when you felt all three of those? What were you doing? How long were you doing it? What were the results?
  • Interests: I have a lot of interests and things I enjoy, but if I had to pick only one of those things to spend time on now, I would choose…? Another way to make decisions is to explore and evaluate a broad set of options before committing to any. This way, you are giving yourself time to play, think, question, listen, try out and debate, and the pressure is minimized. Once you’ve given yourself the gift of exploring, then you can decide what you want to “go big on.” Think about some of the interests you have right now or in the past that you’ve explored. If you only could pick one “for right now” (not forever), which one would you go big on?
  • Fears: My biggest fear about being successful and living a passionate life is…? Most fears aren’t real and just knowing what they are puts you in a position of power. So, be radically honest and list your fears out. Then feel the fear and do it anyway!
  • Less: What do you want to have less of in your life? “A high quality life has more to do with what you remove from it than what you add to it.” Many of us get caught up in the hamster wheel of chasing more, more, more. But there’s a price to pay for having more, more, more.
  • Millions: If I had $10 million dollars in the bank, I would…? This is a great question. At first you might think, “I’d quit my job, travel to a tropical island and sip margaritas on the beach and chill all day.” Sounds great but I can promise that within a short time you would be bored with that. Besides buying material things like a house, a new car, new furniture and taking some trips, once that was all out of the way, what would you do with your time? This is a clue to your passions. What type of business would you want to start? Give details about what you would do with $10 million.
  • Others: If I didn’t care what other people thought or how it might affect them, I would be …?
  • Obstacles: What are three ways you create obstacles in your life and why? Living a life of passion requires action. You can’t get other people to do your push-ups for you. Only you can do them. We can try to blame our parents, our spouse, our children, our family, our geography, or our life situation, but at the end of the day, we have the power to take action and make changes.
  • Principle: What principle, cause, value or purpose would you be willing willing to defend to the death or devote your life to?
  • Inner Voice: What has your inner voice been saying to you that you have been ignoring? Listen to your inner voice, even if it makes no logical sense. Pay close attention; especially if it is relentless and keeps saying the same thing.
  • Suffering: What has your suffering taught you? Meaning came from three possible sources: purposeful work, love, and courage in the face of difficulty.
  • Waiting: In what ways are you “waiting” to start living? “Large scale waiting is waiting for the next vacation, for a better job, for the children to grow up, for a truly meaningful relationship, for success, to make money, to be important, to become enlightened. It is not uncommon for people to spend their whole life waiting to start living.”
  • We don’t have to think “large scale” or “change the world” passions, but we do need to think about the simple everyday things that make us happy and bring us joy. A few additional questions to ponder: What gives you energy and what depletes your energy? What do you want more of in your life and less of in your life?
  • Live your life more by your curiosities than by your fears and you will find yourself happier, more joyful and more energetic.

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